Whelping and Queening
Whelping and Queening for most people that adore their animals, but few actually commit to taking on the responsibility of caring for them as pets. Fortunately, plenty of active pet parents take on multiple pets to balance out the difference.
If you are such a pet parent, with both cats and dogs roaming around your home, you are in the right place to learn about whelping and queening.
Today, we discuss what whelping and queening are, and how you can go about caring for your pets during this momentous time of their lives.
What Is Whelping and Queening?
Whelping and queening are similar terms, but the former is a lot more commonly used than the latter, often replacing it. “Whelp” simply means “birth”. The origins of the word are unknown, but in Old English it was a noun, meaning “young of dog” or “puppy” in modern terms.
Similar words were used in other languages like “hwelf” in German, “welp” in Dutch, and “hvelpr” in Old Norse. The modern concept of “whelping” is “to give birth to (puppies).” Similarly, “queening” is the used for felines, “to give birth to (kittens).”
Queening originated from the word “queen,” often used to describe a “female cat (in heat).” Of course, other words such as “nesting” and “birthing” are more commonly used to describe both whelping and queening.
Put simply, whelping is the process of “giving birth (for canines)” and queening is the process of “giving birth (for felines).” However, some pet parents and vets may use whelping to describe both.
Pet Owner’s Care Guide for Whelping and Queening
If your pets are pregnant, it is important to consult your vet about how to go about taking care of your pregnant furry friend. That being said, here is our pet owner’s guide on the subject.
● Invest in a Whelping Box, a Queening Box, and Some Supplies
A whelping box and a queening box (also known as a “kittening box”) is where your canine and feline friend will respectively give birth to their babies. Some average-sized cats can also give birth in their carrier cage, if they are large enough, but you may need to make some modifications to the cage.
Ask your vet about how to do this.
While you can always make it a DIY project and build your own. We recommend buying a high-quality whelping box and queening box from a trusted provider in the UK like PetNap. These are especially useful if you believe your pets will give birth again later, because they are reusable.
You’ll need a few other pet care products. The most important ones include birthing containers and a supply of tools such as tongs. If your vet is present at the time of whelping or queening, they will likely have the necessary supplies needed for a smooth experience.
However, it is always better to stock up and be prepared, in case the vet is not around. The pups and kittens remain in the boxes after the birthing/ nesting process is complete.
● Provide Comfort
Depending on the type of whelping box and queening box you get, there may be some added features. For example, some boxes come with built-in heating pads underneath, whereas others have a small slit in the base padding to place one if needed.
The interior of the whelping or queening box should be warm and comfortable, even DIY ones, especially if your pet is giving birth during the harsh, cold winters. Consider placing thick layers of comfy fabrics like towels or covers inside and around the box to make it warmer.
Just be sure to not take up all the space inside. Your whelping/ queening box needs enough space for the pet to nap, turn, and for their babies to do the same. Sometimes, pet parents may place their pet’s favourite plush toy inside to give them comfort during the process.
However, make sure that there is nothing inside the box that is small enough for the newborns to ingest. Similarly, never place things like dirt, sand, wood chips, or other such things into the queening/ whelping box.
Once the newborn puppies or kittens are born. Their eyes remain shut and they actively seek out their mothers to be fed. If you place small things or particles inside, you risk the newborns ingesting them unknowingly.
You will also benefit from creating a makeshift cleaning station for when the pups and kittens need to be cleaned gently. Pups and kittens may need to spend some time with their mothers before they are held by you or washed up.
● Prepare Your Pets
It helps to prepare your pregnant pets before they give birth, so there are fewer or easier challenges later on. For example, it helps to cut your pet’s nails a week ahead of birthing, so they do not scratch or harm anything or anyone around them.
Whereas cutting their hair in certain places can make cleaning up after the process a lot easier. Delivery of pups and kittens includes placental sacs, discharge fluids like amniotic fluids, and even umbilical cords.
Note: Never remove the umbilical cord yourself. Either let the mother do it on her own time, let nature take its course to make it fall off in a few days. Or let a professional veterinarian do it if needed. For canines, you can consult your vet if you need to do it on your own, in case the mother is unable to.
Considering all stickiness involved. It can be tough to remove the dried up fluids from your canine’s or cat’s fur later on. So consider cutting their fur near the vaginal opening, back legs, and tail area.
Do not trim all their fur. Whelping and queening are challenging processes. Your pets may need their fur coat to stay warm and provide comfort to their babies. If your pet has dense fur near their tummy or feeding area. Consider trimming it down a little to make it easier for their newborns to feed.
But make sure no trimmed hair is left behind. Cutting nails and hair should be done a few days prior to birthing. Consult your vet about identifying the symptoms of whelping and queening, to better gauge your timing.
Whelping and queening are wonderful processes that result in the cutest little furballs you’ll ever see.
Just make sure to consult your vet about the processes, invest in the necessary pet care products and supplies. Provide warmth and comfort, prepare your pregnant pets, and be around to help them during the process.
While the first time for pet parents can be jittery. It is important to keep calm and be informed and stay intentional about your decisions and actions.
We highly recommend investing in a whelping box, a queening box, and other important pet care supplies from Petnap.