All of Us

All of Us

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Proud Mama

DSCN0019, originally uploaded by PaulaK.

Our kittens are now 3 months old. They were born in March, 2 days after their earliest possible "due date." I spent a lot of time reading up on cats giving birth, and felt I was as ready as possible. Although most cats are totally independent, and some even go hide, there are others who need assistance, don't know what to do, and make mistakes. I spent several sleepless nights (I read that they are more likely to give birth at night since in the wild, this would be safest.) worrying that she was in the basement, birthing kittens in different spots and leaving them to die, or worse yet, giving birth in the litterbox and then being unwilling/unable to clean them off so they would smother in litter. (I read that this can happen with the clumping litter, if the cat mistakes her urge to push for an urge to have a BM.)

Keep in mind that this was occurring midway through the period when I believed my own pregnancy was not viable, so my mind was rather addled. I was still excited, but as I told my husband, "It was more exciting when we were both pregnant."

She became EXTREMELY friendly and affectionate during this time, and we all doted on her.

At one point during her pregnancy she developed a skin disorder and I took her to the vet, who said it was allergies and confirmed that she was definitely pregnant. She also informed me that it was not too late to "take care of it" by spaying her and aborting the kittens. She even offered me a surgery appointment the next morning. Although I knew that Daryl was not in favor of her having kittens, I could not bring myself to do this. When she got to 2 weeks from her due date, I informed the kids. She was noticeably pregnant by this time, but they just thought she was getting fat. Daryl didn't find out for another week, since he was out of town. By that point she looked as though she had a bowling ball strapped to her middle, but he still didn't notice!

One morning she began having contractions. Instead of hiding, she was sitting in L's lap (he was home sick from school). I removed her and took her to the box I'd prepared in my bathroom. She was anxious, meowing frequently, but as long as I stayed by her side and kept petting her she was ok. I left the room for 2-3 minutes, and when I returned she had had a kitten, left it in the box, and was at the door meowing for me. I quickly picked it up, wiped it off, and called her over. She came back and did sniff at it a little and gave it a couple of tentative licks. Then, with a single growl, she gave birth to a second kitten. She began licking that one vigorously, and I kept pushing the first one under her nose. Eventually she licked them both off, although I did have to keep coaxing her to take care of the first one. She laid down, and the second kitten began nursing immediately. The first one kept rooting around, but never successfully latched on, despite my attempts to help him. She never chewed off their umbilical cords, so I cut them, since the kittens were dragging the placentas around with them.

After several hours passed and the first kitten still hadn't successfully nursed, I called the vet, who said that I should get some kitten formula and attempt to feed him, since by now his blood sugar levels would be falling dangerously low. i went out to get it, and by the time I returned, he had figured it out. I was relieved, since I wasn't really thrilled at the idea of hand feeding a kitten around the clock for weeks.

Cazzy was laying there contentedly and the kittens were nursing. Although two kittens is a small litter, that is not unusual for a first litter, particularly born to a young and small cat. I had read that kittens are usually born about 30 minutes apart (hers were 5!) and occasionally up to several hours apart, but that if the mother seemed relaxed then that was a sign it was over. She was now sleeping, and I went out to run errands. While I was gone, she had several more kittens. They were born approximately 6 hours after their littermates!

L. went in to check on her, and saw a new kitten. He called for my friend, who was babysitting. When she walked in, she saw that there were actually 2 new kittens. One looked obviously dead. She picked up the other one and wiped it off, trying to get it breathing. While she was doing that, Cazzy gave birth to another. The two that were born when no one was in the room died, but the last one lived. My friend said that it appeared that Cazzy hadn't removed all of the sac from their faces, that it was covering their mouths and may have suffocated them. Interestingly, this time she did chew through their umbilical cords.

The two that died were solid dark grey, and the 3 that lived look JUST like Cazzy, black tuxedo cats with white paws and chests. The female had a white bow tie marking over her mouth, and her 2 brothers did not. I had wondered what they would look like, and had a dream that she had 5 kittens that looked just like her, but never really believed that she would have that many kittens, or that they would look just like her.

Despite her uncertainty about what to do during the birth process, Cazzy proved to be an excellent mother. She took great care of them.

I had 3 people potentially interested in having a kitten, but only one actually did. She took the girl, and we still have the 2 boys. They are in the wild and rambunctious stage of kittenhood right now, and it's good that they have one another to wrestle with.

Cazzy has been spayed, but remains an interested and attentive mother. They still occasionally attempt to latch on, and she lets them, although she has no milk. She enjoys licking them, and sometimes holds them down to bathe them!

I lost my pictures of tiny kittens when the computer crashed, but I'll post current pictures soon.


truth said...

Oh I so remember when I was a girl and our mamacat had kittens. So exciting. I think female cats that are allowed to have a litter of kittens rather than being spayed so very young have much better dispositions.

Dot said...

I love kittens, I would have a house full of them if they didn't grow up to be cats!!! lol

Really, I have 3 cats now and that is enough. Otherwise, I might be calling you for 1 or 2 of them!

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SE Michigan, United States
Mother to 10 fabulous kids, ages 4 to 21 years! Married for 26 years to my best friend.


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