Sunday afternoon, I said to Nola.
“Nola,” I said.
“Nola,” I said. “I have made many safe and comfy places for you to have your babies. I mean, NO PRESSURE, NOLA, WHENEVER YOU WANT TO HAVE THEM, there are places that are safe and will contain your babies.”
“To be honest, Nola, if neither of those work for you, you go ahead and give birth in the middle of the floor if you want. Whatever you want, the world – at least in this room – is your oyster.”
“You’ve given me lots to think about,” said Nola.
I went off to bed pretty sure that Nola wasn’t going to give birth anytime soon… and that if she did, she’d opt for the crate, since I’d seen her checking it out several times.
I woke up about 6:30 yesterday and checked the camera in the foster room. Nola was hanging out behind the litter boxes – which she’d been known to do from time to time – and so I posted that there were no babies yet.
I got up and showered, scooped litter boxes, and prepared a breakfast fit for a queen. I walked into the room.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” I said. “I’ve brought you – Oh!”
“That is an interesting idea,” I said. “I see that you’ve already birthed two babies without me.”
And she had.
Before I knew it, with relatively little pushing, number three came along.
So far – from what I could tell – we had two brown tabbies OR tuxies (it’s hard to tell when they’re still so wet) and an orange tabby.
I did what I could to clean up some of the blood and fluids on the floor, while Nola cleaned up her babies and disposed of the afterbirth.
“Have another baby!” said her body. (If you’re not the squeamish sort, click on that picture and see the larger version at Flickr. I think it’s cool, but I know some of y’all don’t like to see the goopier sides of life.)
Here’s where the only sort of drama came in. It’s kind of gross, so skip it if you’re the delicate sort. Nola failed to chew through the umbilical cord of kitten number four, so in his or her journey around Nola’s back and over the top, the afterbirth trailed along behind. It didn’t bother the kitten and it didn’t bother Nola, but it kinda bugged me. I picked it up (looks like raw liver and feels like raw liver, FYI) and showed it to Nola. She looked at me and said “YEAH? So? You’re so worried about it, YOU do something.” I opted not to do anything, thank you. Time passed, the kitten crawled around some more, the four kittens formed a kitten mosh pit, and when it had been an hour, I said “NOLA. Please?” I held it up to her, and after a little consideration, she took care of business.
After the fourth kitten was born, I used some wet rags to clean Nola’s tail and feet as best I could. Her tail and the fur on her legs had acted like a sponge, and there was a lot of stuff to clean up. Then I left her alone with the kittens for a couple of hours, checking on them every now and then to see if there’d been any more kittens born. When it seemed clear that she was done – or at least there’d be no more kittens for a while – I piled the kittens into a basket and carried them across the room to the crate.
Nola watched me go, a big ol’ cartoon question mark over her head. When I’d gotten her kittens put into the crate, I called to her and she ran over and shot into the crate.
I left Nola alone for the rest of the day, pretty much, with an occasional visit to make sure everything was okay (and to bring her food.)
Like many of you, I am surprised that she only had four kittens, but also pleased. Four is a good number, and they’re all strong and healthy.
Another thing – I was NOT thrilled to find that she’d chosen the bare floor behind the litter boxes to give birth. But I actually got a clearer view of exactly what was going on than I did with the mamas who gave birth in the crate. It was very cool, and I’m glad I was able to see it that way.
(I have no idea of the sex of the kittens; we’ll take a peek in a few days and see what we’ve got. You’ll know when I do!)
2015: Not. A. CARE.
2014: I love how Angelo is 100% sure that his presence on the bed is desired, and Dennis’s face tells another story.
2013: “I wish I hadn’t looked.”
2012: Also, they like to bite… everything.
2011: It’s exhausting to be a wee bebbeh kitten, is what I’m saying.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: The chicks react to worms by grabbing one of them and then running wildly around the pen so that the other chicks think she’s got something really good and start chasing her around to get it from her.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.