4-4-17 Nola’s Birth Story

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Sunday afternoon, I said to Nola.

“Nola,” I said.

“Yes, lady?” she 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.”

“HAVE you, lady?” said Nola. “Have you really?”

“I lined this bed for you,” I said. “It has a waterproof pad, covered by a pretty and soft blanket.”

“And if that isn’t secluded enough for you, I put this crate together. And it has a waterproof pad, also covered by a pretty and soft blanket.”

“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!”

“I thought behind the litter boxes was a good place to have my babies, lady,” said Nola. “In lieu of a waterproof pad to soak up the blood and fluids, I thought I’d use my tail.”

“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.

The babies nursed a bit. Nola rested and cleaned the babies, then rested some more.

“What THE H*LL IS GOING ON?!” Nola asked.

“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.)

Nola cleaning up number 4, another brown tabby/ tuxie.

Number 4 (I think), nursing.

That’s the still-glistening number 4, climbing over her back end. Somehow that kittens started at her midsection, crawled around behind her, and climbed over her before ending up at the milk bar.

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.


“I sees you, lady.”

Mama love.

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!)


“Oh goody, more kittens. I’ll just wait out here ’til they’re gone!” (Joe Bob, not a fan.)


2016: Stinkerbelle.
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.



4-4-17 Nola’s Birth Story — 32 Comments

  1. Beautiful babies!!! I KNEW it was two grey tabbies and not a B&W (but who am I not being there up close?)! YAY! So my guess: mini-me is obviously a girl. The orange tabby is a boy (since 80% are male, I think my guess is pretty safe. Probably spoken, too soon!), and I say there is one boy and one girl in the grey tabby arena! 🙂

    Great job, Nola. You are a bit of a mess there, but fortunately, you have your trusty servant to help clean you up!

    Great photos, Robyn. My favorite is Nola cheek-to-cheek with her grey tabby baby!

  2. Congratulations, Nola! Your babies are beautiful! Congratulations, Robyn! Your pictures are wonderful! Nola looks like such a loving momma! I am looking forward to watching this litter!!! I am over the moon – and even though a thousand miles away – giddy!!!! Kittens! Kittens! Kittens!

  3. Beautiful babies! Is it just me (having expected Nola to be baking at least seven babies in that ginormous belly of hers), or are the kittens BIG? They look gigantic for newborns!
    So, I think we can now announce the Robyn Anderson Rule of Thirteen Days (with the previous history of two other mama cats waiting for 13 days to give you the babies) as a 100% legit scientific theorem 🙂

    • I had to look, but the average newborn kitten is usually a bit less than 4 ounces. Today, all four kittens weighed in right at 5 ounces, so I’d say they’re a bit bigger than the usual kitten. 🙂

  4. I may have squealed a bit when I opened facebook on my phone at work yesterday. (I’d love the orange one to be named Natchez- it is (was?) on of the paddleboats in NoLa).

  5. Good job, Nola!

    Is the kitten behind her in the last photo the same one that crawled over top of her right after being born? That kitten is going to be trouble.

  6. Ha you caught that typo fast! 😉

    Well now we know what Mama cats use their big bushy tails for! Those are some great birth pictures though. And I hope you can still tell who Mr/Ms Umbilical Cord is because I do think that is going to be the adventurer of the litter!

    Welcome babies and great job Nola and Robyn!!!!!

  7. Woah that photo of the kitten still in its sac and coming out is amazing! I’ve never seen kittens born and that sort of detail is kinda if awesome, and pretty cool. Looks like you did a great job is helping clean the mama up and making them all comfy. What a clever mama cat, and gorgeous babies 😀

  8. Aw Nola, good job and congratulations! What perfect little kittens you have.

    Oh, those little heads and teeny ears! Seeing them lying on those cute little baby blankets (!) made my day. I’m so happy they’re healthy and happy.

  9. Thank you for sharing! Such a beautiful family!! It must be so difficult for you when they find their permanent homes. So sweet,

  10. Great pics! I bit gross but very cool at the same time. Kind of like when the (ahem) giraffes give birth. Btw, Nola beat April for those not in the loop.

  11. WooHoo pile o’ BABIES!! Congratulations Nola! Can’t wait to find out the names. Love that I sees you, lady photo.

  12. What a beautiful little family! Thank you for sharing this with us. And thank you to you and Fred for everything you do for the kittehs out there.

  13. A very long overdue note of thanks. I have been reading the site for YEARS! My husband and are fostering our first mama and she is due imminently. The birth stories have given me great information, confidence, and many giggles. You are amazing! Sending much gratitude and appreciation your way.