All day Wednesday Khaleesi acted just like her usual silly self, didn’t give any indication that she might ever want to give birth to those babies. She ate well, she hung out, she batted at a toy or two. You know, exactly like she’d been acting.
The ONLY thing she did that she hadn’t done before was to go into the kennel I’d set up for her, and dig around. I didn’t figure this was any big deal, because Kate did that for several days leading up to the day she had her babies.
So 5:00 rolled around, and I took the evening snacks upstairs. I’ve been doing the same routine ever since Khaleesi joined us – I go in, give her her plate of canned food, go over to Kate’s room and sit with her and the kittens while they eat. Then I play with the babies and give Kate love, then go into Khaleesi’s room and spend some time with her. This time, when I walked into Khaleesi’s room, her plate was cleaned off and she was in the back of the kennel. I bent down to pet her and speak to her, and I saw her have a contraction.
I ran downstairs to grab my iPad and camera, and went back up to sit with her.
She stayed in the kennel for a while, then came out and leaned against me while I petted her. She went back in, came back out, and the contractions seemed to be pretty constant. At one point she did this:
That would be her, in the condo of the cat tree, panting. I was on the verge of calling down to Fred and asking him to help me move the cat tree out of the room when she hopped back down and went into the kennel.
Then she came back out and flopped down on the floor.
Fred came into the room and kept us company for a few minutes, then he wandered off. Now, here’s something I may not have mentioned about this foster room: because this is an old house, the door doesn’t shut right, and to keep it closed we have a hook on the outside of the door (to use when we’re not in there) and a hook on the inside of the door (for when we’re in the room). Fred left the room and hooked the door closed behind him. I thought he was planning on coming right back, so I didn’t think anything of it.
Khaleesi, meanwhile, was on the rug next to me. All she wanted was for me to pet her, and I did, telling her how brave she was and how this was going to be her last litter ever. Then she stood up and panicked. She ran into the kennel and then back out, and I could see the kitten hanging out of her. Finally, she squatted down, deposited the kitten and placenta next to her food bowl (for some reason, thinking back about that makes me laugh), then ran away and jumped up into the cat tree.
Look. I’m TERRIBLE in any kind of emergency. If there’s any kind of quick thinking to be done, don’t even look at me. It’s just not one of my abilities. There are things I can do; remaining calm and focused in an emergency (this was actually NOT an emergency. But it felt like one!) isn’t one of them. I panic. I run around in circles.
So I decided instantly that Khaleesi was rejecting her kitten, that she’d never care for it, and that I needed to get it cleaned off, make sure it was breathing, and eventually snip the cord. I went over to the door so I could run downstairs and get a handful of rags to clean the kitten, and guess what?
The hook was across the outside of the door. I was LOCKED IN. I called for Fred, who was nowhere within the sound of my very loud voice. I went to the window to see if I could spot him and he was nowhere. Finally, I THREW myself against the door and found that those small hooks are surprisingly strong. I am not a small woman, and I had to throw my entire weight against the door three times before the hook finally gave up. I ran downstairs, looked frantically for Fred – who was NOWHERE TO BE SEEN – grabbed some rags, and ran back up to the room.
Khaleesi was in the condo of the cat tree, and she looked at me and said “I ain’t touchin’ that thing!” I bent down and rubbed some of the gunk off the kitten, who started wriggling around and squealing. Then I don’t remember what I needed to get from downstairs, but I left the room and ran back downstairs, and as I reached the bottom of the stairs Fred came wandering in the front door. I bellowed at him that I’D LIKE SOME HELP IF YOU DON’T MIND and then raced back upstairs.
By the time we both got into the room, Khaleesi had come down from the cat tree and was sniffing the kitten. She picked it up and carried it into the kennel and then began licking and chewing through the cord. Kitten number one is a brown tabby, and is a girl.
I swear I didn’t see any more contractions from Khaleesi, but all of a sudden there was a brand-new kitten laying there, and she began taking care of it. Fred thought it was white at first, and then we realized that it was white and had an orange tail and spots, similar to Spanky! Awwww. Kitten number two is also a girl!
And then… we waited. And waited. And waited some more. There was at least one more baby in there – we could see it moving around – but after she cleaned her babies and then cleaned herself off, Khaleesi settled down and went to sleep.
While we were waiting, the phone rang. It was someone from another rescue in the area, who had someone with a kitten who’d been born that morning. The mother cat and two siblings were killed in a sad accident, leaving just the one newborn alone. Would I consider seeing if Khaleesi would take it on?
I was willing, and we got the okay from the shelter manager, so Fred talked to the people who had the kitten, gave them directions to our house, and we sat and talked while we watched Khaleesi. At this point, it had been a couple of hours since Khaleesi had had her second kitten, and everything we were reading online said that if she went more than four hours between kittens, she needed to be seen by a vet. Fred called the shelter manager, and as the phone rang on the other end, Khaleesi sat up, pushed a couple of times, and number three came along. (Fred got the birds-eye view of this birth, and I thought he was going to pass out. Ha.)
Baby number three is a gray tuxie, and is a boy.
It was the shelter manager’s contention that we needed to stop worrying and leave that poor cat alone (it’s like she’s never met me!), and so we left the room for a little while.
In short time, the people who had the orphaned newborn showed up with it, and we talked for a moment, then Fred and I took the kitten upstairs. We’d used a rag to soak up some of the birthing goop from kitten number three, which we then wiped on the little orphan kitten. Fred petted Khaleesi and spoke to her, then casually slipped the kitten into the kennel near her back end.
Khaleesi looked at the kitten and then looked at Fred as if to say “That is not my kitten. What are you trying to pull, here?”
“It’s your kitten, mama! Say hi to your baby number four!” I said.
She looked at the kitten. “That’s not my kitten.” She sniffed the kitten and looked at me doubtfully. Then she sniffed him again and then… she licked him. She licked him again, and then she began cleaning him. Yes!
Kitten number four (the orphan) is a little black and white tuxie and is a boy.
Fred went off to bed, and I stayed in the room watching Khaleesi and her babies. And then, not much later, along came one more baby.
Kitten number five is a buff tabby and is a boy.
The gray tuxie is on the far right, the black tuxie (the orphan) is next to him, Khaleesi’s cleaning the buff tabby, and the brown tabby is on the far left. The white and orange is in there somewhere, probably blending in with Khaleesi’s legs.
I decided that Khaleesi was probably done – and I was very very tired – so I went off to bed. When Fred got up Thursday morning, he looked and counted kittens and told me that there were still five.
I think five is a good number. Hey, it worked out for Kate, right?
Thursday morning I went in and changed out the bedding. Khaleesi was less than pleased that I took her babies out of the kennel, and when she stomped out to investigate where they were and what was going on, I pulled out the stained, damp bedding and put clean stuff in there, getting it in place just as she stomped back into the kennel carrying the gray tuxie with her.
Khaleesi and the babies are doing very well. She’s eating a lot, and so are they. Wasn’t it sweet of her to have a variety pack? I’ll certainly never have any trouble telling who’s who!
So we have three boys and two girls (hmm… apparently that’s a popular litter configuration lately!). The black tuxie boy is the smallest at 3 1/8 ounces, and the buff boy is the largest at 5 1/8 ounces. You can see their weight chart at the bottom of their page (which you can also get to by clicking on Khaleesi’s picture over there in the sidebar).
Names will be decided at some point over the weekend and announced probably on Monday (but I’m sure I’ll be putting up a post tomorrow, don’t worry!)
PS: For those who don’t know, I mentioned the orphan on the Love & Hisses Facebook page, which is why some people already knew about the orphan and talked about it in yesterday’s comments.
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There were some questions in the comments recently about the Royals’ eye color. So I did my best to get closeups of their faces in an attempt to show the color of their eyes. I probably need to go up there with the small camera to get better pictures (I can get closer with that than the big camera), but these will do for now.
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2012: No entry.
2011: “It was skeery.”
2010: “What? I’m just rolling around, here. I’m not gonna steal your box!”
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: My feng is not shui’d, and it’s annoying me.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.