|From The Slut's Cookbook,|
which I blogged about here.
I am kinda tired today. In fact I feel like I used to during the first five years of total sleep deprivation that came with the arrival of Piglet in my life. I used to feel like I could lie down on the floor I was mopping and just crash out and sleep really nicely. So I might not be as hilarious in this post as I sometimes am; I thought I would write it cuz when I looked up on the net there was lots of advice about what to do if your cat refuses to take responsibility for her little bastards but not much on how it is all supposed to happen. So this is for those who are hanging around the delivery room doors biting their fingernails and thinking is this normal?
To start with I was lucky enough to have already experienced in my own childhood a cat starting to give birth in my brother's bed. When the kitty cat came snugging up on the bed, and then chose to go right down under the covers where it is cosy and dark, I was already twitching my ears. Then when she came wriggling back up the bedclothes and tried to lick a non-existent amniotic sack off of the sleeping Piglet I was definitely suspicious. I looked in the bed and saw a lightly bloody patch and I was like, OMG! Do not hyperventilate! I rushed the cat down to the kitchen, sirens going, and she climbed straight into her maternity suite.
|I didn't take this photo|
at the time, LOL. This is
the morning after.
I knew that cats usually like to be left alone to give birth. However Lakhi exhibited every sign of wishing me to be nearby - like running after me if I moved an inch. I tried out stroking her head and she purred loudly.There we sat, with me encouraging her by chirruping and stroking her head - er, I mean with me preserving total indifference. I posted on the board and Facebook and my American and Australian friends looked up from breakfast to post encouraging remarks, helpful tips they found online and dire stories about cats who had eaten their young. (Thanks!)
Lakhi produced the first kitten without any problems. I had read online that the kittens must feed IMMEDIATELY in order to get the first milk full of antibodies. I watched anxiously but Lakhi was just going round the nest and the kitten was lying still. As it was a black kitten in a dark cupboard, it was kinda hard to see what was going on. Eventually I succumbed to picking the kitten up. I put a plastic bag on my hand (since I don't routinely carry latex gloves in spite of my doctoral title and hopeful hints on the board); I knew it's very important not to touch the cats and put your smell instead of their stinky pooey kitten smell on them. The kitten wriggled so I knew that I had just been a neurotic cow about the whole thing and I put it quickly down again. Meanwhile, Lakhi got on with producing another kitten and only then settled to feed them.
It all seemed pretty calm at that point. I made a cup of tea for me, and some kitty milk up for Lakhi. She hadn't seemed interested in it when we offered it previously but I put some in a bowl and held it to her head and she lapped up the whole 130 ml like a good 5 pint woman. I hung around posting on the board and Facebook and knitting for a while. Then I decided it was all over and went to bed. I reckoned there had been 20 to 30 mins between the two kittens, it had been about an hour since there had been a sign of one and I decided all would be quiet for the night.
Well it was all quiet - except that I had to change the bloody bedsheets (by 'bloody' I mean literally!) in which I had been obliged to leave Piggles slumbering like a fairytale princess. Piggles woke up so I let her come down to see the cat and kittens and then she started babbling to me about them but I was so shattered I fell asleep anyway. Then when I came down early in the morning there were two more kittens! I rushed to post about them on the board and when I looked up from my netbook there was another one.
They were all fine and Lakhi had not been agitated enough to come and get me in the night. (Unless she tried and I was spark out so she just went back and got on with it.) Two little black kittens and three tabbies. I was shattered but I got on cheerfully with the normal Sunday clearing, cleaning, hanging the laundry, putting some slab of meat in the oven - except that this Sunday instead of roast potatoes etc, I did a beautiful spring risotto from Gennaro Contaldo's gorgeous book Passione. (Piglet complained and said it was narsty, of course.)
All day, Lakhi was a bit off-hand and in and out of the nest. I would encourage her back and she would go but she left the kittens curled up in a teeny tiny five kitten ball for long periods, to our surprise. It is June, so not too cold, and she did go back now and then and let them have a feed. Gah, it is very very difficult to sit watching some tiny tiny kitten fumblingly roll and scrabble its miniscule legs sometimes in totally the wrong direction, trying to get to Momma Cat. Uh? No no! I did not spend hours sitting on the little child chair glued to the dramarama unfolding in the cupboard by my cooker. I was cooking, remember! I was there anyway. (LOL.)
So night falls and I am about ready to lie down on a big bed, a medium-sized bed and a tiny little bed all at once I am so exhausted - and get eaten by Bears! (Ah, if only, but Bear who posts on the board never even flirts <snerk>.) But the kitty cat will not get in the nest and settle down with her progeny. She acts like she does not know whatall these squirmy little things are. At one point, I swear to you, she got in the nest, looked at me, lay firmly down on the kittens and rolled on them to cries of protest, got up, looked at me hopefully once more and lay all over them again. I mean, I am used to hopeful exhibitions of learned incompetence but I never thought the cat would pick it up!
I am sitting on the tiny chair with the cupboard door open making encouraging noises, then when she has been with the kittens for a while, closing the door, sitting with my leg placed so she can see it through the gap. Then moving away to the dining table. Then cursing someone who comes whistling through the kitchen and the cat pops back out again in case it's me nipping off up the stairs going la la la, I am going to a party!
Finally I make it to my lovely lovely bed. But here I am back again at 1 am cuz kitty cat came looking for me about half an hour ago. I had a look at the kittens and I think they are all there but I am NOT going to poke about and make sure, cuz what will I do if that lump is not the fifth kitten anyway? Yah yah, of course I made a cup of tea - and some kitty milk for Miss Thing. Man, she leapt up on the kitchen counters sniffing around that white powder like a tabloid welfare queen.
I think she wanted to go out. But there is no way!
a) in case the little slag doesn't come back in again,
b) in case she brings something special back with her to put in the nest half alive so she can toy with it for hours on the pretence of teaching the kittens hunting skills.
After going round purring and carrying on, and ignoring her kittens' plaintive cries in a most unmaternal fashion, Miss Thing has climbed back in the nest and all is quiet again. So I may try to go back to bed for a bit. Oh, bed! I can't believe nobody has written an ode to the loveliness of a summer bed, with its temperate sheets in which a little bit of rough might shake your darling bud if you get lucky (wink). Yes I can cuz only a MILF who has experienced five years ongoing sleep deprivation can truly appreciate how nice a bed is - and we are all too shattered to write bloody poetry.
There are both pluses and minuses to the kitchen as location for the birthing suite. No muss, no fuss - the floor is easy to wash. It is a busy busy place with laundry, roast dinners, cub scouts and baronial allies bearing bottles trolling through - everyone peering at the kittens as they go - this must be disruptive for a first time mother, however much she thinks she is a total party animal. The food is already laid out in the kitchen so no need to make special dining arrangements with trays of fresh choice titbits being constantly carried to the new mum. (I said no need, LOL. You will be placing special snacks close to the nest anyway.) A MILF can easily keep an eye on things while tootling about doing her normal Sunday stuff.
But, dahlinks, at the end of the day (even a long day like this one ends some time!), it was not up to me. 'Course I would have known better, but you try telling that to Miss Thing.