By now most of you probably know the story of “H” litter’s traumatic arrival! They “officially” WENT LIVE on CAM 2 yesterday and pushed KittyCam at Camstreams over the 500,000 mark. Amazing! KittyCam has been going strong since 1/5/08 — over TWO years!
But I’m sure you are all more interested in how the kittens and moms are doing. I’m sitting in bed as I write. Most of the kitties have deserted me as being too boring for words since I’m not paying special attention to them. Still, Tiny Bear and Nugget are at the foot of the bed and Gypsy Rose is on the chair. The two boys and Sequoia must be downstairs…. nope, her comes Sequoia now. She’s licking her chops!
The first thing I did this morning when I woke up was go down and let the boys out of the cabana. They were waiting patiently for me, each in his little basket. It’s pouring rain outside. A great day for me to stay in and fuss with cats and kittens! Then I checked in on Sirocco and the “H” litter. Sirocco greeted me with enthusiasm. She’d eaten all of her food and all three babies were nursing. Sahara and family also looked great. I fed every one a little pre-breakfast snack and went back to bed with my laptop for a while.
SO, yes, the “H” litter arrived on Sunday. It was an extremely traumatic day for both me and Sirocco. She started her labor at about 6 am. This, after keeping me up all night making “nesting” sounds. Usually once a queen starts hard labor, the kittens arrive in quick succession over the next few hours. In this case, little Half Pint did not start to make her appearance until about 11 am and she came feet first. This is called “breech” in the cat world, but technically it’s not breech as we think of it in humans. It’s very common and usually a little more difficult for the queen. From the beginning, Sirocco’s labor wasn’t as strong nor as consistent as I’ve grown to expect. The first delivery was very difficult for her — and me. When the baby finally arrived, I didn’t think it was alive, but with stimulation she began to slowly come to life. I breathed a sigh of relief, and figured we were over the worst part. Usually after the first is delivered the others come fairly easily. However this was not the case! The second was also breech, and equally difficult, arriving about 45 minutes after the first. This kitten I was unable to revive. It may or may not have been alive in utero. I’ve received many condolences over the loss of this baby, and thank you all. However, percentage wise this is not uncommon. I’ve had two other ‘still borns and usually don’t mention them. Of course now my life is an OPEN BOOK! The figures for ‘neonatal deaths’ among cats is quite high — about 20% I believe. A large percentage of that is during the birth or within the first few days, then it drops off dramatically after the second week of life. The bottom line for me is to make sure the queen makes it.
OKAY, back to my story. I thought that maybe NOW, we would get these kittens born! I knew that Sirocco must have at least two more, but her contractions were weak or non-existent for the next few hours. Though this, too, is not uncommon. A queen can rest for hours (even a day) until going back into labor to produce the rest. But it didn’t feel right to me and by 3 pm I decided to see if the vet could fit me in. Thankfully my vet is open on Sunday. For the second time in my short breeding career, I left a new born in Sahara’s care and headed to the vet with the queen. Sirocco was examined and x-rayed. She did have two more and both were alive. The vet felt that a “C” section was our best option for a positive outcome, so I left Sirocco there for the surgery and picked her up just after 8 pm. Both kittens were alive. One male, one female, but the male was so weak and lethargic that I was virtually sure that he wasn’t going to make it. Sirocco was pretty droopy and not up to caring for the babies just yet, so I put the two girls in with Sahara for the night, and the male in my incubator. He wasn’t eating, but I made several attempts at bottle feeding him. At 4 am he took a fair amount of milk from the bottle which was encouraging. You can imagine my surprise and delight when by the next morning he was as strong and vigorous as his two sisters. Since I’m pretty sure of their genders (from the vet), the “H” litter got their names right away. Half Pint was the first born and her sister, Halo, and brother, Hiawatha were delivered by the vet. Sirocco was also spayed during her surgery. This is not a given, as kitties can go on to have normal deliveries after a “C” section as Tiny Bear did, but I felt that in this case spaying was in the best interest for Sirocco’s future health — and my nerves!
Sahara’s group I’m afraid got lost in the drama of Sunday, but they are doing so well. Their mom keeps them spotlessly clean, of course. Their eyes are almost open now and they are getting more active. I’m still dithering over their genders, but I’m now thinking that perhaps Gecko is a female and POSSIBLY Goliath (Genoa?). I’m pretty sure that Geronimo and Gobi Bear are males.
So that’s my story! I now have ALL the other cats in bed with me and Simba Kahn is looking at me with the “Get my Fancy Feast or suffer the consequences” look.