I promised to write about Jitterbug’s arrival. I’m just now feeling organized enough to tackle a blog entry. Thank God, Sequoia didn’t have a normal sized litter. I’ll do my best to answer the many questions I’ve seen streaming past on KittyCam, Facebook, and YouTube. Clearly a lot of people are interested and watching this little saga. Libya is in the news, a hurricane hits the east coast, Texas is on fire … and we are all focused on the saga of one tiny kitten and her momma. It’s good to have your priorities in order. That’s what makes sharing this with you such fun.
The arrival of Sequoia’s kitten has been much anticipated. I’m not sure why. Has it been any more so than any other litter? I don’t know. In any case, we knew it was going to be just one kitten due to an ultrasound. We also knew that the possibility of complications might arise since a single kitten is often larger than many kittens. I’ve been asked many times if it’s unusual for a cat to have a singleton. No, it’s quite common, but I don’t know the percentages. This is my first singleton.
Sequoia went into labor on Wednesday, September 7th at about 1:30 pm. I thought, “WONDERFUL, a decent time of day at last.” After two hours of hard labor, my optimism began to flag. Whether or not and when to take a laboring queen to the vet is always a tough decision. Ideally you want to avoid a “C” Section or even the stress of loading her in the carrier at such a time and rushing to the vet. Surgery comes with a lot of risks to mother and baby (or babies), on the other hand not doing it when it’s necessary can be catastrophic. Sequoia had good, strong contractions and was not making any progress. At the time of the ultrasound the vet told me to wait an hour. I waited two. All of my research and reading has come up with guidelines for this scenario that range from one to two hours of hard labor. Another factor to always consider is WHAT TIME DOES THE VET CLOSE?
So, off to the vet we went. They did another ultrasound and xrays to determine what was what. The xray indicated that there was in fact only one kitten. It was perfectly positioned for delivery, but too large to pass through the pelvic opening. The ultrasound showed that the kitten was alive and not yet in distress.
Upon deciding to do a “C” section, the breeder is generally given the choice of whether or not to spay the cat at the same time. Cats can have multiple “C” sections and go on to have normal births in between. Sequoia is a solid, healthy little girl, but I had the dilemma of her personality and general CATitude. I also know that my breeding career is in the winding down stages — maybe only a few more litters at best unless I re-home my spay/neutered cats. Having breeding cats can be stressful enough for cat and breeder if all goes perfectly with temperament and various other things, there was no point in keeping a questionable queen intact at a time when de-stressing my life and the life of my cats is a priority. After some consideration, I felt that both Sequoia and I would be happier if she were a pet rather than at the mercy of her hormones. I elected to have her spayed.
I brought mom and baby home at about 8 pm, only an hour or two after her surgery. Sequoia was extremely drugged, out of it, and disoriented. She clearly couldn’t care for the baby. This is my third “C” section. The first two times I had Sahara standing by with a week old litter and I simply slipped the new babies in with her and the post surgery moms took over without a hitch a short time later. Sequoia was different. Her recovery seemed rougher and her acceptance of the kitten at all was in question.
What to name the only kitten in the “J” litter? I poured over my lengthy list of names as I rushed around trying to get organized and one that I had not considered a strong candidate suddenly popped out at me. Little ‘Baby J’ became ‘Jitterbug.’
Jitterbug went into my incubator where she would be nice and warm. I bottle fed her for the first two nights and a day. The following was captured by ‘BlueCatEyes’ while watching the KittyCam:
The evening of the second day, I brought the incubator out into the living room to see if any of my other females would take an interest in her. To my surprise and delight Tiny Bear did!!
Tiny Bear tended the kitten throughout the evening and until I came down for her middle-of-the-night feeding. For some reason after that the kitten was very fussy and wouldn’t stop screaming despite both Tiny Bear’s and my efforts. So I moved the incubator back into the nursery and put Jitterbug in with Sequoia. At first Sequoia shied away from her, but after some encouragement, she relaxed and allowed the baby to snuggle up to her. From that moment on she became quite bonded to the little one. Rather than disturb Sequoia, I set up a small corral around the spot on the floor she chose.
At the writing of this blog, Jitterbug is three days old and holding her own. She’s quite a strong little kitten as you can see from the photo below where she has scaled mom and is draped over her! She’s nursing well and gets an occasional supplemental feeding from me. Sequoia is much more alert. She’s eaten several good meals, though it’s still a challenge to get her to move far enough from the baby in order to see to her own needs. Still, I’m hopeful that this will turn out well for both baby and mother.