As I type this, we have FOUR squirming, squeaky, kittens in our…wait for it…playroom. Which translates to the messiest, most precarious room in the house. Sigh.

What an experience. I think we can safely say never again. Though I suppose like so many things, the stress may pass and we’ll think, hey, a nice idea…

So she ends up under a table which is less than 18 inches wide, hemmed in both sides, and with a table stretcher, eg great chunk of wood, right in the middle of it, four inches off the floor. Charming. On carpet. Charming. She went into labour effortlessly, then within 30 mins, with all of us in there, we heard a squeak, and No 1 appeared. Astonishing. She knew what to do and all well. No 2 was a long time coming, and when it arrived, we could see why. Hard to discern exactly, in the dark corner, but didn’t come out the same, was unusually large, and stillborn.

A huge shock, esp for the children. Cleo seemed to know this one was not right, and had paid no attention. To the point where it was still connected. So OH performed the cord surgery, stuffing his broad shoulders under this 18 inch space… Lordy. (All with surgical gloves, of course.)

No 2 had been very messy, so from here on out you may want to avert your eyes. No 3 arrived quite soon after, but she seemed to have little awareness of it. It was quiet and the sac on. I reached in; it was warm and moving, so I broke the sac, at which point the noise and squirming tuned her in. She managed this cord. No 4 arrived quite soon after, yelling his/her head off before even out completely. She also didn’t seem to click with this one, but we left well enough alone for a while as it was squirming and I think even managing to feed, still connected! However, after another 15 mins or so it still wasn’t disconnected, so it was my turn to go in with thread and scissors. A slippery affair. As soon as this one was freed up, however, all three lined up for a drink and Cleo had a rest. We thought that was it, and brought her some food, which she ate ravenously without even standing up.

We went downstairs and poured some wine and opened some crisps. I was wobbly from stress!

After a half an hour I went up again — just in time to see another emerging. Again, this sac was still mostly on, though I could see lots of wiggling, and as I watched, I saw it snorting and taking breaths. Again, she seemed quite oblivious and this one was still connected. Again however we left her to it. When we came back 20 minutes later, this last one was indeed still connected. Out came the thread and scissors again. Me again.

Imagine the stuffing of my whole upper half into this tiny, dark space, torchlight, fiddling with a minute cord and thread. In gloves.

We tried to keep track of placentas (placentae?!), and things seem okay.

Of course, the plus here is that we were up in the middle of the night ANYWAY, so I checked on her then. She was smashed into the corner, purring. I could see some babies but god knows how many, and left her to it.

This morning she was crying to come out of the room, and when we opened the door, she shot downstairs and snarfed fresh food, saw Schubert, asked for lots of love, and returned to her nest.

The four babies were huddled together, all fine and less like drowned rats. Her backside was considerably cleaner.

The saga doesn’t end here though, because she seemed to be prowling around the room. It’s true she’d chosen perhaps the most awkward space in the house…

Later we came in and saw two babies setting off across the room… Not good. Cleo a bit manic. Called the breeder, who recommended moving them into a box and settling her in with them…

Easier said than done of course. Seeing as this mama cat just will not do what we want.

Set up a box, covered it with material, moved the kittens in quickly and then tried to entice mama in. No way. Finally picked her up bodily. She settled down, they squeaked, I left.

An hour later she was sitting in the OTHER covered cat basket we’d brought in, happily cleaning and purring. The kittens were in a pile in the original box.

We got her fresh food, she ate, and needed LOADS of love. Sniffed the kittens’ box, got back into hers. Meowed.

We tried not to panic. Left her to it.

A few minutes later she’s calling again. I go in. She loves me, loves me SO much she’s rubbing against everything in sight. Goes to the kitten box, goes to her box, eats a bit. Rolls on her back. I LOVE YOU, she says.

Right. I love her back, then leave.

A few minutes later, she calls again. I go in. She is still loving me like mad. I pick her up again and try to get her to sit down with the kittens. She does so briefly, licks one, and then bolts out, straight into her box.

Okay, fine. I decide to move them again. This time however I don’t have to touch them with gloves, but can gather them all up on one towel. I pick them up like a little parcel, and lay them in the box with her. They immediately begin to make their way to her, meeping away… And within a few minutes, I can see that she has one leg up , and is letting them feed.

No idea if they are suffocating under the towel, which I didn’t unfold all the way because I didn’t want to fuss. No idea if this will last. But at least they are warm for a while and have had a meal…

LORDY!

The stress!

***

I think there’s a good chance that such highly bred cats are a bit high maintenance. The breeder was unsurprised that Cleo seemed more interested in cleaning her fur than cleaning the kittens at birth. She said Birmans are like this. Now everyone is fine, but at the time it’s like, help them, help them silly mama!

And I was awake much of the night worrying myself stupid. Of course.

***

We are getting kitten formula in just in case. Though I think things are better for the moment.

Lordy. Again.

As soon as I can, I will take pictures!

Over and out…

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