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Of course I cannot go another minute without noting the progress of our kitten babies since I posted in the autumn. This is what they looked like at about 14 weeks. R had gone into the bathroom (where they had been placed to be safe from the vacuum cleaner!) to collect them all up to take to the vet’s for their vaccinations… and he found this. They climbed up there all by themselves. The caption is his:

 

"But we don't want to go to the vet's..."

 

Since then, three of our lovelies have moved on to happy homes. Eudora — Miss Fiesty and adventurous, first out of the box and always up for a good time, was first to do in early December — on a plane back to the States with my sister, B! Oh yes indeed. Little Eudora was apparently a real trouper, traveling to the airport, on an eight hour flight, a two hour stopover, then another hour flight and another drive — all in a gorgeous padded carrier. In hand luggage. Wow.

Artemis and Athena went together to a fellow musician and sister-in-law of a work colleague. We met on a snowy day in the middle of England to do the transfer. The family have always had long-lived, indulged cats — and from the pictures being sent back to me, they have already started down the road of happiness there! Artemis and Athena both emerged as company-needing, extremely loving, cuddly cats. They desperately needed to be together, so I’m so glad they could be.

It’s been a real joy to give them such loving homes. A great relief.

So we have Archie — Archimedes — now as the sole little one. He’s the really laid back kitty second from the right. He and Schubert have a good relationship, sometimes sleeping together and often playing. Schubert can nearly squash him however! But Cleo (mum) almost always gets cross at Archie. She sniffs and plays a little, then growls and bats… It’s kind of sad. Poor Archie. He rolls over and gazes up at her: love me!

He cried for two days when the others went. And the grown up cats were like what you want us to play?! Where are your friends?

He is a stunning young lad though, just beautiful, and very loving. I think sometimes he is still a little lonely — and a mixed message mum doesn’t help — but we give him all the love we can. He also likes to sit and stare at the guinea pigs, occasionally prodding them gently. Bless. Shall try to get a good photo of him as he is now.

***

I’ve sort of thrown a table of blood sugar levels into the sidebar for people’s reference. I talk so much about levels and what is target and what is low and what is high, that it does seem a good idea to follow my sister B’s suggestion of putting up the basic info. The sidebar widget though doesn’t have any formatting with it unless I write it in HTML, which I don’t really know…so it’s really DARN basic right now, though I’ll keep after it.

I did want to say though: notice how narrow the target range is. And shall I shock you by saying that in the last two years I think that there have only been about four days (eg 24 hours) when all of the fingerprick blood tests have shown E in range. Of course between them he may have been all over the place. And what’s for sure is that generally he’s all over the place. As everyone with diabetes often is. This morning he woke low. Before dinner last night he was high. Etc.

No wonder it’s easy to feel like you are always, always doing something ‘wrong’. Not to speak of fighting a losing battle.

Also just to let you know: E was 32 mmols at diagnosis. And on Sunday I heard of a friend’s relative who was admitted to hospital with a level of 72 mmols.

So aiming for 4-8 mmols can sometimes feel like threading a camel through the eye of a needle. Despite all the hope of reduced complications it brings.

 

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Is it very bad if I take this one chance in two weeks to post – seeing as I’m sequestered in a Starbuck’s waiting for straggling students. Straggling and bedraggled as it turns out, in the light rain.

We are in town ‘doing’ some psychogeography – a walk following an algorithm. But it’s wet, alas.

So. News in brief:

1) E again running high in the mornings. Growth. Herewith ends our 2 week stretch of unbroken nights. We must get up and test to try to ascertain at what point he is rising…

2) but not react too aggressively because from Sunday he is away in Wales for a week, no running water, no electricity. Snowdon to climb. Heart attacks to give his parents. He will set running a little high (but not too or he will feel rough and be low energy) the whole time. Hence we go easy on the night levels. For now.

3) this trip should be fine. Should be great. Everyone is prepared. My motherly concern is that he not feel too alone in having to deal and make so many hour by hour by minute judgements in the no doubt changing and out of routine environment. We shall see. Gulp.

4) term has started for me. Hence the headless chicken thing. I think I will come up for air around early November. Alas again.

5) it’s raining. I said that, didn’t I?

6) the KITTENS are spectacular. Like popcorn. Heads held quizzically. Napping in the most awkward positions (sliding down sofa arm, in someone’s crossed ankles). Photos. Will add vid when I get home.


They are now of course escape artists so are underfoot all over the house. And unbelievably lovely. What an experience. And mama Cleo has just been so happy, calling them, checking on them, grooming them. Even though they are weaning. So salutary really….

7) we went to Cornwall for a flying visit – very gorgeous. St Ives Tate, surf beach, and the Eden Project. (sorry, will imbed links at home!) Glorious weather and a special gift of a time, just before we go blinkered for three months…


— Posting on the move, tiny screen!

It’s felt a very full few days. Sometimes in families there is a time when it seems things are changing quickly. The children outstrip themselves. The adults make plans. Some kind of change is in the air.

We had another clinic appointment yesterday, and despite the week of highs after our holiday, E’s HbA1c is again very good, the lowest yet, well under 7%. Just how lucky we are in this achievement was brought home to us when we both heard another teen’s HbA1c, same day, same clinic: 12%.

Living with diabetes requires an incredible vigilance, and, as the consultant pointed out yesterday, gaining control requires a kind of obsessive nature, a perfectionist bent. How true for E.

Growing with diabetes, growing up with it, requires quite a different set of coping mechanisms. And some are winners in it, and some have Herculean sized struggles with it. This is the hormone story: insulin (a hormone), brings blood sugar down. Cortisol and adrenaline — both typically sky high in adolescents, and especially in driven adolescents (check) — raise blood sugar. Unpredictably. Of course.

Growth hormone, as I’ve mentioned before, also raises blood sugar. And is only secreted at night. What I did not know is that it is secreted at all different times of night, in response to the body using up the glucose present in the blood. As the blood sugar drops, growth hormone has the chance to kick in. So it is secreted in a pulsating type pattern. Unpredictably. Which is why over the last six months we have had these astonishing runs of highs in the night, and then just when we want to do something about it, boom, they stop. We have been completely unable to predict or grab them.

The consultant’s advice for these adolescent highs was very good: correct the random highs (perhaps caused by cortisol and adrenaline) as you find them. Don’t worry overly about the growth hormone highs in the middle of the night, because some of the effect may well settle and drift off by morning. So try to get the morning reading okay, but stress less about the night time one.

He also confirmed that E had grown over an inch since June, and another inch in the preceding three months. So we all had a bit of a celebration and a sigh: we are in the middle of his main growth spurt, which may  last another year. Hold on for the ride.

It is clear that E and we seem to have the mentality to constantly ‘be after’ diabetes and control without it wrecking our lives. He tests as a matter of course, without protest, and is keen to keep in range if at all possible. His most upset times come when he runs high — not just because he feels bad, but because he is hugely, hugely aware of how bad this is for him.

In that way and so many others, we are lucky. We are able to carry all this, to hold it, without it taking an incapacitating toll on us.

But how easy it is to imagine a family, many families, where people just aren’t put together like us. Their lives are not as settled, not as happy in other ways. They’ve not had the support of a good diabetes team in the early years. The child or teen just wants to pretend it’s not happening. And the numbers spiral up, kept just within the need the hospitalisation.

I’m not saying anything that almost all of you know, and may even be experiencing. It does make me desperate though, desperate for help with this: how can all families be expected to essentially cope on their own? How can every person be expected to understand and be motivated to look after themselves? They can’t and UNDERSTANDABLY SO. It’s dire. But the price is so high.

E was speechless when he realised that the teen across from him had an HbA1c which was almost twice as high as his. I could see a helplessness mounting in him. How does this happen? We both felt chastened, and left feeling quite humbled. And for me, a little heartbroken too.

***

A little kitten vid. Cleo calling and playing with them. After a while she realises one is still in the box. Hmm… goes to check it out, and they all (eventually) follow… Our bundles of good and silly stuff amongst all the sobering thoughts…

I’m willing to accept that there may be such a thing as being too alert to your cat. So let me state that right off.

However, the last few days with Cleo and the kittens have been utterly fascinating, and make me realise (all over again) how all animals have to negotiate — whether instinctively or deliberately — the development and independence of their offspring. How we may think one thing, but encourage another. How we may wave goodbye and then burst into tears. Etc.

Here’s the thing: two nights ago I was up for four hours trying to settle the kittens with Cleo. She had suddenly taken it into her head that they needed moving. They weren’t safe. Perhaps it was simply that the other basket was too small — which it was. They were like sardines in there.

Anyway, that evening I twice came to the door of the playroom to find her next to a baby with a wet scruff. I deduced (!) that she was trying to move them, and if the scratching UNDER our bed earlier had been anything to go by, she was planning to take them there, where they could not be even slightly contained… Sigh. So I shut the door. At 4am she would not be quiet. She called and called and called and called. She got out and ate. Came back and called. Searched and searched for someplace to put them.

Sigh. I was struck by an idea. I righted a box we had in the room, put a blue blanket in it, and moved the kittens in. I know she likes the blanket. The kittens were HUNGRY. She climbed in and fed. Phew, I thought. Went back to bed. 5am.

Within the hour she was crying again, clearly trying to tell me something. She was out of the box. She didn’t like it. She kept looking from the kittens to me and back again, like do something!

I had another idea. It was an open box, though a table ran along 2 feet above it. I knew, for some reason, that she wanted more privacy. So I took another fleece, and pegged it to the table (under the guinea pig cage, mind you…stay with me), and draped it like a tent around the box.

Hmm….she checked it out. She quite liked it. She purred. She climbed in. And the deed was done.

Now, what’s been interesting from this is that the move to the bigger box meant that for another day the kittens didn’t venture out. They had more room, and maybe didn’t need to. They kind of poked their heads out of the end, then most of the time Cleo would make noises and literally yank them back: your bottom needs cleaning. Etc.

She wasn’t ready for them to go. And they probably weren’t quite ready to go.

Because last evening and today, she’s done something completely different. She has gone into the room and called them OUT of the box. It’s hysterical. Their little heads poke out and they fight to get out of the box, getting stuck, and they tumble around her. She bats them a bit, bites their ears, lets them suckle a little. They stagger about quite happily and explore. After a few minutes, she stands up and walks into the box. And gradually they follow her in, and everyone settles down.

It’s so simple. She knew what was best. She really did. She knew that if she had someplace different for them, they wouldn’t keep wandering out of the box and getting a bit lost before she thought they were ready. She knew when they were strong enough, and encouraged them to get going, to play.

Wow. When the children were little, I always made decisions about ‘what next’ based on what I would call my gut instinct. But I didn’t know that it probably really is instinct, in the flesh. It’s a real, palpable and despite our evolution, necessary thing which pushes us forward, helps development and survival. At each turn — sending my eight year old to get a cup of water from the counter, sending my eleven year old up the hill to buy some bread… or even standing in front of our one year old (we’ve all done it!) holding out our arms (that’s right, walk to mummy) — at each turn, something could go horribly wrong. You dream about everything that could go wrong. Like I’ve seen in Cleo’s eyes — they’ve gone too far! make them come back! But you know it’s your job to say hey come out here. The world is good. The world is full of new things. There’s a bit of it that might be dangerous, yes, and sometimes stuff happens. Don’t I just know that stuff happens. Better to learn to walk and run and play.

I’ve had the odd sense in the last few days that I really shouldn’t do a post about the kittens. There are lots of other things to talk about, and some of the reason I’m here is to talk about them: our experiences with type 1, the way that diabetes is seen and talked about (or not), and our family functioning alongside all of this….

So I’ve decided to DO BOTH. In time-honoured multi-tasking fashion.

First, for days I’ve been haunted by Justin Webb’s article in The Daily Telegraph online. OH sent this to me, and I happened to read it on my way into work, stuck in the car park. I should have known better, because it completely undid me for a few minutes. Once again, the relief of reading about how someone feels, how they understand, how they get it, can be overwhelming. And to have my feelings encapsulated, for just a few moments… Still overwhelms me, and probably always will.

Second, everyone is back at school and so far so pretty good. Daughter M has swung into her last year at this school with real vigour, to the point of having a school play audition from 5-6pm tonight. So watch this space. E’s numbers have been pretty respectable as well, with too many hypos however and a couple of odd highs. The change in routine means a fairly wholesale overhaul of his doses and ratios, so we’ve been chipping through that the last few days, with decent success. Fortunately his night time levels seem to have stabilised, and we had three — count them three! — nights of unbroken sleep.

That saying, he did wake on 2.7mmols one morning. We know the reason and it is this: he fell asleep without testing. We came in and tested him before we went to bed: 3.3mmols. Semi-woke him under great protest, forced in most of a carton of apple juice, and put him on a very low temp for an hour. This was still not enough, clearly, thus the 2.7mmols at 7am.

Lesson: he mustn’t go to sleep without testing. End of story. If he had tested, he would have seen he was too low (eg 5mmols or so) for the night, and had a biscuit, which would have done a far better job of holding him steady in the night.

(Heartache: that he has to do this at all. That this ‘life lesson’ is literally one about life. He forgets it, of course, at his peril. Which is, how shall we say, a stupendous drag.)

Sigh. We continue to live and learn. And learn, and learn and learn.

***

And all along, like our own secret supply of the sweetest music imaginable, are the kittens:

2 weeks old!

Archimedes, Eudora, Artemis and Little Miss Unnamed Yet at the back

Archimedes, Miss Unnamed, Eudora, and Artemis apparently playing dead

Archie standing, Eudora swatting Artemis, Miss Unnamed maybe cleaning?

As you can see from the captions, we are beginning to name them: Archimedes (or Archie) is the larger darker boy. He always looks a bit disheveled and bumbling, because he has long, plush fur, and also M says, because his eyebrows are tufty! Eudora is the lightest, a girl, and she is extremely alert: the first eyes open, the first out of the box. She also now comes toward our voices, which is heart-melting. Artemis is the darker girl (we think). Called thus because of the gender confusion, and because two members of the family are very into mythology (Artemis is often used as a boy’s name now, but is actually a goddess from Greek mythology, a huntress and goddess of wild animals and childbirth). Artemis looks like a delicate one, very fine face. She is third in development and shy, but now beginning to show herself. Miss Unnamed is really only slightly so: we are stuck between Pandora and Eurydice, the former because it’s like Eudora and they are both light, and the latter because she is a bit of a ‘follower’, more reserved — was the last to venture out of the box, and is frequently sleeping while the others are playing. Negatives about Pandora is that she let all sorts of evil out of a box! And that seems unfair to put upon a kitten (though M points out that Pandora also released hope, which was mega good…). Negatives about Eurydice is that a) it’s hard to say and b) it’s hard to spell! And what could it be shortened to in which case? Eury?

Anyway, as you can imagine they are the light of our day and HUGE time-wasters. Cleo is still confined with them, so I’m still doing lots of letting her in and out of the room. Cleo is also eating for Britain, so our cat food bills are tremendous. I allowed Schubert in the room with us today for the first time. Cleo was very relaxed, stretched out. He came in, she watched closely. He sniffed out the room, stuck his head in the box. By this time Cleo was on her feet. He and Cleo sniffed noses, and he left the room.

A good start!

For you real die-hards, I’ve put a 9 minute video up on YouTube. It’s a film of Eudora and then Archie venturing out of the box. Eudora had already been out once, and this shows in her far-wandering propensity. Archie is a brief explorer. Cleo was there and can’t figure out what to do with her wayward daughter….

If you do watch, I apologise for the 2 or 3 minutes of  filming into space… I just forgot what I was doing, alas. Also, mid-way through you can hear E (muffled like the adults talk in the old Charlie Brown and Snoopy films) outside the door. What he’s doing is telling me that he’s home from school and tested his blood. And that it was 15mmols and he doesn’t know why because he’s checked and he did dose for lunch. But that’s he’s corrected with more insulin and won’t have a snack until his level goes down — even though he’s starving. Argh. And heart-tugging.

Anyway, be patient. There’s some nice footage at the end. Such a good mummy!

As is the way with life, business as usual has now taken hold: school and stationery preparations have occupied some considerable time, as has the trying on of shoes and uniform etc… The good news is that for daughter M’s final year at her school we won’t have to buy any more uniform! Yay. Everything more or less fits. Never mind that everything was a little baggy to begin with, and that her skirt — bought three inches above her ankle — now rides slightly above her knee. Never mind that the SAME P.E. kit has lasted E and M both in this school — that’s eight years, altogether. Good quality stuff, eh? Though by now quite, ahem, faded. And it was second hand when I got it! The truth is out.

The bad news is that E does not fit in one single item of his school clothes. In six weeks he has outgrown his shirts, his jumper, his blazer, his trousers and his shoes. Granted, he was looking a little ‘wristy’ as we say, in his shirts and blazer by the end of the school year in July, but now they are unwearable. Sigh. AND he only has two more years in his blazer before going into the top of the school where they all wear ‘home clothes’. Sigh again. And blazers are eye-wateringly expensive. Second hand shop, here we come!

Life with the kittens has settled into a very sweet pattern: Cleo scratches to get out between 6-7 am, eats and drinks, goes outside. Kittens snooze. Cleo returns in an hour expecting some fanfare, which she receives, then goes back upstairs, checks them, eats a bit more in the room, stretches out asking us to tell her how very clever she is and how much she is loved, then climbs in with them. We check on her over the day but although she sometimes climbs out and stretches (and oh yes, eats two more meals), she doesn’t want to leave the room. At about 5.30pm, she fancies a stroll and goes out, eats again, visits with everyone and goes back into her room. Last night for the first time she wanted out at 11pm, so muggins here had to stay awake long enough to let her into the room when she was ready. She also wanted ANOTHER meal, and was interested in traversing the top of the piano, which she miscalculated somewhat and tumbled down, waking the house with her dischord. Oops.

Schubert her brother has stopped being quite so cross with her, which is a relief. He now greets her at least. He has yet to meet the kittens; we’ll wait for 3-4 weeks for that. Meanwhile two out of four babies have opened their eyes completely and one in particular is very pleased with her ability to hold up her wobbly head and look out. The eyes of the other two, the darker ones, are half open. All can do a very endearing hiss when they smell or see something they don’t recognise. Completely soundless and expressionless, they pull back their mouths repeatedly. Then snuggle down with the others, job done. It’s pretty hilarious.

Eight days old!

We think we have two seal point Birmans, one of them the boy, and two chocolate point Birmans, though one of these looks a bit lighter in the ears… could be developmental, or we could have a blue point? Not expected, but hey. (Classic examples of Birman types here. Cleo is a lilac point and the kittens’ father is a seal point…)

***

Re E’s numbers, well. Generally pretty good, but some inexplicable highs. Since I last posted we’ve had two unbroken nights’ sleep: one was fine; another he woke up on 2.7mmols. Right. Then the last two nights at 3am he’s been high again, 13mmols. So we can’t yet find a way to get full nights’ sleep with any consistency. We do look for opportunities, but there have been reasons to get up every single night: he’s running high, he’s running low, he’s at the end of a pasta or rice dual wave, it’s the first night of a changed basal dose, we’ve had three different numbers the last three nights so we can’t risk it! Etc.

People weren’t kidding when they said adolescence plays havoc with blood sugar levels. There are many, many times when it’s just random, random, random.

And today he’s eaten like a horse. He’s always hungry again. For us, this usually corresponds to growth and fighting to control high numbers. Sigh for the third time. (Really, we are okay. It’s just when I look at it baldly I admit we’re tail chasing again…)

It’ll be fine. Some day. Just please lord let his new clothes fit him for a little while.

A calm – temporary? false? who knows — has descended upon the house today. Cleo came out this morning and for the first time did not prowl every inch looking for alternative baby nests. She behaved like herself, sitting in her favourite places, generally doing her Cleo thing. For an hour. Meanwhile babies slept whitely and silently, now looking nearly fluffy (!) upstairs. Bless.

She’s been up there ever since, for six hours. OH just went to check on the family, and came out saying it must be the endorphins. She’s lying there looking like her whole flipping life finally makes sense, pedaling her paws and purring…

And we all went to bed earlier last night. More sleep. Finally I had a decent night. E’s number not good – 12 mmols — at 2am, and this after forcing more insulin (eg doing more than the pump wanted us to do) when he was mid-way through a 5 hour dual wave for pasta (about 10 mmols tops expected in the middle of dealing with pasta – he was 15 mmols, so we forced 1 unit of insulin in the hopes of getting him to 10 mmols. No such luck.).

So either he’s decided to do a little growing again (randomly, for who knows how long) or the pasta went in weirdly, or or or or or… Meh. Who knows anything.

But we’re feeling quiet about it. We’ll try again tonight. Peace and love man.

Almost three days old!

I’m pretty sure that photos of newborns of any species are beautiful pretty much in the eye of the proud grand/parent, but here we are! I snuck in and snapped this first thing this morning, when mama Cleo had popped out to have breakfast and do her usual cruise around the house looking for a singularly inappropriate place to move the babies… Scale-wise, each baby is about 100 grams at the moment, with one slightly larger, at 120g. This one is also the only definite BOY. We *think* we have one boy and three girls. They have increased their weights evenly by about 12% in 24 hours. That’s some growing…

I’ve just stuck my head in. Lots of feeding noises, lots of bickering — I want this spot, no I want this spot! — with mama purring away and resting her head on the backside of one of them. Aww!

She’s very happy. And I’m very happy, because at last this morning she managed to do all of her litter tray ‘business’. Number 1s, as they say, were fine from the start, but I was just getting to the point of trying to investigate mild kitty laxatives, when aha! Done deal. All looked healthy and good. Phew.

My only remaining anxiety (well aside from the larger ‘what is life’ ones and the longer term ‘will all the kittens be okay’ ones) is WHY she won’t drink the water in her room?She has two little bowls, both of which she has drunk out of in other parts of the house, both of which I’ve shown her and dabbed on her nose… But still, she rushes downstairs like a bat out of hell when we let her out to drink from the one on the side of the bath. I mean, I ask you!

I remember what it’s like to breastfeed. You are THIRSTY. Silly girl.

***

And last night I finally had some sleep that wasn’t fraught with worry. I didn’t jerk awake thinking the kittens were squashed, and E’s 3 am number was okay, as was his morning one. Hurray! Perhaps we will not set the alarm tonight? Nah. Too soon. But we may be getting there, for a short time anyway.

Deep cleansing breath.

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…

Right well still no kittens, but certainly some ODD behaviour:

1) flat out stretched cat. Poor Cleo too uncomfortable to lie long on either side, sniff, so is lying with her front legs right out in front, chin on them, and back legs hunched up. Quite calm. The general consensus is that she probably has 3 or 4 babes in there, as we can see them moving (many more and apparently they are too squished to see move!).

2) a whole morning of prowling for nests and scratching in corners. Thank goodness we filled up the small square at the very back of the spare room double bed, otherwise that’s where she would now be I’m sure… She has now checked out and settled for a time in the bottom of OH’s wardrobe, in the bottom of my wardrobe, in the bottom of E’s wardrobe, and in the far corner of M’s playroom under a table. Sigh.

3) There is one creature who just LOVES to scratch the newspaper in the bottom of OH’s wardrobe, and spent much of yesterday there: Cleo’s brother Schubert. Argh! Right place, wrong cat. When I caught him in there, he looked at me like nobody here but  us chickens (aka the fox in the chicken coop, the thief hiding in the chicken coop etc)…

***

Obviously, birth now getting closer. Not today I reckon though. She’s had breakfast and lunch!

And a story that made me laugh: this morning as usual I got up and went downstairs to the loo. Cleo was in there too, in her litter tray. She scratched. I did my business. Meanwhile M woke up and headed down the stairs. I flushed the toilet, and then Cleo walked out of the loo.

M came into the bathroom, giggling. She said that she might be just half asleep, but had Cleo just used the toilet?!

Ah well. Every little bit helps.

Setting sail

In November 2008 my 12 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The effect of this event on me -- and on our nuclear family -- was like being thrown overboard and watching the ship leave.

'Dealing with type 1' in the family has morphed into another sort of 'dealing' -- a wholesale resituating of parenting, of family dynamics...of life.

At my son's diagnosis I could not to locate a record of what living with a type 1 child in the family is like. I could not see myself or our family anywhere. I longed for a starting point, a resource and a sense of the future. Being a writer, my instinct is to write it. This space, I hope, is a start.

Blood Sugar Ranges (UK)

<4 mmols = low or hypo, life-threatening if untreated
4-8 mmols = within target range
8-13 mmols = high but not usually dangerous
14+ mmols = very high, or hyper, life-threatening if untreated

Bubbles

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Distance Travelled

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional. Any view expressed here is my opinion, gleaned from experience, anecdote or available research.