My kitten's first litter arrived today.
|My kitten knows her house better than I do.|
She was either being a food glutton or pregnant, and then I remembered hearing her sing a boyfriend kitty song some time back. I don't measure time well. My almost year old kitten was getting bigger every week, and of course I hadn't thought to mark the calendar so I could count days, and have some idea when to expect the arrival of "Vanilla's" first litter. But she kept getting bigger.
Vanilla spends most of her afternoons and evenings hanging out with "Shadow," the German Shepherd. They play chase, and Shadow gives lots of nose nudges, and makes very distinct high squeeky sounds. I wondered if Shadow had any idea what was about to happen, by scent or something.
My sleep schedule is off, and I had slept all day long. I settled in front of the television to start my day, and noticed that the kitten had appeared for a social visit. Did she look thinner? Did she feel thinner? She wasn't much for standing still, letting me pet her once every pass. Her belly definitely had kitty titties that were hard and pointy amidst her furry belly fur..
Vanilla caught up with me in what is known as the "cat room," the middle bedroom of my house. In the room by the window on the floor lay neatly placed cat food bowls, full of certain types of cat food at only cetain times of day. When I woke up, I had found the bowl almost bare.
"Angel Bella" and "Stella" are Vanilla's big sister kitties, and they share the bowls too.
Vanilla was turning circles around my feet, and circling back again as I filled the dry food bowl. She wanted something. She wanted to show me something! She wanted to show me her babies!
"Did you go and have all your babies, and your Mommy slept through the whole thing without helping you out? Did you have your babies? You have a clean and normal looking fluffy backside. Are you a little mommy now? Did you have your babies?"
She had me follow her into the dark front bedroom.
As I flipped on the overhead light switch, and followed my little white Siamese kitty across the room, I recognized what a special effort Vanilla had indeed taken to have her babies in a safe and quiet and dark and out of the way place. Damn cats are so instinctively smart. And I am amazed by the wonder of birth.
With both feet steadied, my knee leaning against the closet door, my right hand holding my balance, as I reach under a hanging closet shelf, my left hand reached in blindly and carefully. I felt fur gingerly until I could identify where I was, anatomy wise. I found Vanilla's neck to scratch, and she said it felt real good to scratch it.
She was purring her "mommy while nursing" purr, and I ran my hand toward her belly to feel one furry warm identity. I lingered to feel the entire length of her little kitten, but I didn't go back. I recognize a mommy's private space needs. But I want to pick up every little kitty and look at it all over, and pet it all over, then put it back in its nursing station. , even if it is a kitty nursery. I need to keep my human hands, and scents, and germs out of the nursery.
They feel furry. I haven't seen them in light to know anything about their color. You can't feel the color of fur. It is soft and silky thinnish fur. As much as I want to get into the private castle and play with the babies, I know that's not best for them.
I marked May 23, 2012 as the kittens' day of birth on the calendar. I can't see in to count how many, but I want to give the area a visble eye check before the day is over. I want to make sure that everyone accounted for is alive. Although, it looks like things went nice and naturally without me. Vanilla is a white cat, and there was no indication from the outside of her body that she had been in labor. She might argue that point. However, isn't birth amazing. And I missed it this time. Vanilla's a sweet kitty, so she won't hold my absence at birthing against me. She didn't know I planned to be there to help. I'm glad she didn't need me. So now, Vanilla has a secret private castle of life, and she's shared it with me.
Tonight, she took an option to eat canned dog food. Our bowls get a bit confused, as we do share between cat and dog on occasion.. Vanilla has been absent from hanging out in the den today ever since she and Shadow: had a severing each of cat food, much earlier.
To get to the private castle area, (I have to turn on the light first) you must walk into the front bedroom, full of various stored pieces of my life. Step over the vacuum cleaner hose, which is doubled across the pathway, and step to the right by the large plastic container of record albums, covered by a few laid down for convenience winter coats. Plant your foot carefully as your next step is further to the left, past floor pillows covered by sequined purple tiger material, and several already used eBay item envelopes, which always make for a slippery surface for stepping. This is no place to intentionally do the splits.
Past the leopard print of floor pillow sits the purple and large cat carrier, stowed half inside and half outside the fully slid open closet door.
Vanilla continues further towards the back of the closet, behind the carrier, deeper inside the closet, claiming space where a netted shelf is hanging, leaving a vacant and open area of about four inches above the floor. A corregated box serves as a back section for the private castle. There is one way in, and no back exit. Vanilla has her little nest of fur next to the back wall of the closet. What a cozy and inaccessable nook! Traveling to the corner for a kitten expedition is a balance work out for me. Shadow can't get past the carrier, but she hears the kittens mewing at times.. Her ears turned pointedly attentive.
Cats are smart.
I'd been concerned that Vanilla would have her kittens where Shadow could investigate and get to them too soon. Shadow has had experience with three other litters. Stella had a large litter
and before I could get them adopted away, Angel had her kittens in my bedroom clothes closet. Then before Angel's kittens were gone, Stella had delivered nine kittens in her second litter. There were many kittens in our lives that summer. Shadow likes to play with kittens. She knows they are a special and delicate delight in life.
Vanilla found the perfect spot in the house. My rooms are full and chaotic, but cats seldom disturb items when they walk through. They move things when their noses start nudging for a scratch. That happens in my house when I leave items on the edge of the bathtub. If I leave a magazine or a box of tissue on the edge of the tub, I always locate it later inside the tub. Nose scratches are special for cats, and there is usually unusual stuff in my bathtub.
Now I have a closet occupied by an unknown number of day old kittens. I'll add another bowl of water to her new private area. And I see a trip to the pet food store will be required this afternoon. I have cans of dog food, but no cat food. And I'll take lots of trips to listen at the closet. But I do wonder what colors the kittens are.
So far, Angel and Stella are perfectly happy with their lives as they are--without the awareness of kittens. They will be gripey aunts. They were gripey aunts before the kittens were born.
We are now a house of one human mama, one female German Shepherd, two white and one grey Siamese adult cats, and a nest of fur, later to be designated as kittens. I love my zoo house. We are a happy family.