"caring for pregnant cats & kittens"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kittens at one month old.

So, if you're following me on Instagram, would would probably have already seen all my kitten photos in every cute angle possible (if you haven't, then what are you waiting for? Follow me!) :p

My cat Karma, got knocked up by a tom cat who entered our home without us knowing. She was only 4 months at the time, too young to get neutered. It so happens that a stray tom cat decided to enter the premises and wham-bam, things happen.

However, about 2 months later, Karma gave birth on 29th January 2014 (two days before CNY, can you imagine the chaos?!) and the kittens are the most adorable things I've ever seen.

Just look at that! Level of adorability x 999999999!

She will eat, and eat and eat.. and would still want to eat some more. It's good though, just give her as much food as she wants. She's eating for many. Make sure she has enough water though if you;re feeding her kibble. And be prepared for a LOT of poop-action. Kitty eats that much, kitty will poop as much.

She will also be very nurturing and friendly towards you. Call it motherly instincts. Karma is a very friendly cat by nature who warms up to strangers and will sit next to me when I watch TV. She will even headbutt your iPhone off your hands if she feels you're giving it too much attention. Pregnant Karma is three times more clingy, and will sit on your lap, kiss you and knead your lap. She would love extra petting time and full body rubs – rewarding you with lots and lots of purring. But just as long as you kept her well fed.

And one more thing of course, she will be FAT. Like extremely bloated.

It's very important to be watchful of her trying to jump up too high places, because if she falls, the babies might get a bad shock, and bad things might happen. We were also extra careful of not lifting her up too quickly or holding her too tightly around the belly.

Her nipples would also be very pink and very extended. It's kind of gross, but it's all good because you do not have to rub her belly anymore. It's sensitive to the touch and she might just bite you if you attempt to.

This is when their eyes just opened, approx 2 weeks old, and their movements still quite wobbly.

The nesting habit comes into play where they look for the darkest and quietest hiding places in the house, and start building a nest by dragging soft cloth items (especially your clothes or floor mats) into the area. At one point she had my cardigan between her teeth, a very obvious attempt at stealing my clothes for nesting.

The best solution is to provide her a proper nesting box lined with old clothes. Lock all doors that will lead to small spaces that she shouldn't venture into. I locked my store room door,  but as you read on, you'll understand how that ended up as her nesting spot anyways.

Kitty would start wailing and acting very anxious. She would pace back and forth and may try to get to her nesting spot (if the one you provided wasn't up to her standard, which mine wasn't). The delivery would not happen until 8-12 hours later so don't worry about it yet.

Unfortunately for us, she started being anxious about 10pm at night, and after we went to bed, she sneakily broke the window screens that separates her and our store room, and gave birth some time in the early morning. I was in a panic when I couldn't find her the next morning. She let ton traces, not even a sign of a break in on the window screen (maybe she pushed it back in place with her paw?).

After minutes of frantic searching, my brother's sharp ears caught a sound of a high-pitched mewling. We stopped calling out to her and listened. Sure enough, she was in an old clothes drawer in the store room (I have no idea how she pulled that open) all black and skinny again, with a bunch of black worm-like things nuzzled against her. The first thing I did was to bring her food and water. She was too tired to move so I hand-fed her food and water, which she guzzled up like a hungry refugee.

I need to sheepishly tell you, that before Karma gave birth, my entire family took a bet on how many kittens she would produce. We each chipped in 10 bucks into the pool, and felt her tummy to guess. Guesses ranged from 3-6 kittens, and in the end, there was four. My dad and I won the bet and split the pool of winnings.

Yes, so four solid black kittens, some with a white star on their chest like mommy Karma has. They were blind, but already dry from amniotic liquids, thanks to Karma's incessant licking. Phew! They still have small lengths of the umbilical cord  attached though, but fell off on its own after a few days.

Blind but crawling baby kittens at a week old, with mommy watching over.

For the next few days, don't bother your cat and her kittens. Let her rest and let them bond. Just give her some fresh water and food everyday but don't pry. Cats, when feel threatened or bothered, will attempt to move the kittens. You wouldn't want that, especially if she moves them to unreachable places – like into the deep depths of your store room.

She will natural nurse and clean her babies from head to toe. Just let her be.

As for the box that they are in, to avoid an unholy mess of things, layer about 7 layers of old clothes for her to give birth on. Three days after giving birth, you can help your cat by removing the first two layers of clothes, which should be stained with blood and amniotic liquid form the birthing process. Discard those. You can add more layers of clothes. So every two days, discard one layer so that the kittens and your cat will not be resting on the excretions from the kittens. It's easier to clean this way.

This is Karma, after 13 days, bringing the kittens out to play and for feeding time.

Their eyes will open after 3-5 days, and they will start walking in a month's time. It's been over a month now and my kittens are running and already jumping all over the place. They are also starting to crunch on kitty kibble (Royal Canin for Kittens) and are able to drink water from a bowl independently. Momma cat has also taught them how to use the litter box. Yay for Karma! :)

Just in case you're wondering, before they are able to use the litter box, the mother cat will lick their babies' parts to stimulate defecation. And when they do defecate (on a milk-only diet, everything that comes out is liquid) the mother cat licks it up. Yep, GROSS BUT TRUE. I only just found out because I was curious as to where all the poop goes, and now what's known cannot be unknown.

Three of them are already up for adoption, and their new mommies will be coming to collect them soon. I'm sad, but I'm glad that they are going to good homes. Karma will be terribly sad, but we are looking into keeping one kitten with her. :)

P/S: If you're interested in adopting, please drop me an email. There are always last minute back-outs when it comes to adoption, and I can put you on a waiting list.

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All images and text here are the intellectual property of Michelle Lim, owner of the blog site www.coquettishmish.com, and related third-party ownerships. Any use, reproduction or re-quoting of the materials here can only be done with expressed permission from the blog owner, and should be duly credited where necessary.