Katie’s kittens are now 13 weeks old, and had their second vaccinations on Friday of last week, making them almost ready to leave us. Such a scary thought!
Lainni and Soolay are booked in to be neutered on Thursday of this week. Alek can’t be done yet, because his being a bit behind his siblings means that his testes haven’t fully descended. We therefore need to give him another few weeks for them to descend fully before he can be neutered.
He has, however, got a home to go to, with a lovely family who only live a few minutes up the road from us. They even use the same vets we do! Our vets absolutely love them, and said that we couldn’t find a better home, so that sounds good to me! If the vet wasn’t happy with them, I would have been very nervous about allowing Alek to go without being neutered. Instead, he will be going to his new home on Sunday, which now seems terrifyingly soon! He has been lying on his back on my lap tonight, purring whilst I stroke his tummy, and I can’t imagine not having him around any more. Lainni and Soolay have also been sleeping in my arms – it’s going to be so hard saying goodbye to them all!
Lainni will also be going home with Lona next week, which will only leave us with Soolay. I can’t believe he hasn’t been booked yet, because he is such a wee character. Can’t say I’m hugely disappointed, though, because at least it gives me one kitten to cuddle when the others have gone! I’ve also got Soolay entered in a show in a few weeks, so the fact that he’s not booked yet isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Getting ready to fill the gap, however, Dàrna’s kittens were born early on Sunday morning, and are a very attractive mixture of colours. I think there are three boys (one blue-ish and two lilacy ones) and three girls (one dark tortie and two reddish ones). Trying to figure out which have dilution modifier, which have silver and which have Burmese restriction is making identifying the colours very difficult. I’m thinking that both the lilac and red-series ones might be silver shaded, but there could also be Burmese restriction in there to complicate matters. If anyone reading this is an Asian colour expert, I’d welcome your opinion…
The delivery was rather more stressful than Katie’s was, not least because Dàrna kicked things off by behaving as if she was going to go into labour for almost a week before she did so. For several days, I kept waking up every time Dàrna made a noise, and when I did get to sleep, either she would wake me up by patting me in the face, or I would dream about her having kittens in inappropriate locations (like the top of the wardrobe), and have to wake up to check on her!
We were booked to attend the Foreign Breed Seminar in Warwickshire on Sunday, and were due to be collecting Elisabeth at 3:30am. We had been debating back and forwards all week about what we would do if Dàrna hadn’t given birth by then. On Saturday evening, she seemed more settled, and was looking like being further off than she had done for several days, so I had spoken to my Mum to arrange for them to keep an eye on her, and we had decided to go.
At 2am, I got out of my bed to get ready to go South, and Dàrna immediately started contracting. Richard and Elisabeth had to go without me. At about 3:30am, I began to be able to see ‘something’ in the birth canal, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I was seeing. When the whisker pads emerged around it, I realised that it was a kitten’s tongue sticking out. The kitten progressed until its whole face was out, but then got completely stuck, but Dàrna’s body was obviously still trying to push it out. As I watched, the kitten started to turn purple, and Dàrna was becoming distressed and crying in pain.
I phoned the vet hospital and told them what was happening, and they asked how quickly I could be there. I rushed around getting changed (out of my pyjamas), and collecting a cat basket for Dàrna, whilst the other cats watched me as if I had gone completely insane. Since Richard had taken my car, I had to go to the vet’s in his van, which I had never driven before. With Dàrna screaming blue murder the whole way, that was not a fun drive.
Just as we pulled into the car park at the vet hospital, Dàrna gave an almighty scream and the kitten popped out. Bouncing along in the van had obviously worked it free. Before sending us home, the vets wanted to check that there wasn’t some problem affecting her ability to produce the kittens, so we decided that I should wait until the next one had arrived, to check that she didn’t have the same difficulty. We waited… and waited… and waited.
After about an hour and a half, the vet started saying that if Dàrna hadn’t produced a second kitten by the time two hours had passed since the arrival of the first, that we would need to do an elective C-section. Thankfully, Dàrna must have heard this (or my conversation with the vet about the risk of death during an operation!), and decided to produce the next kitten without assistance after an hour and 45 minutes. The third arrived just half-an-hour later, and I was sent home.
Having got back to the house, and get Dàrna settled back into her birthing box, another set of contractions started. The two kittens born at the vets (like the first one) had been born the correct way around – head first. As this next lot of contractions passed, the fourth kitten appeared feet first, and I honestly thought we might end up having to go back to the hospital! Thankfully, I was able to get a good hold of him with a facecloth, and pulled him out.
Number five was exactly the same, and for whatever reason, these kittens also didn’t start breathing until I had given them a good rub with the face cloth. The last kitten was born as a ‘full breach’, which means tail first; the worst possible way round for a mother to try and pass the kitten. Thankfully this one was the smallest in the litter, and with a bit of a tug, she came out quite easily.
By 9am, the kittens were all dry or mostly dry, and feeding well. I was able to phone Richard and Elisabeth to let them know that we had kittens. They in turn were then able to let the owners of the stud know, because they were also attending the seminar. At birth, the kittens ranged from 76g to 85g, but by lunchtime today, were up to a range between 97g and 111g, so they are gaining well.
Over the next few weeks, the colours should become clearer, and I will also know for sure whether the gender split is accurate. If I am right that at least one of the red-series kittens is a girl, then she will probably be staying here to continue our breeding programme into the next generation. That will, of course, depend on how the kittens develop as they get older, but since both parents are very nice, I’m hoping the kittens will be too. We shall just have to wait and see…