Cold Comfort

Nikki gave birth to seven kittens on the evening of March 8th. All them are growing and nursing wonderfully. No definite news on their pronouns yet, but we’ll know in good time.

The delivery was undramatic and didn’t take long. Nikki takes after grandmother, Nutmeg, who would shoot out kittens in record time (hence the nickname, “Machine-gun Megs”).

All of these kittens are not yet reserved, but we are contacting people with approved applications. We still aren’t accepting new applications because we have more than enough to review right now (Sorry!)

Chubby little things

The kittens were born on the same day we got our new refrigerator installed (the old one didn’t survive a power outage caused by a wind storm).  So we have a naming theme, even if we haven’t decided which one is Frigidaire, Kelvinator, etc. yet!

A content mama a few days after giving birth.

Buster, the father, is smart enough to deny parentage after he got hit with child support payments the last time he knocked Nikki up, but we know better.

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Celebrate!

Since Lola’s kittens were born on Christmas Day, you would think we’d use a holiday theme to name the kittens. Well, we did, but leave it to us to be weird about it. We named them after everything except Christmas!

The kittens are running, climbing, and playing and have at last mastered the litter box. That is to say, litter boxes. They kept finding new places to leave little brown mounds. We’ve found that a good way to litter train is to put a small litter box where they leave a deposit  until they eventually get the idea. It’s challenging when they decide that “in front of the door” is a great place, but they figured it out eventually.

All of these kittens are reserved.

Festivus (boy)

Groundhog Day (boy)

Halloween (girl)

Mardi Gras (boy)

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What a turkey!

Some kittens, you know? Butterball was so good at posing for pictures that we couldn’t pick just one.

Sara’s boy is getting chunky and (after a few misses) has mastered the litter box. He had a habit of leaving his deposits right in front of the door, which made entering his room an adventure. Kind of like Indiana Jones, but with poop.

Butterball is climbing and loves sitting in the top perch of the cat tree. He also purred throughout his entire photo shoot. All in all, he’s just a pretty cool kitten.

This kitten is reserved.

I suppose you’re wondering why I called you here today.

This is my “Ready to pounce on my prey” look.

I am the most interesting kitten in the world.  Stay thirsty, my friends.

One last look back. Shall I pass this way again?

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Looks what Santa left under the tree!

Cuties!

Lola gave birth to her kittens starting at about 11:00PM on Christmas eve and finishing around 3:00AM on Christmas morning. She had five kittens, but the last was stillborn. The remaining four are doing great, eating well, and gaining weight nicely.

Although the first kitten was born a bit before midnight, technically the litter birth date is the day when most of the kittens were born, so these are our first ever Christmas kittens. (Don’t expect a Christmas naming theme, though, because that’s just way too obvious for us).

We had just gone to bed and I was watching the Kitten Cam in night-vision mode when I could see that Lola’s water had broken on the blanket. The interesting thing is that we couldn’t have seen that in normal light. Before we turned off the lights she wasn’t showing any signs of going into labor so we had set alarms every few hours to check on her. We probably would have missed the first couple of kittens. (Well, maybe not. They are very loud kittens).

That said, knowing that Lola was close to delivering allowed us to run interference and keep her from going under the bed. She kept waffling between the nest and the bed. Before the first kitten came out she did get by us once, but we managed to coax her out. She has been content to stay in the nest since then.

Lola is growling as mothers do if we disturb the kittens, so we’ll get more pictures after we can move her and them to the kitten room. We don’t want her to change her mind about the nest being a safe place for her kids.

(Side story: This summer we actually ordered a new bedroom set where the bed goes flush to the floor so “mama under the bed” would no longer be a concern. Unfortunately, the delivery date kept getting pushed out and by November we decided to cancel the order. Maybe we’ll have better luck post-pandemic.)

All of these kittens are reserved. 

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Starry’s kittens come out swinging…

The Swing State litter is doing great! They learned how to use the litter box with minimal fuss (yay!) and are eating solid food. Getting them interested in wet food was a bit of a struggle at first. Usually after a few days of putting their faces up to the food they get the idea, but only a couple of them were really going for it. (Nevada and Georgia. They weren’t shy about eating. Something about torbies, maybe?)

Eventually (based on their weight and the amount of poop they were producing) we figured out that they were also eating the dry food and coming back to the wet after their mom, Starry Night, had her share. They just didn’t want to eat when we were ready to watch them eat. Maybe they weren’t confident about their table manners.

They’re hitting all of the usual milestones: Climbing to the top of the scratching post, sleeping as a group in the cat tree, and playing with their toys, They are a curious and playful bunch, and if they aren’t sleeping they run to the door to greet us when we enter the room.

All of these kittens are reserved.

Nevada (girl)

Michigan (girl)

Wisconsin (girl)

Georgia (girl)

Pennsylvania (girl)

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Too Much Information

Butterball is getting plump! The magic of night vision.

Too much information running through my brain
Too much information driving me insane
– The Police

Butterball is growing quickly after some concerns that he wasn’t growing fast enough at first. He wasn’t interested in formula but he’s been gaining weight  steadily for more than a week, so no worries.

Part of our concern came from using the Kitten Cams in the nest and kitten room. We originally got them to keep an eye on Lily and her kittens as she moved them around the room. She would get up to greet us every time we walked in, so the camera was useful for checking that the kittens were safe and warm without interrupting their nursing. It has proven useful since then in checking in on mothers who are about to give birth.

After Butterball was born and  we watched the camera in Sara’s nest we (okay, I) became worried that she wasn’t spending enough time with her baby. It seemed that every other time I checked the cameras he would be alone and Sara would be just outside the nest or on the other side of the room. I wondered why she wasn’t with her kitten constantly except to eat and use the litter box.

In the end we realized that before the cameras we weren’t with the mothers 24/7 (we’d just check on them every hour or two or when we woke up at night), so we had nothing to which we could compare this experience. We had no idea exactly how much time other mothers were spending in or out of the nest relative to Sara. Also, with a singleton there just wasn’t as much nursing going on so she probably didn’t need to be there all the time. Other mothers with more babies were probably in the nest more because all of the kittens weren’t nursing at once, or the kittens were tag-teaming her teats.

So, all in all, we were probably worrying too much about nothing. Certainly, it’s better to be safe than sorry, but the next time we use the cameras I’ll try to be a little less obsessive.

This kitten is reserved.

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One for Queen Sara Saturday… “Nice placenta!”

About a minute after birth. After she gave birth. Not afterbirth. Ew.

Queen Sara Saturday gave birth to a single kitten yesterday afternoon. She was a few days late so we were a little worried and considering a caesarean section, but she did it all on her own!

The kitten is very active, squeaky, and is very good at nursing. We’re calling him or her Butterball since he was born the day before Thanksgiving. (For the purposes of this post I’ll call Butterball “him” but we may change that determination when things develop more fully.)

Sometimes Butterball wanders away  from Sara to a different part of the nest and starts squeaking  to find her. Rather than get him, Sara growls in response. Squeak. Growl. Squeak. Growl. It’s a game of Marco Polo until he gets close enough for her to put out a paw and pull him close.

We originally didn’t even know Sara was pregnant.  We put Sara and Max together on a date, and she was certainly interested, but Max seemed to be having geometry problems and couldn’t find the right angle. (Watching cats mate has to be the weirdest part of this whole thing). After a day without success we decided to try again the next time she was in heat. And maybe send Max back to sex education class in the interim.

Well, apparently they figured it out at least once because a month later we noticed Sara getting a bit of a belly. An X-ray last week confirmed it. One kitten!

I had to be in the office yesterday, but both Marie and I were keeping an eye on the Kitten Cam in the nest. Sara had decided to hang out there so we knew she might be close. Here is how it went down:

Real time commentary

I’ll have to put “Nice placenta!” in my book of Phrases I Never Thought I’d Say If You Asked Me Twenty Years Ago. In my defense, it was a really nice placenta, as placentas go.

We’ll get some better pictures when Sara will allows us (she growls when we handle the kitten to weigh him).  But in the meantime, here’s a cool night vision picture. Sara and Butterball are in the bedroom with us, and when they wake us up with a squeak or a growl it’s nice to be able to see what is going on without bothering them.

This kitten is reserved.

Night vision! Butterball is nursing, of course.

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Squeaky Kittens

Little sausages

A few days after her kittens we born, Starry Night decided to start moving her kittens onto our bed. Well, it’s better than under the bed. Most likely she wanted to be close to us but didn’t want to leave her babies behind.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the safest place for kittens, so we had to move Starry, her kittens, and the nest to the “kitten room” just off of the bedroom sooner than planned. Luckily, we anticipated that something like this might happen so we had the room sanitized and ready to go.  Do this for more than ten years and you learn a few things, I guess.

A few days later one of the kittens (the red and white boy) started to lose weight, and despite our best efforts (he  was insistent that he did not want formula) he passed away.

The remaining five kittens are getting plump! We think they are all girls. Twice a day we weigh them to keep track of their progress. They don’t like it and they make their displeasure known in no uncertain terms, with loud squeaking! Starry is curious about what we’re doing but doesn’t seem to mind us touching her kittens on occasion. It doesn’t hurt that we bring her wet food when we weigh the kittens, so she might be a little distracted.

All of these kittens are reserved.

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Timing is everything

Quickly, while Starry is distracted… pictures!

Starry Night gave birth to six beautiful kittens last night (and early morning). In the evening we started making dinner and when we checked on Starry it seemed like she was starting to go into labor. Dinner Abort! (Later we got to eat some carrot cake Marie made earlier in the day as part of our “dinner.” Oh, the sacrifices we make for our mamas!).

We hung out with her but it wasn’t several hours later that she started to push out kittens (almost every fifteen minutes, like clockwork). The only exception was a particularly eager kitten that popped out while we were weighing the previous one. Hey, there’s an extra kitten here…

Night vision view of contented mama.

Starry is a very attentive mother and is doing a great job of keeping the kittens close without letting them get under or behind her. She’s good that way. Also, with some mothers we have to trim some fur near the nipples to make them easier for the kittens to find. Starry actually groomed around her nipples in the days before she gave birth so they exposed. It’s actually quite the nippleriffic site when she shows you her belly.

A couple of the kittens are on the small side but they are eating almost constantly and made great gains over the first twelve hours, so we’re hopeful. They are all very energetic and move around a lot, even when nursing.

Buster, the father, on the advice of counsel had no comment due to the pending paternity lawsuit.

All of these kittens are reserved. 

Cuties

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They’ve got faith of the heart

Lily’s litter has been doing very well! Since our last post about them they quickly progressed from needing formula (because Lily wasn’t giving them all quite enough milk) to eating solid food. They’re growing fast, climbing over everything, and run to greet us when we come in the room.

Thankfully, they all adapted to the using the litter box very quickly.

We put velcro collars on the three red-silver boys because we had a hard time telling them apart. As they’ve gotten older we’ve figured out which markings differentiate them, but we’ll leaving he collars for now, just to be sure.

Around when they were born we had just finished up a Star Trek: Enterprise rewatch. Since there are seven main characters and there are seven kittens in this litter, it worked out perfectly.

All of these kittens are reserved.

Jonathan Archer (boy)

T’Pol (girl)

Trip Tucker (boy)

Malcolm Reed (boy)

Travis Mayweather (boy)

Hoshi Sato (girl)

Phlox (boy)

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