Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quick update

We stopped by the cat shelter on Saturday and got a brief visit with Dee as she was being brought out to one of the cat "condos". She looked healthy and although she was hesitant about her new surroundings, I think having us there made it feel slightly easier on her. She happily snuggled with me for a few minutes, which helped me a great deal.

The kittens were still recovering from their surgeries, so we were unable to see them. However, when I went on the website this morning, I saw that both Raiden and Catwings have already been adopted. There were no postings for Dee or Kara, so I don't know if they have also gone to their forever homes. I have an email in to the Cat Foster care coordinator - I'm sure she thinks I'm nuts or high maintenance (LOL). But somehow knowing the cats I loved for two months are settled would help ease the ache of missing them.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gone to find forever homes

We dropped off the kittens last Friday. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye, but I was relieved to get a call from the Cat Foster Care Coordinator who reported that they are all doing great, and will be fixed today or tomorrow. She commented on how much they eat! I had to laugh - they were kinda eating us out of house and home.

Catwings trying a box NOM!


'Cat'-aloguing the books for us


We ARE the cutest!



















Monday, June 22, 2009

Nearly time to let go

Wow, the last two weeks have been amazing with the kittens. They have grown so much! They're all over 2 pounds each now, and they all seem to be incredibly healthy. It is common to visit them and discover they are using the family room as an obstacle course. They are into EVERYTHING! And beware if you are a cat toy - you will see much abuse. Their favorite game is to chase the leather strips tied onto a long stick. They will chase and leap after it (competing with Dee, who must have been a wicked mouser) until they are ready to drop.

Catwings is definately the rabble-rouser. It is rare to find him on the side lines of the kitten wars. More often, you can find him putting the beat-down on his brother and sister, or sometimes on Mama (although she can still pin him for a good wash). He and his sibs LOVE socks, or more accurately, love to chew feet encased in socks. 'Ware those who wear foot coverings, for they are the enemy! It is not uncommon for me to come into the family room in the morning to fill the cat bowl, and get both feet attacked by Catwings and Raiden while trying to get the food to the dish.

Raiden has cute down to a T. He is so soft and fluffy, he should be a celebrity. He has this slightly quizzical, worried expression when you stare at him. He and Catwings are nearly inseparable. I am hoping that they will be adopted together.

Kara is the quietest of the group, but she can be just as ferocious as her brothers when given the chance. She can often be found sitting on the sidelines, plotting how to take down both the boys at once. If you watch her, she will wait for the most opportune moment, then jump in and tackle both of them as they fight each other.

Dee has become an incredibly loving cat. She is always the first to greet me and insist on a cuddle. When we first got her, she was happy to be picked up and held, but she didn't initiate cuddle time; now, even when kittens are in my lap she will climb on and insist on her love too. I will miss her so much when she is gone to her forever home, but I am confident that someone will fall in love with her very quickly.

They go back to the shelter on Friday. We will miss them so much.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rascals and rapscalions

The kittens continue to thrive and grow. They are spending much more time playing than sleeping now. Catwings has discovered the cat food, and seems to enjoy chowing down. I haven't yet seen the other two show any interest, but I'm certain it will happen soon. Kara has figured out the basic mechanics of the litter box. It's quite entertaining to see her avidly scratching next to the box. The next step will be actually climbing in and doing her business.

Raiden seems to be becoming a shoulder cat. It is not unusual for him to climb up whoever is holding him and flop down on their shoulder to survey his domain. Unfortunately, he tends to head around the back if you lean forward, so getting him off can be a challenge.

More pics later today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First official vet visit

I took Delilia and the kittens to vet services today for their first vaccinations and general check-up. They did NOT like the car ride one bit. It was hot (nearly 90 degrees) and even with the air conditioning blasting, the poor things were pretty overheated.

Once we got there, they got weighed, vaccinated, and microchipped. Now the little ones are all crashed out in the family room. I hope they are back to being playful in the morning.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kittens at play

video

Here's a chance to see how big and playful our fluffballs are getting.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The fast and the furious

The kittens are getting faster and more coordinated. It's not unusual to enter the family room and have all three of them scamper out from under the couch. If you don't immediately sit or line down, they'll congregate around your feet and mew until you give them attention. They're climbing the couch now as well, and play-fighting with each other more ferociously. Their teeth are these little razor sharp spikes - when they bite now IT HURTS. Of course, they get a dose of their own medicine when Dee gets fed up and holds one down and bites them. It looks quite disturbing, but she will bite, then lick, then bite, then lick. She's teaching them who is boss, while still showing them she loves them. It's funny to watch.

The other evening Dee was eating out of her bowl. A moment after she finished, Catwings toddles up to the bowl and starts eating like a big boy. He ate three crunchies before deciding it was too much work. I've tried introducing them to wet cat food, but Dee tends to chow down before the kittens get much. Maybe I need to lock her in the bathroom to give them a fighting chance...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kittens getting playful

The kittens have finally hit the playful stage. Although they are quite tentative about it, they are beginning to bite and jump on each other. It's quite funny watching Raiden stalking the tail of one of his siblings. They are also scampering faster and further than before. It's not unusual to enter the room to find them under the couch, by the door, or across the room from their nest. They also love to climb onto people who are willing to lie down on the floor.


It's particularly funny when one of the kittens disappears under the couch. Dee gets quite concerned, chirping at the invisible kitten until it re-emerges.

The kittens continue to be cuddly and love sleeping in a heap, whether it's on the ground or in someone's arms.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It's been a while since I updated the blog. The kittens are growing rapidly now. Their ears are open and they are starting to orient towards sounds. They are toddling around, particularly when they see someone come into the room and sit down. It's particularly cute to see them scamper over and start to climb up the person sitting closest to them.

video

They are also much more aggressive while nursing. I will often look over and see the kittens scrabbling at each other to get to their favorite teat. Dee seems quite tolerant, but she will just stand up and walk away if she's fed up.




They have become incredibly cuddly. One of their favorite activities is to be held in someone's arms on their back. They fall asleep and then they hit REM sleep. As they dream about nursing, their little tongues start going, and you can often see them sleeping with their tongue sticking out.



I'm seeing lots more play activity as well. It's not surprising to see them climbing on and biting each other. Dee seems to be much rougher with them as well. She will hold them down to wash them, and gently bite them, then wash them again. She is also getting more playful with us when they are sleeping; throwing up the toy mouse and chasing after it, or batting at shoelaces as we walk past. It's going to be so much fun seeing the kittens attack her on mass when they're a bit older!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back on track

Raiden is gaining weight again! Hooray.

More pics:

The three amigos on a rampage.

Catwings and my daughter.

Kittens in da hood
More kittens in da hood
There is nothing quite as wonderful as the sound of purring kittens nursing. It's such a joy to watch Dee's three little pudges taking full body pleasure in their meal.

No more sick kittens, please!

OK, now I am officially worried. Raiden has had diarrhea for 24 hours now, and he didn't gain weight yesterday. This morning he is down from 11.7 oz. to 11.6 oz. Not a good sign. I've given him some Pedialyte and formula in hopes it will keep him from dehydration. Plus, I have placed all three kittens in a box because I found them all nursing *behind the toilet*. Not a great place for kittens to snuggle up. I'm hoping that Dee's not the one moving them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Exploration begins

video

Kara posing for the camera
"But I so pweddy!"




Coming to get you

Raaaarrrr!





We three sleepies





The disembodied meow

This morning my husband asked me if I had seen our cat, Merlynn. He said he could hear her meowing, but he hadn't seen her. I wondered if perhaps it was Dee expressing her displeasure at being in a smaller space. I went and checked on her and the kittens, but it was clear it was not her meowing.

We started hunting around for Merlynn. We opened the front and back doors and called to her. We opened the garage door. No Merlynn. I went upstairs and opened one of the bathroom windows (her favorite escape route). No Merlynn. I checked the linen closet. Nope. So finally, I went back downstairs and heard another meow. Ah ha! Cupboards. We started opening all the cupboard doors when suddenly, my daughter heard a sharp meow. She turned around and opened the FRIDGE door. Out popped Merlynn! She had jumped into the fridge earlier when my older daughter had gotten ready for school. Needless to say, she was pleased to be out and cuddled. The particularly humorous thing about this is that she did EXACTLY the same thing as a kitten - and was stuck in there for nearly an hour. Thank goodness for fur coats.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We are slowly adjusting to having only three kittens. They continue to grow - they're all so fat! They're like little tubs of fat with stubby legs attached.

The whole family has temporarily been moved to our main bathroom, as the grandparents are coming to visit for a few days. Dee was a bit perplexed at first, but the move has prompted her to spend more time sleeping & snuggling with her little ones.

All three kittens are hitting some "milestones" early based on what I have read online. They can all pull up on their little legs for brief moments. They all purr (it's such a wonderful sound) and they are getting more interested in their surroundings and each other. I'm not certain if Catwings is trying to groom himself or whether he is sucking his "thumb", but there is certainly some grooming like behavior going on.

The only concern I have is that when I went into the bathroom this evening to weigh them, Raiden's back end was wet and smelly. Dee was industriously washing him off, but it looked as though he had a bit of diarrhea. The other two were fine, so I will wait and see. Given that the kittens are doing other things ahead of schedule, I suppose Raiden's elimination function may be getting more mature and he doesn't need to be washed to go to the bathroom. This is all such a learning process for me.

So, as of this evening Catwings weighs 12.2 oz, Raiden weighs 11.7 oz. and Kara weighs 13.3 oz.

Pics tomorrow. I promise

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

R.I.P Little One


After getting Tag home this afternoon, she took a turn for the worse. She did not take much formula in the afternoon, and by mid-evening she was struggling to breath. I tried feeding her at 9 p.m., but she barely took a drop. I put her in with her litter mates, hoping that being around them would be comforting to her. When I woke to feed her at 11:30 p.m., she was gone. She slipped away quietly.

It is painful to lose her, but I take comfort in the knowledge that for the 16 days she lived, she was cherished. Her presence had meaning, and she will live on in my heart and thoughts.

Tag update

After an anxiety-filled night where I woke up every two hours to feed our little concern, I got up this morning to discover that she had lost more weight. I was feeling rather hopeless and useless. I took her in to Vet Services before my class started, and dropped her off with Ashley, fearing the worst.

When I returned at 1:15 this afternoon, Ashley greeted me with the news that she thinks that Tag is going to be OK, and that I am doing *everything* I should and could be. Tag began purring the minute I picked her up, and she also had a bowel movement while I was getting her ready to leave. This alleviated my fear that there might be something wrong with her intestinal tract.

So we are now cautiously optimistic - she will eat when I use an eye dropper, and there is nothing obviously wrong with her. She for whatever reason has a different growth curve than her sibs (who look like HUGE bruisers next to her).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Concerning turn of events

All the kittens seem to be growing nicely, except Tag. Her growth curve has never been as healthy as the other kittens, and she seems to have lost about 1/2 an oz in the past 36 hours. I tried feeding her with the kitten baby bottle with no success. So today I went and bought an eye dropper. I have been able to get her to drink about 1 tsp of kitten formula, and I made sure she pooped afterwards. Dee seems willing to nurse her, but since Tag is smaller than her sibs, I am afraid she's getting pushed out of the way. I have also found her on the side of the kitten pile a few times, so I'm concerned she might not be warm enough. And of course, reading websites about "fading kitten syndrome" doesn't help.

So right now I have her tucked into the front of my shirt, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. She is sleeping, and she was purring when I stroked her head before. I know that I'm doing everything I can...I just wish there was a guarantee that it would all work out.

I have more pics to post but I may take a while to get to it, especially if Tag is going to need feeding every two hours.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lots of updates

All the kittens are getting much bigger. Kara and Catwings have both doubled their birthweights, and Raiden and Tag are nearly there. Yesterday I took Catwings and Tag to Vet Services to get Catwings eye and Tag's belly button checked. I was told that Tag's belly button would be fine. The vet opened Catwings' eyes and gave me some drops to put in them three times a day. This morning, Raiden's eyes are starting to open.

Each of the kittens is showing more personality every day. Kara (the one in the front of the picture) is definately the heavy-weight of the group. She can usually be found pushing her way into the center of the pile, or pushing her sibs out of the way of the food she wants.

Tag seems to be fairly adventurous. The other day, Dee stepped out of the cat carrier and flopped down beside it on the floor, clearly tired of being nursed on. Within 60 seconds, Tag had crawled out of the cat carrier and was latched on nursing again.



Raiden is sweet. He seems very happy to hang out with his sibs and just snooze. Finally, Catwings is small but feisty - he often manages to fend off Kara's attempts at stealing the nipple he's nursing on.

Delilia is such a beauty. She seems to be showing more of her kittenish nature now that she has more energy. She often chases a string or her fur mouse when she is not nursing. She also continues to be very affectionate. It is rare for her not to come and greet me when I enter the family room.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Back from quick trip

I have been away since Friday morning and boy, have the kittens grown! All of them still have their eyes closed, but Catwings seems to have a bit of an infection; his eye seems to be gummed up. I'm hoping that it will fix itself quickly, but if not, I will take him and Tag (who has a bump under her belly-button) in to see Vet services. I'm reluctant to expose them to any illnesses, but I also want to make sure they are well cared for.

Well, I'm off to bed. I will post more pics tomorrow after I have actually slept for more than 4.5 hours.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delilia moved her kittens

Well, I'm not sure what happened in the last 12 hours, but sometime this morning, Dee decided to move the kittens from under our couch to one of the cubby holes in our coffee table. The problem was that (1) there was a small space between the back of the cubby and the wall, so the kittens kept falling behind the table where Dee couldn't reach them and (2) there was no padding for the kittens to sleep on. When I got home, two of the kittens had fallen out of the front of the cubby and were crying, but Dee was still nursing the other two and didn't seem too concerned. I was though, so I made a nest inside the cat carrier and transfered the kittens into the carrier. So far Dee seems OK with this arrangement, but I am concerned that we may have stressed her out by spending so much time with her and the little ones.

So, with some reluctance we are backing off and giving her some space to take care of her kittens without interference.

I will have more pics up later today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Daily update

Dee continues to be a great mother. I find myself reflecting on sound parenting practices while watching her. She is responsive to the kittens if they cry, but she also takes care of her needs. She sometimes gets up and leaves her nest after a good nursing even if the kittens have not stopped suckling. If they are asleep, she will leave them to sleep while she goes off and has a rest elsewhere. It reminds me that as humans we tend to over-analyse our parental role - and so many of us start the hovering right away and never stop. Dee reminds me that sometimes it's better to let our children experience frustration and time to themselves to grow and learn.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Video update

video



Watching a family emerge

Back to the quiet of the weekdays. I'm sitting up in the family room with Delilia and the kittens, just marveling at the wonder of new life. All the kittens have gained weight their first 24 hours. I'm still a little concerned about Catwings, as s/he is still smaller than the littermates, but every time I check, s/he is nursing as vigorously as the others.

I've been a little surprised at how often Delilia leaves her brood to get some love for herself. It does seem like the kittens are asleep when she leaves, but I guess I expected more protectiveness than I am seeing. Don't get me wrong - I love that she is so willing to have us cuddle her and hold her kittens. She seems to particularly enjoy curling in her next while resting her head on my palm. But it also gives me the even stronger suspicion that she once had humans who loved her. What happened? Did they abandon her when they discovered she was pregnant? Did they move? Regardless of what happened in De's past, I can see that she will charm someone quickly once she is finished with her mothering duties.

The kittens are moving around a bit. This morning after De left her nest, Tag crawled towards me and found my hand. Kara seems to be quite the sleeper, and Raiden and Catwings can often be seen rooting around for the nipple. There already seems to be some preference for who each kitten cuddles with. Kara and Tag are usually side by side, as are Catwings and Raiden. I often chuckle at the pile of them sleeping on top of each other. Usually one of the kittens on the outside will rear up and burrow into the middle if s/he seems to be getting cold.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More pictures


Delilia being the perfect mama to her brood.


Catwings with his?her? shoulder spots.


The other orange and white one. I've named him (I think) Raiden, after the Japanese thunder god.


This is the little tuxedo kitten. S/he has an orangish spot on his/her back, so my hubby decided to give this one the name Tag.

And finally, this is the calico. She has a lovely star on her face, and my daughter Kya has named her Kara - meaning 'beloved'.

A couple more kitten shots taken while De was off getting some well deserved munchies.







Settling in with the new editions

Delilia has taken to motherhood extremely well. She purrs and washes them while they nurse. But she is also still very affectionate with me. Both times I have come into the room she has taken a few moments to get up from her nest and get petted. I'm also thrilled that she seems to be fine with me holding her kittens for short periods of time. I guess we really have been accepted as her family.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Four beautiful kittens

Well, it is now 8 p.m. and we have four beautiful kittens - two orange and white, one dark fur with a white front, and one calico. The smallest one (the first born) already has a name: Catwings. S/he has two orange spots on her back, just like little angel wings. The other three are still waiting to be named.

I just finished weighing all of them, and here are their birth weights, in birth order:
Catwings 2.6 oz
Black & white 3.4 oz.
Orange & white #2 3.6 oz
Calico 4.0 oz

Here's the proud mama with her litter. The one in front is Catwings; you can see one of her "wings" on her shoulder.


video
Here's a short video that my daughter made after all the kittens arrived.

They're ARRIVING!!!



I headed up to the family room around 1:30, and was treated to Delilia washing my hand vigorously. Since this was the first time she had ever done that, I wondered if she might be in labor. I went back downstairs and had some lunch.



I came into the family room around 2:30, and heard a high pitched mewing. When I looked under the couch, there was a beautiful newborn kitten! It looks like it will be quite similar looking to its Mama - white and orange. Within moments, she was giving birth to a very dark kitten. It seems quite strong, pulling itself up to nurse within a few moments of Delilia washing it off.


She seems to be taking a bit of a rest now, but I think there is at least one more coming. What a champion mama she is!






Saturday update

Still no kittens, although Delilia seems quite tired. She has gathered up around her some of the blanket I laid under the green couch. She also seems to be holding her tail against her genital area a bit, so not sure what's up.

I have been following the live webcam of the Hornby Island eagle pair who have two eggs in their nest (www.hancockwildlife.org), and supposidly the eggs are due to hatch within the next 48 hours. I was chuckling about having kittens and eaglets at the same time. Spring has certainly arrived at last.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hmmm...

******Stop Reading if you are easily grossed out***********

I think that Delilia has lost her mucus plug, which means she's within a couple of days of delivery. She has been very flaked out. I haven't seen any anxious nesting behaviour yet, but...

Geez, waiting is so hard!

Delilia's background

According to the cat foster coordinator, Delilia is probably about 2.5 years old, despite her petite size. She came to the Seattle Humane Society as a transfer from Yakima, WA, where she was found as a pregnant stray. I'm pretty sure that she had humans at one time, although her tendency to run under the couch any time someone opens the door tells me that she spent more than a little while fending for herself.

OK, if you don't like soapbox schpeils, stop reading now.

I've spent a great deal of time over the past few days thinking about the responsibility of being owned by a cat. I see it as a long-term commitment and it makes me sad to think that some people don't feel that way. I get frustrated when I hear people say, "we have to get rid of the cat now that we have a baby on the way" or "well, I'm just tired of my furniture being ruined, so the cat has to go" or "my boyfriend/girlfriend doesn't like cats, so I gave the cat away."

WHHHHAAAAAATTTTTT?!?!?!

When I take on a cat, it is for their natural life, barring some horrible circumstances, like a sudden serious allergy of a household member, or moving to another country. It was MY choice to invite this being into my home, so it is my responsibility to consider the needs of and accomodate my cat. I want everyone who choses to include a cat in their life feel the same way.

It's therefore kind of difficult for me to have Delilia in my home knowing that she is probably not going to stay with us. I already love her, and I want to make sure that her forever home is forever. I guess that's a part of why I am writing this blog - I want possible adoption families to know how special she is. Somehow its easier to (in my head) let the kittens go. People want kittens, and I have every confidence that the kittens I help Dee raise will be lovely, loving, and well socialized. But Dee deserves a wonderful forever home. Both girls already have said they would love to keep her. I just don't know how our two kitties would react to another adult cat. I guess only time will tell.

Ok, off my soap box. Back to cute pics of Dee...

No kittens yet...the wait continues

Delilia continues to get bigger and bigger. I would guess that there are at least three kittens in there, based on the lumps I can feel in her abdomen. Of couse, having never had this much contact with a pregnant cat before, I may be totally wrong.

It's ironic how impatient I am for De to "get on with it" and give birth. I feel kind of like a little kid waiting for Christmas.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cuddles with Delilia

Delilia is getting more cuddly each day. Despite the fact that her belly is obviously big and uncomfortable, she likes sitting on my lap and getting her chin stroked. It's nice to know that even though she has only been with us for a couple of days, she is already relaxed enough to come out to get petted and to wander around to get famililar with her new home.