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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

OMG - I felt the kittens move!!!!

Delilia has been out from under the couch for some love & attention. As she was lying on her side, I felt the kittens move several times. It was amazing - such an incredible reminder of what it was like for me when I was pregnant.

I'm astonished at the depth of my response to her and her pregnancy. I remember the anticipation of waiting for my daughters' arrivals - and I feel the same way now. I can't wait to meet her wonderful babies. Based on how loving she is with us, I can only imagine the kind of wonderful mother she will make.

A few more photos




I'm getting the impression that Delilia is pretty young. I've been trailing a string near her, and she gets quite playful. Plus, when you look at her face, she still have that kitten leanness.

Hanging with Delilia

Today is the first full day I've spent with Delilia (not that it's over yet). I've been in the room with her since about 9:30 a.m. and she's already sitting on one of our couches.




She certainly seemed hesitant at first, hiding under the couch. I brought her some wet cat food. After a while I reached under the couch and petted her, which got her to come out from the couch. Since then, she's alternated between eating and snuggling with me. Now she's trying to figure out what the TV is all about (either that or she really likes "The People's Court").




She is so sweet. I can already feel myself falling in love with her gentle, loving nature. And I think she's getting close to pop - here you can see her bulging belly.

Delilia's first photo!
Here is our new edition. This picture was taken under the couch, where she is currently hanging out.
Our other cats are getting curious, particularly Merlynn. She sits at the door to our family room (where Delilia is currently residing) and meows fretfully. I'm not sure if she wants my attention, or if she wants to meet her new housemate.
I'm hoping I can coax her out with some wet cat food. Once she gets comfortable I know she's going to love the attention I plan to give her.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Delilia settles in.

Well, the whole family has now met Delilia. She spent much of this afternoon under the couch, but is slowly starting to venture out. She's eaten a couple of times already. She's such a funny, loving thing; she puts her whole body into getting pet, letting out a deep throated purr. Once in a while, she gives me these tiny love nips - not hard, more like she's agressively saying "Ooo, I like that!"

Now we get to settle in to wait for the babies. I'll have a picture of her up tomorrow.

What have I gotten myself into??


Ever since our cat Tux passed away, I've been thinking about becoming a foster mama to a pregnant cat. That way, my two daughters would have the chance of seeing newborn kittens without the guilt and hassle of having a cat of our own get pregnant. Well, after much thought, I headed off to the Humane Society to finally get the process rolling. The cat foster coordinator, Ashley, was lovely. After completing some paperwork, she innocently asked, "So, are you up for taking a pregnant kitty home today?"

WHATT???!!!

Of course, the moment I laid eyes on Delilia, I was sunk. She is a beautiful white and orange medium hair cat with a HUGE belly. She's loving and friendly, snuggling up to my hand immediately. So, after about 20 minutes of getting stuff together, I popped her cat carrier into the car and off home I went. Delilia was not thrilled about the ride, expressing her concern with several different vocalizations. I was beginning to wonder if she was going to have the kittens right then and there - in the car while I was driving! But no, we got home without any kittens arriving. She is now ensconced in our family room with food, water, a litter tray, and numerous places to hide out until she feels more comfortable with her new home.

Of course, there is no telling how our current cats are going to react to the new smell and sound of another cat...

Stay tuned.