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Friday, August 19, 2011

Delcy's Kittens

Finally!  I've been waiting on these four kittens for almost 2 weeks.  Delcy is a small, thin cat to begin with.  Add 4 kittens that are at least a week overdue, and Grandma Barb gets a little worried.  An x-ray two weeks ago showed the 4 babies, with one's head aimed for the birth canal, so we all thought it was time.  And we were all wrong.  Delcy kept getting bigger and bigger.  I joked about her waiting until my favorite quilt group, that meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, has their next meeting.  When Jan has it, we have an all-day sewing day and fabulous lunch at her house. it's our best meeting of the year. As the days got closer, I didn't joke about it anymore - I KNEW.  I knew SHE knew about the meeting.  Minnie pulled this same thing on me 4 months ago and went into labor 30 minutes before Ree came to pick me up.  I missed that meeting.  Deep down, I knew I'd miss this one, too.

Delcy and kittens, 8-16-11
Monday, I had taken her back to the vet for another xray.  This time to make sure her babies weren't too large for delivery.  I normally have my rose-colored glasses on and think everything will work out just fine, but I was worried.  Their heads were 1mm smaller than the birth canal and pelvic opening.  If they weren't born by Tuesday afternoon, I had to bring her in for a C-section.

I didn't even bother to pack my machine, notions, and project up Monday night, even though Delcy showed no sign of beginning labor other than just laying in her birthing box.  About midnight, she started nesting and rearranging the towels in the box.  She couldn't get comfortable and was sticking her butt up in the air a lot.  So I didn't take my Ambien, but got a couple clean cat beds off the shelf for a seat cushion, and my Kindle, and sat on the floor next to her.  I read and petted and talked to her and told her if she got this show on the road soon, I could still be ready by 8am for Ree to pick me up.  She was too busy licking her butt to hear me.  Contractions started about 3am.  You can see the muscles ripple all the way down her body, like a wave coming in on the beach.  The first baby was born at 4:08, and the last one at 8am.  Four kittens in four hours is really quick.  I guess she heard me after all and felt she did her part by being done at 8:00.  I had told Ree not to pick me up unless I called her.  So, after changing the bedding and making sure everyone was eating, including mama, I went to bed for a few hours.

The babies were slightly larger than normal.  Babies usually weigh between 3.5 and 4 ounces, with most around 3.85.  These guys were all 4.1 to 4.4 oz.  That may not sound like a big difference, but you have to remember we're talking about something the size of a large mouse. This picture was taken Tuesday afternoon and they'd already gain an entire ounce in that time - that's an additional 1/4 of their body weight 12 hours earlier.  The first week, you can almost watch them grow before your eyes, because they double their birth weight.  Then, in the next 3 weeks, they'll double that weight to about 16 oz or so, or one pound.  I have no doubt these guys will be over a pound by 4 weeks.

I didn't notice this until Tuesday afternoon when Barb, Delcy's rescuer and a previous adopter from me, came to see the babies, that they're nursing in birth order (I keep track of all that stuff) starting at the bottom of the picture, or closest to the birthing location.  First born was a black tuxedo (black with a white muzzle, white chest, and four white feet), next was a solid black, next was a black and tan tortie (speckled), and last was a gray tuxedo.  Once when I saw them nursing, two of the kittens were reversed, but all the other times, they have nursed in birth order.  I'll have to research this a little, but I have a feeling it's not unusual.


  1. Way to go, Delcy! Over 4 ounces sounds pretty big, actually, when you consider how small she is. Maybe like having a 10+ pound baby for a human. :-P

    Good job! What darlings! Precious, precious ones...We'll purr that they thrive and eventually find wonderful, doting forever homes..

  2. Awwww, so adorably precious! What a good mama Delcy is, and what a GREAT kitty midwife you are! Delcy looks so happy to have her babies out and with her now. Congrats and paws crossed for great homes for all of them!

  3. Thanks, ladies. Delcy wasn't the only one relieved to have the babies. Yes, it would be like having a 10 lb. baby. Fortunately, Laura was less than 7 pounds. The babies are all gaining weight and doing great.

  4. If you put all 4 babies together it looks like they are 1/2 of Delcy!!!! Glad to see they weren't all 4 black too!!!!

  5. Barb - does Delcy have an angular face? It's hard to tell from the pic but does she have some siamese possibly?