Friday, May 11, 2012

Alex Has Kittens!!!

There she is! The proud Mama and her four baby kittens.

Alex had kittens on Thursday afternoon. She gave us no special warning of the imminent event. We knew she had been hanging around with some of the local cats. We also noticed that she had gained some weight.

But then, suddenly, there she was, in the flower box, with two kittens. The girls were so excited. Eileen wasn't here, and I am quite allergic to cats (as I explained in a previous post). So we waited and watched, and then she began to give birth again. That was quite an amazing thing. I had of course seen five live human births (yes, I have "seen" them jokes please, ladies). But I had never seen any (other) animal give birth except on nature videos and on the All Creatures Great and Small BBC series.

Alex was a real trooper, doing it all by herself. No "mid-cat" to help. She just pushed that little guy out, licked him up a bit, and he immediately joined the scramble for the milk. Then she had another kitten about an hour later. By then, we had turned a box into a nice little cat birthing room. Alex was pretty exhausted by then, while the kittens continued to have at the milk.

By the next morning, however, Alex seemed like her old spritely self again, and was even willing to leave the box and run around a bit. The kittens got some direct attention from my girls, and many photographs:

I am told there are two males and two females, although I have not personally verified that assessment. All I can do is peek at them from a distance. But the girls got to pick them up and cuddle them (Josefina was strictly instructed not to squeeze them).

John Paul has been very interested too, but not with all the thrill and flutter of the girls. He is actually capable of spending some of his waking moments away from the kittens. It has been interesting for all of us, and for the girls it is wonderful and surprising adventure.

I am told that we are going to keep one of the kittens, and give the other three away. Somehow this whole thing since last summer has gone from "our neighbor getting a cat," to "us getting a cat with our neighbor" (to help deal with the mouse population), to "us getting a cat, that would live completely outdoors," to "Alex the kitten," to a "cat apartment being set up in the second bathroom, for cold nights," to, PRESTO, five cats. Needless to say, I never use the second bathroom anymore.

But we don't intend to get into the breeding business, which means that Alex (and whatever kitten we keep) will have to make an appointment with "Mr. Herriot" soon, to have their business taken care of.

Meanwhile this has been great for the children. They've always loved animals, and I'm glad that my allergies are not preventing them from having a hands on experience with them.

And I must say, we haven't been bothered by any mice this year.