Saturday, 22 February 2020
Mirre was allowed to get back into heat, so that she could go to the stud. Just looked at what would be handy and decided to stop late June with giving her the pill. From that moment on it was simply waiting to see what she would do. Mirre drew her own plan and she took her time. Perhaps you remember she held me in suspense for some time last year. Then it took 14 weeks before the hormones struck. Meanwhile, this year the waiting time increased to 10 weeks and she still didn't show any signs of hormonal events.
Among all interventions by Mirre, Djavi also shared in the care for Phèdre. However .... He tried to mate with her. For Phèdre this was no problem. Once he had hold of her, she would lift her bottum and put her tail sideways. She was ready. Djavi stepped over her and did have some attempts, but he did not mate her. He was very busy with trying, but without success. Unlike previous occasions, Robbyn didn't interfere in the situation. Indeed, he would have none of it. Every time a cat came close in his neighborhood, he wailed and blew. If Phèdre roared in his neighborhood, he even growled. And if there was no response, he left in a hurry to find a quiet spot.
With the beautiful weather and the fact that I had some time off from work the window was open all day so the cats could go in or out of the garden at will. Phèdre loves it out there and we were very grateful for that now. If the neighbors appreciated it, I don't know. Luckily, no one complained at the door.
For Phèdre we had already made plans. She would be mated by Acke when they were old enough. But 11 months I found too early really. First I wanted to see how things would develop. In 3 weeks it happened again. She roared merrily. Along with the rest of the household, I was slightly disturbed by all the noise. Was her mother so kind as to sleep mainly during the night, dear daughter screamed 24 hours a day. This time, the hormones of Mirre awoke, although ....
Mirre was not in heat. But she was showing a phantom pregnancy. Her mammary glands had swollen up enormously. Her size was strongly increased with a number of centimeters. Now what? After several phone calls to find good advice, I just had to wait. It would automatically be alright again. It would just be a while before she would be back into heat. Ah well, I had waited three months, there could still be a few more weeks.
Luckily it only took one week for the swelling to go down, and gradually Mirre was herself again. For a while everything seemed back to normal and we could just enjoy life, until .... Phèdre was into heat again. With the volume up she announced to everyone (even to anyone who didn't want to hear) that she was looking for a guy. Sweet, cute or nice was not important. Anything would do, as long as it was a guy. That left Djavi and (this time also) Robbyn to do the job. They took turns, climbing on Phèdre, but without success, so that Phèdre kept roaring.
As one of the boys climbed her, they would stamp their hind feet. You heard their nails tapping on the floor. When I heard that sound again, I went to see who it was. I saw the back of Robbyn who was working diligently and didn't want any spectators. After having asked him to be a little bit careful with the little girl, I left them alone and bumped in to .... Phèdre. If Phèdre was here, with who was Robbyn so busy then? You guessed it, that would to be Mirre.
Without me noticing it, Mirre had gotten in heat. .... At least that was the only conclusion I could draw. Mirre didn't roar as usual, ate normal and wasn't restless. Besides some little groans every now and again I hadn't noticed anything. Robbyn clearly thought otherwise and even Djavi began to be interested by Mirre. So it had to be really true.
I prepared myself to roaring duets, and called the stud. He couldn't reach the phone, so Henk and Wiljo van der Heijden answered . After some nice chattering we agreed that I would bring Mirre after a few days.
As Mirre is not fond of driving and has a button somewhere so she can stop her hormones, I would deliver her on the fourth day to the stud. Time passed, the roaring concerts continued to be absent and I was still amazed. Mirre really didn't express any behavior of being in heat. Yet we went to the stud on the fourth day and we were very welcome.
Mirre found it all very exciting. That she was just put in a foreign environment alongside a strange stud was not to her liking. She grunted and blew and tried to see how she could get away, but she couldn't get out. I went home with a knot in my stomach. The next day I got the message and Mirre and Ice Boy had already gotten acquainted, and they even had been rolling around. That was very good news, but somehow I still couldn't believe it. Was she really in heat? Was I really to expect her kittens?
Mirre was mated and back home within one week. Now we just had to wait and see if she was pregnant. After a few weeks, the nipples were larger, more visible and more pink. There was nothing doubtful about that: Mirre was really pregnant again!! Still with some disbelief I pronounced to the world that there were kittens expected this year.
The weeks that followed were partly filled with preparatory activities. I looked up the nursery box, cleaned it and prepared it. I sew some extra cover sheets, so that I wouldn't have to run the washing machine every day. A second nursery box was made and decorated. Loads of meat, kibble and kitten milk were ordered and bought. Each empty place was filled with bags with kibble.
Meanwhile Mirre got thicker and rounder. With 6 weeks pregnant she had a large stomach, which only increased in size with time. After some time the kittens looked like they were below her armpits. Besides the fact that I could feel them, the kittens were clearly visible with their movements. Mirre's belly sometimes led a life of its own. It seemed she had an alien inside. Luckily I knew better. She had a lot of little rascals housed in her belly. It was just a matter of time before they would come out.
From the 62nd day, Mirre spent the night with me upstairs. The rest of the gang remained below. That was something all cats really had to get used to. Obviously any cat that was downstairs wanted to come up and vice versa. Upstairs both nursery boxes were ready. In one of them was a heating plate to be set at 27 or 37 degrees. I also have a heater, but it is relatively small for the space. With that plate I could keep the kittens on temperature. Mirre was also terrible cold after giving birth for a few days last year. Every time I came to a install a new hot water bottle, she climbed practically in it. And that while the heating downstairs leaves nothing to be desired. I hoped that for this year that problem would be resolved.
On the night of the 64th to the 65th day I was awakened by loud purring of Mirre. I thought (and hoped) that the contractions had began, but that was not the case. I could do nothing else than turn over and wait.
On the afternoon of the 67th day, Mirre was restless and tedious. Especially with her daughter. Phèdre was on the nomination to become an anti-conception pill the next day. There may have been a bit of hormonal disturbance for Mirre. Labor was not apparent and we went to bed at night again.
That night I woke up because I thought I felt something wet on my arm. Put a light on, focused my eyes , dug up Mirre from under the blankets, looked carefully ..... Oh yes, on her bottom was a wet spot. Then I laid out everything. Mirre didn't agree that she couldn't remain under the blankets, but I didn't care. Soon she couldn't either, because the contractions were becoming stronger. And with a few strong contractions the first kitten was born. Mirre ate the placenta and left the rest to me. So I wiped the kitten dry, weighed it and fitted it with an identification bracelet.
In three hours time, she had six kittens. I thought that after the sixth kitten the contractions started again, but they didn't. Mirre washed herself, sought her children together and closed her eyes. Then I got up and put all the dirty laundry in the machine. Then I placed a phone call to my vet. He came after a few hours to investigate Mirre and to give her an injection so her uterus would contract well.
He also examined the kittens. He even attempted to see whether it were males or females, but he found it quite difficult. It looks like there are 3 males (2x cream and 1x lilac ) and 3 females (lilac or lilac-tortie). In the next issue of the Cat Track, we can tell you more.