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Getting ready for the Big Day

2 June, 2007

… the Big Day being the day the kittens arrive, of course.

I haven’t been posting much on Ananda’s pregnancy because I’m the superstitious sort and didn’t want to count my kittens before they’d arrived. Breeders are a cautious lot, and it doesn’t help reading posts on breeders’ forums filled with things that can go wrong. I’m a worrier at the best of times, and even though Ananda’s previous litters have arrived safely and been healthy, I just didn’t want to chance Fortune with too much speculation.  And in fact, until about 2 weeks’ ago, Ananda didn’t look that pregnant.  Sure, she looked a trifle tubbier, but not hugely so.  Now she’s huge, her sides have barrelled out.

I’ve started preparing for the kittens. I’ve got most of the kit, so it was just a matter of digging it out and making sure everything’s there.

I’ve washed a whole load of towels today, even though they looked clean. I use towels to line the kitten box. Some breeders advise not to use towels because the kittens’ claws can get hooked in the towel loops, but I’ve had no problems so far. I use two normal-sized bath towels to the box, over a Pampers changing mat, under which is a layer of newspapers. For the birthing itself, the towels are a dark colour so that if they get stained heavily it’s not such a big deal. Otherwise, the towels I use are white. White of course shows stains and this enables me to see what discharges are coming out of the queen, which is very important in case of infection or bleeding that doesn’t stop. I find that with white towels you can wash them at a high temperature, with a bit of bleach and they come up pristine. I try to wash the towels in a detergent without fragrance because if I were a little kitten, the smell of over-perfumed towels would be most off-putting.

I also have vet bed. I bought it because it wicks moisture from the surface but surprisingly I haven’t used that as much as I thought it would. What I found out is that kittens like the texture, but the deep pile encourages them to use their bedding as a litter tray! It’s also made of polywollywotsits, and I don’t really like artificial fibres. I’m fortunate to have an Asda nearby and they do a bargain own-brand basics range of towelling.

I’ve got my kitten manuals ready to read up on the birth, got my homeopathic kit ready with a prayer that I won’t have to resort to any of the remedies for the birth or kittens. I’ve got my kitten weight charts drawn up and ready. Still undecided what to do if there are more than one kitten of the same colour. It happened last year and I couldn’t tell them apart for the first few weeks. One tip is to use colour hair bands around the kittens’ legs, or something like that, or nail polish on claws, or food colour inside the ears, but I don’t know if I can be bothered.

I’ve also a stock of books ready because Ananda tended to be clingy once she’s had her kittens and everytime I left the room she would follow me, so this time I’m prepared for a long siege. I’ve got a thick Peter Hamilton and am going to re-read some of my favourite sci-fic authors. There’s something comforting about re-reading past favourites. I’m also going to be re-watching the Six Million Dollar Man on the laptop- this pretty much dates me, I know.

I might post updates while I’m ensconced with the kittens, but I’m in two minds about using wi-fi technology with kittens nearby.

So, it’s now just a waiting game, really. If all goes well, I’ll be writing a kitten post early next week.

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