I’m DELIGHTED to be able to say that Prune is now confirmed as being pregnant as her teats pinked up beautifully around day 21. This means that her expected kittening will happen somewhere near to May 22nd.
As per each of her previous pregnancies she’s not shown signs of morning sickness, though she has been extra demanding of snuggles (I’m definitely up for those!) . We are now at day 27/28 & she is beginning to increase her food intake so noticeable since she is usually such a delicate eater maintaining a lithe figure with daily exercise on her running wheel.
Extra food it vital since her little body is working very hard indeed now. This is because from the physical mating to the birth of her litter is just 63/65 days (which is timed from the first act). I mean, come on, how does nature do this???
Her previous litter sizes have been of 5 & of 4 kittens so I would expect similar this time too. It’s possible to have litters if 10 (or more) but honestly, that’s a huge amount for mum to manage to sustain.
I just can’t get my head around the fact that the domestic feline is able to construct so many little beings with all of their limbs, organs and bones & systems “ready to go” in such a short time!
I say ready to go, they are not quite since the ears are sealed and take a few days so unseal and open, the eyes (usually) remain sealed closed for about 6-8 days and they can’t walk or toilet themselves, but what I mean is that their instincts are all there to ensure that along with mums care they do what’s needed to thrive. Ok, yes, a breeder will often also provide support to prevent kitten losses, but the whole thing is truly fascinating.
At birth each kitten will weigh around 75-95g each. Once breathing & mum has dealt with the placenta (if she does) they instinctively head off to get their first taste of mothers life sustaining colostrum.
In a cat with fur will, prior to the birth, she have licked the hair surrounding the teat area away, creating for her kittens a very clearly marked out food zone. The kitten, who is born with long & sharp claws scrambles their way through the fur dragging until their noses feel bare skin, then the nub of the teat. However, the Sphynx kitten has no fur to grip, no signposted zone marked out for them. The sharp claws can quickly make mums underside so scratched raw. For this reason, cutting the tiny delicate claws becomes one of my first priorities usually done the day after the births. It’s not easy, & quite scary to do to these delicate babies even with the smallest of tools, but protecting mums underside from the ravages of the blind & battling litter mates; who are driven at all costs to suckle for milk, will help to ensure that the pain of scratch injury won’t in the end cause her to “deny them access” . This she would do by laying with them with her tummy pressed to the bedding to shield herself in the coming days or by getting up and leaving the nest. That said, these mothers will endure so much better than we ever would. One of my queens, Noodle, had caesarean births for both of her litters. She would lie still legs akimbo purring in pride while the kittens would scramble over her wound and even by one vampire kitten, have her wound edge suckled upon. The kitten clearly mistook the swollen edge which was kind of wavy from the stitches, for a teat.
I do fret & worry. I do not say this lightly. My queens are my family. They are my companions & my housemates. When mated, I want them to have a healthy pregnancy &, when their time comes, an easy birth without complications. I also desire the pregnancy to provide a good sized litter, made up of healthy weight kittens with no defects. Then the birth over, I’m watchful that each kitten is feeding well and regularly, hyper-vigilant to ensure mum is doing well & to step in to give support feeding if need be before any kitten can decline. Newly born kittens have tiny tummies so must feed every 1½ - 2hours day and night & to sustain that mum needs plenty of wholesome food & water to ensure her milk supply is good.
At first I’ll feed her in situ in the nest so that she need not leave her litter, letting her decide when she feels it’s time for her to stretch her legs a bit.
I won’t pretend breeding is easy. It is not. It’s expensive when done right. Your cat is needing care, sometimes emergency treatment. Kittens can fade and be lost so easily, particularly in the early days. It’s terrifying & stressful. But it’s also beautiful. As expressed, I am endlessly awed by nature in the speed of kitten creation & by mums ability to do this inside her little body. I’m in awe of her kittens & their instincts, and then too at the speed of their early development over the coming 12 weeks they are with me after their birth.ms. For me, the Sphynx is not only a very beautiful feline who has such wonderful character, they are also utterly remarkable mums.
There is a lot to worry over, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also say how much I’m also looking forward to this adventure all over again. Of being there, welcoming a set of hairless kitten babies to the world & into our family, seeing them strive & grow with, eventually, unique personalities being expressed as they take on the world (of the cattery). It’s such a privilege. Prune trusts me as she labours & is never possessive with her kittens knowing I’m there as her aid. And in time I can’t wait to introduce them proudly to you & the world too . Please do come along for the ride with us.
Oh, and there is nothing quite like having a Naked Sphynx Cat Hampshire kitten to call your own! Just ask any of the mums & dads of all of our earlier kittens!
7pm: “no lap cos Noodle is there. No problem, you won’t mind if I take your chest then!”
3am: must be cuddle time again…