Kitten Sitter

Gigi (giselle) the tortoiseshell cat that adopted us a few months ago delivered her load of 4 beautiful kittens a few days ago. She came inside, called out for my wife Pia. When Pia did not reply, she searched for her and climbed on to her lap. After a couple of minutes, Pia was feeling the cat’s belly as we were noticing some movements there the last few days, and she noticed something was starting to ooze out of her.
We took her outside, put her on a mat and witnessed as she started to deliver the little ones. We shamelessly videoed the whole event (that I’m not going to publish). The kittens have different colors (as expected). And Gigi is taking good care of them.

Gigi and kittens

Now you should know that cat have different temperaments and attitudes. Some are vocal and very talkative (like our Garo). Others are shy and reserved. Others are aloof, etc..
Gigi is like nothing I have seen before. She is clearly the strongest of the bunch as all the other cats in the neighborhood (males and females alike) move out of her way and step back when she hisses at them. And her hiss is barely noticeable. She’s very calm and steady. On the other hand she’s very warm with people. She will rub on anyone’s feet. Will not balk away if you try to pet her. And will gladly climb into any welcoming lap. She doesn’t vocalize much and before she gave birth we rarely heard her voice except for the casual “beep” (half a “beep-beep”) if someone steps on her tail because she’s always laying behind our feet when we’re in the kitchen!
Now Gigi is not litter trained. Mainly because she takes care of business (and sleeps) outside. But since the kittens came, we decided to keep them inside (closed porch). Gigi is happy with the arrangement since she doesn’t have to fend for her litter. Garo comes in for feeding on that same porch a couple of times every day, but he’s a pushover and she doesn’t worry about him much. We even closed the small opening he used to enter, so he now stands outside and yells for someone to open for him. So, when Gigi wants to eliminate, she has to go outside. She could simply leave, but we noticed that before leaving she comes looking for us. Every single time, before going outside, she comes looking for either one of us and starts taking loudly. We know we have to do something because she never speaks otherwise, and she’s never loud! When we follow her to the porch and stand next to the kittens, she rubs her head on our feet once and then steps out. She makes sure that the kittens are asleep before she leaves. And she only stays out for a few minutes each time. She trusts us to handle the kittens: no hissing or any sort of complaint when we do that, but she licks them thouroughly after we put them back. So I’m guessing that she wants us to kittensit for her while she’s away! Have you ever seen such a behaviour?

Update: after exactly 7 days, gigi was very vocal again. She was going out more and after a few trips, she came back and started taking her kittens one by one to hide them in the bush across the street. Pia was not too happy with that.

Another update: Xena came back after 2 days of absence. She delivered her litter somewhere in the neighbourhood. She is coming to feed more often now and is back to her playful and hyperactive self.

Yet another update: it’s been about a week since we noticed Xena’s delivery. She was very noisy today, even more than usual. And she was exploring the house. At about 6pm, I was taking a nap when I heard a scream. Pia was screaming (joyfully as I learned later) because Xena was carrying one of her kittens in her mouth and she took it straight into our living room. She went though the whole ritual 5 times (telling us she was going, drinking some water our milk, then going to get a kitten). I’m writing this update now sitting on the floor next to them. She is tired, but purring loudly. And the 5 are taking turns at feeding. bliss…

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