On Tuesday, during the hunt for Big Brother, we briefly considered taking his Mama downstairs to use as "bait." Considered very briefly, and rejected that option as being too stressful for this little girl, who was as big as a house and due anytime.
Anytime turned out to be less than two days later. On Thursday I got an 8am wake-up call, and the report that Mama had been birthing since about 4am. D- was concerned that, while everything appeared to be going well, the babies were ice cold and Mama wasn't keeping up with the cleaning, so I packed up one of my portable radiators and hurried over.
There were eight (8!) babies! The last one still had an intact umbilical cord, and the placenta had been delivered, so I cut the cord (with rather blunt scissors - probably more effective that way, anyway) and we discarded the last placenta. She had already eaten seven, and I don't think she could take another bite. In fact, she didn't eat again until late that evening. We helped dry the kittens who were still damp, D- heated some gel packs and placed them, well wrapped, around the periphery of the storage box (she had already moved them off the middle of the bathroom floor, where all the action had taken place), and I cranked up the radiator.
Mama spent the rest of the day lazing around on her back (hah!) so all the kittens could find nipples, being an absolutely perfect mother. Completely unlike our last, Marmee, who had to be taught what feeding and cleaning were all about. I will never forget Laurie running around the tub screaming that he was hungry.
Not these kittens. So far, utter contentment.
This is the sight that greeted me when I finally came downstairs. Aunt Layla and the uncles were calmly sitting in the waiting room. They knew what was up, being experienced foster home assistants.
BTW, did you guess what colors they are? Only 6 are black, with two brown tabbies.