Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Zoes girth is 42 cm today, or just over 16 1/2 inches. She is still eating alot, but after gorging herself on kitten food (Royal Canin Persian Kitten) last night she ended up throwing most of it back up in the floor. Honey, there just isn't room for you to gorge!
Unlike dogs, cats usually don't eat the food they have thrown up, so I was greeted this morning by a great big pile on the living room floor. Good thing Leia is not in the living room at night, she would be sure to have found it irresistable!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Zoe is swelling almost visibly day by day. Daniel and I had the idea of actually measuring her girth - as you do with human pregnancies. We started today, when she is 3 weeks and 1 day away from her calculated due date (Based on her mothers normal gestation times, and +/- 2 days of course).
It becomes slightly more difficult as finding the thickest point on this barrel on 4 sticks may be hard to do every time. It's not like I have a belly button to go by, but still.
As far as I can tell, Zoe has a girth of 41,5 cm, or 16 1/4 inches, today. As the main growth of the kittens occurs in the last trimester, it will be incredibky interesting to see how this changes as the days go by!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Our hearts are heavy with the sudden and terrible loss of Trixie, so right now its hard to feel happy about anything. But, watching Zoe enjoying her impending motherhood goes a long, long way.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
This was such a shock! It came from nowhere! One in a million chance. Daniel and I had been up very late last night so we got up only at lunch today. Daniel walked through the living room and petted all the cats, and tells me Trixie was lying on her favorite pillow in the sofa. A couple of minutes later I walk out into the living room and see Trixie lying on the floor, and Zoe sitting only about 10 cm from her. I remember thinking “How good, They are close and not fighting!” until I saw Trixie was lying much to still. When I came closer to her I could see that she had vomited, peed heself (She was lying in a puddle of pee) and also pooped herself. I run to her and scream for Daniel. I lift her up and I can see that she is still alive, but her eyes have no reaction to light, her head is lolling and her legs are cramping (looks like she is trying to ride a bicycle).
Daniel comes out, sees her and runs to get a big towel and call Taxi. We wrap her in the towel and rush to the veterinary. At this tiome I was just so happy I was home so we could help her right away!
We get to the vet and are admitted right away. They take her temperature and it is only 36,7 – 2 degrees lower than it should be. She is obviously in shock. The Vet asks for a blood test. It takes us almost 5 minutes to fill a very small vial of blood – her blood pressure was so low we could almost not get any blood out. Her gums and tongue were white. Not even pink, but WHITE. Once we have pulled the blood she is put on a drip (saline) and on a heating pad – to treat the shock.
The blood test came back about 15 minutes later. Nothing was wrong. Her red and white bloodcount was good, her liver and kidneys are working fine. So there is nothing in the organs and also no infection. We try to think if she could have been poisoned in any way, but there is NOTHING in out home that is poisonous to cats, that isn’t locked away. After some time on drip and heating pad she vomits again. The vet then says, because there are no signs of poisoning, that the treatment for the shock is probably causing her to feel worse, because as we increase fluids in her the preassure on the brain increases. He also say that it is not epilepsy, because she is not recovering at ALL! She is clearly blind, has blinking reflex on touch but not for light. Her pulse is 180/150. She breathes very shallow. Now and then, maybe once every 2 minutes, she takes a deeper breath and cries – softly. She is obviously almost comatose and what little feeling she has is terrible. She is in pain, or at least in very much discomfort. All the tests are contraindicative of anything we can do. No infection, no epilepsy, nothing wrong with her organs, no poisoning. The vet tells us that if we REALLY want to we can take her to a bigger hospital and put her into intensive care, but that we would do this more for us. He says to us that he believes that if we do not take the decision, she will die within one or 2 hours anyway, in pain. Trixie is in pain and her prognosis is VERY VERY bad, he is as sure as he can be that she has had a stroke. We ask for a few minutes to think and he leaves the room. While we talk and wait she is becoming worse. Her breathing is more shallow. Her back legs become paralyzed. One of her pupils contract but not the other. All of these are strong signs for a stroke.
With every cell of my body I wanted to try to save her. But by the time the vet came back she had become so much worse, there was only one decision we could take. We had to be strong and think of her, not of ourselves. She was asking us, every time she cried, to please let her go. So we did…
I held her in my arms and cradled her like a baby, blowing air into her face and speaking softly to her and Daniel stroked her whole body and spoke to her softly while the vet gave her the injection. She died in my arms. I am crying so much when I write this that I think my keyboard will break. We loved Trixie, even when we laughingly complained that she was our “little bitch” we both actually enjoyed that she had so strong a personality. I hope that she felt our love when we let her go. I know we felt it...
Today we went to see her again - for the last time before bringing her home. She is now old enough to build a relationsship with (9 weeks) and she immediately fell in love with Daniel. I can live with that, since I immediately fell in love with him too =)
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Zoe is 5 weeks pregnant today. Just look at the size of her! It seems to me that this is a cat that will need help to keep clean towards the end of her term - she's going to be HUGE!
We shaved Zoes' tummy today, so now you can really see her "wild strawberry"-nipples in all their glory.
We went to the vet yesterday for health certificates and rabies shots. I really didn't like the idea of giving the girls a rabies shot while pregnant - but what can you do? If I was to wait until after the birth it would have been too late and we'd have to re-do the process of titre-testing before we could travel with them again.
Isn't she going to be surprised in a few weeks as Trixies star begins to rise? :)
In the meanwhile, poor baby Trixie. I hope the stress she's under will not have any adverse effect on her (possible) pregnancy...
Meet Leia (or Xsanda Paint the Sky With Stars)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Red Raspberry Leaf, the staple supplement for the pregnant cat!
Known and used for many years by cat breeders, and thousands of years (no, not kidding!) by pregnant women. Red Rasberry Leaf can be found as tea (dried leaves, make your own tonic), capsules, pills and fluid extract, my personal favorite.
Red Raspberry Leaf is known to:
- Help tone and strengthen the pelvic and uterine muscles, promoting strong contractions and thereby a swift delivery.
- Decrease constipation (which can be a problem in the 3rd trimester)
- Increase amount and quality of milk production.
Firstly, Red Raspberry Leaf contains a mix of vitamins and minerals in a mix which is perfect for the pregnant animal (and woman). It contains a high concentration of vitamins E and C, as well as Vitamin A and some of the B-Complex. The Red raspberry leaf also contains many essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and an easily assimilated form of calcium, in just the right amounts NOT to upset your queens' delicate calcium/phosphorus balance. All of the vitamins and minerals in RRL is far more easily assimilated by your queen than a chemically created vitamin/mineral-mix would be.
Secondly, RRL contains Fragrine, an alkaloid. This is what helps tone the muscles of the pelvic region including the uterus and thereby allows the uterus to contract more powerfully and effectively during labor.
Thirdly, Red Raspberry Leaves contains a form of Oxytocin. This is interesting as Oxytocin is the very drug many cat breeders have on hand to induce labor. In high concentrations Oxytocin will cause contractions, but in low levels it will PREVENT premature delivery. Oxytocin is also one of the bodys' formost "FeelGood"-hormones and its positive effects are numerous. The list below shows some of the proven effects of Oxytocin on humans. It can be assumed that most if not all of these effects are directly translatable to your queen.
...lowers blood pressure
...lower the levels of stress hormones
...improves digestion and the ability to assimilate nutrients
...speeds up healing of wounds and strengthens the immune system
...induces calm and tranquility of the mind
...makes us more social and interested in our surroundings
...makes us less fearful
...increases learning ability
So, what about dosage? Well, this largely depends on which form you are using. At the Cyberhousehold we use the fluid extract made by Nature's Answer (if you buy an extraxt, PLEASE make sure it is alcohol-free!) which is both organic and holistically balanced.
The pregnant Cyberqueen get's 0,5 ml daily, starting at the beginning of the 4th week. At the beginning of week 7 (2 weeks before delivery) the dose is upped to 0,5 ml twice daily.
Although an age-old remedy (at least as far back as the old Greeks and Romans, Red Raspberry has been used by pregnant women), even modern medical science agrees. Medical studies have shown that red raspberry leaf can be consumed safely during pregnancy and can decrease the length of labor and decrease the number of interventions used such as artificial rupture of membranes (AROM), assisted delivery, and cesarean delivery.1 Red raspberry leaf also seems to help prevent pregnancies from pre-or post-term gestation (delivering too early or too late).
To sum it up - This is the one supplement that will ALWAYS be a part of a pregnant Cyberqueens' diet. In fact, I'll gobble the tea myself should I ever get pregnant. No doubt about it :)
1 Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor.
J Midwifery Womens Health. 2001 Mar-Apr;46(2):51-9.
PMID: 11370690 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Supplementing a pregnant queens diet is something that should be done with care. Although in the past it might have been advisable to supplement with various vitamins and calcium, among other nutrients, these days the premium commercial cat foods contain a perfect balance of nutrients for your cat. A balance that can easily be upset, no matter how well-meaning you are in your supplementing. Take very good care not to do more harm than good!
Calcium in particular - which seems to be a popular supplement, can easily upset the very delicate phosphorus/calcium balance in your queen. Having supplemented with calcium you could easily end up being the cause of the very eclampsia you tried to prevent.
As long as the queen is gaining weight and looking healthy, and is eating a PREMIUM brand food, no nutritional supplements are necessary - in fact they can be harmful. If you feel strongly that you wish to make a change to your queens diet, if nothing else to feel that you are doing something to help her, the one thing that I can recommend is to switch her over to either a kitten food (still talking premium brands) or to a dedicated Queen - food. To my knowledge only Royal Canin produces a food specifically aimed at the pregnant and lactating queen to date.
So, no supplementing at all? Well yes, there are a few things you can give your queen that will have a very positive effect on such important areas as tonus of the womb (helps the birth process), milk production, general well being and immune system. I'll talk about these supplements in upcoming articles - keep checking back under the label "Supplements".
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Counting the first day of mating as day 1, pinking up occurs around day 21, sometimes a few days later. If the pinking up takes 22 or 23 days to occur it can be a sign that the mating on the first day did not "take" and you should probably adjust your expected delivery date forward a day or two as well.
What happens is this: 3 weeks after mating your queens hormone-levels have gotten high enough to start affecting her mammary glands. The first sign is that the nipples themselves start changing color from skin-colored to a rosy pink, thus the term "pinking up".
In the next few days the nipples themselves will also start growing in size. On a maiden queen the nipples are hardly larger than the nipples on a male. Once a girl has had at least one litter of kittens, her nipples will remain larger (though not quite as big as when she actually is pregnant and nursing) and will also never return to the exact shade of her skin that they were before her first litter.
Because of this the process of pinking up is much easier to see on a maiden queen. When you know what to look for you will also see it quite easily on an experienced queen, but without a trained eye it may take a few days extra for you to notice.
By the fourth week you will feel her nipples clearly when you rub her belly.
Trixie is currently still at the stud's house and only recently stopped breeding. Normally you allow pedigreed cats to breed for approximately 3 days before putting a stop to it. This is to prevent the kittens to be to far apart in age - a kittern concived on day 1 of breeding and one concived on day 7 - if that was allowed - will obviously still be born the same day.
The duration of a cats' pregnancy, in Trixies case day 5, is calculated from the first day of mating.
Trixie is also shaved down, though a bit further back than Zoe so she has a short but very plush coat now. Still this should enable us to see her change as her pregnancy progresses. The picture above is about one month old. I will take a new one to post when she comes home, which should be tomorrow.
As you can see from this pictures, Zoe is less than impressed with the position I'm holding her in, but she doesn't mind too much as she trusts me. I only subject her to this undignified treatment on a very infrequent basis, with the purpose of getting "bellyphotos" for this blog.
The red arrow points to one of her nipples, which in the past 2 weeks have swelled up to about 4 times it's original size, and turned a rosy pink. This is one of the first signs of pregnancy in a cat. See separate entry: "Pinking up."
Already at 31 days we can start to see her abdomen swelling out towards the sides. This is unusually early and could indicate either that she is a little piglet when she eats or that she is carrying quite a few kittens in there.
As this picture shows you, Zoe has been clipped down from the magnificent coat she had in the top picture. This of course helps us show the changes in her body more clearly than if she had been overflowing in coat. This picture, taken from right above her, also shows her sides ever so slightly bulging outwards.
- Ourselves - it's a handy place to keep records and track of how the girls and kittens develop for later references.
- The kitten buyers - Here you can follow your furbaby from the very start
- The public - Anyone interested in the joys, trials and tribulations of breeding purebred cats.
Currently we have two pregnant females, Zoe and Trixie. Zoe is 4 1/2 weeks pregnant - which means she's about halfway through her term, or in the middle of her second trimester. Trixie was bred only a few days ago, so we'll be able to follow her from the start.