Monday, March 19, 2007

Cat Drama

Friday morning brought a bit of drama to our household. Our cat, Katie, was pregnant and we'd been waiting for the babies to show up. Since she looked ready to explode the last few weeks, we knew the kitties' birth was imminent. (This is the proud Mama up above).

Well, one little kitty showed up at approximately 9 a.m. And then we waited. And waited some more. Katie came and entwined herself around my legs, meowing and wanting to eat. I thought, "Surely there's more than one in there!" But no other kittens were forthcoming.

Being who I am, I researched this rather unusual phenomena on the internet. Turns out a cat can be in birth for several hours. But by that evening, I grew frantic. I could feel the babies still moving in Katie's tummy, but she didn't appear to be in any hurry to push them out. After a call to the vet, they said they could either do an ultrasound or an X-ray to see what was going on, or I could just keep a close eye on her. I opted for the latter.

At about 9 p.m., Katie strolled upstairs and lay on my lap. Those of you who know me well will find this a feat in itself since I am not a cat person - not only am I allergic, but their claws have appeared in my dreams on more than one occasion - and not in a good way. But this cat has wormed her way into my heart (probably because she is an excellent mouser and very affectionate) . Fortunately, my allergies don't bother me with her anymore.

Katie promptly went to sleep on my lap and I felt her babies rolling around and kicking inside her. And still, she had no urge to go into labor. She dutifully took care of her other kitten and we just decided to let her take her time.

By the next morning, she still hadn't had them. I thought for sure she would have taken advantage of the quiet in the house during the night to pop out the rest. But no. In her typical unique Katie fashion, she waited. About an hour after I got up, I discovered another kitty had been born. And probably three hours later, two more came. We now have four adorable kitties and I'm almost ashamed to say we're all gaga over them. Why? Because we've always been staunch dog lovers. We have three monstrous dogs in the backyard outside. But this cat is special. (And don't worry! The cat is getting fixed after this! No need to add to the over-population.)

She's a good mom - all four babies are doing well. But Katie has a voracious appetite and has been eating quite a bit. I've indulged her. I know what it's like to give birth to one child - I can't imagine four. Animals amaze me - they can give birth all on their own - no human interference needed. :-)

On Writing...

In addition to the cat drama on Friday, I had a burst of inspiration for a new novel. Since it was the dead of night, I had to get up and write it all down, and now I can't wait to start researching. It's not WWII, even, but takes place in contemporary Italy. The problem? I'm worried I can't pull it off. Not the story so much as the whole Italian atmosphere. I want to get it right. After reading Peter Mayle's novel, A Good Year, I felt like I was right in Provence, France. And of course, he can write about Provence so well because he lives there. How am I ever going to write so eloquently about Italy? More on this topic later this week...

Also got back to editing the novel and it felt great. I'm hoping to be done with it by the end of April, if not sooner.


  1. Congratulations on the new brood. Will you find homes for them all? I must arrange to have Holly done soon - or as soon as we're allowed. Problem is, I don't know how old she is or how old they have to be to get done.

  2. Michelle5:08 AM

    Awww! Sounds like an exciting day for you and your family. :) Congrats on the new kitties.

  3. Wow, now that's a long birthing process! Congrats and post some pixs of the kittens when you get a chance. I'm a dog person too, but nothing makes me turn into a pile of mush than something small and fluffy.

  4. Sounds like you're just going to have to take a trip to Italy -- for research purposes, of course! :)

  5. How funny, Melissa! When I was in junior high, we had a cat named Katie who had some trouble giving birth and my mother actually had to assist her while hanging on the phone with the vet.

    And boy, do I hear you about being worried you can't pull it off! But don't let self-doubt keep you from writing that book -- you can layer in the details that make it more authentic later. Really. Just do it.

  6. What a pretty cat.

    I already know about your story and I think it sounds like a fun story to write.

  7. The cat tale is fascinating--had no idea they didn't always birth the whole litter at once!

    As for Italy: go if you can, but if not, rent every Italian-set movie you can find, read Mayle again (and again) and read other Italy stories, and likely you'll internalize enough to be convincing.

  8. Congrats on the new kittens! It's so much fun to watch them learn.

    Italy -- there are forums where you can talk with people who live there and ask specific questions. My suggestion would be to go to Italy for two weeks as a research trip -- renting a place to stay -- there are many affordable places that end up being cheaper than a hotel.

    Decided ahead of time what you need to research, but be open to many other things.

    Remember that you will also get ideas for articles and short stories, which can come out more quickly as you work on the novel.

    And you can use the whole thing as a tax write-off.

    People make excuses about not going to research all the time, but the truth is, being there gives the sensual details that take your piece to the next level. You definitely have the talent to pull this off -- it's just a question of commitment. Will you commit to doing something taking yourself as seriously as a writer to give yourself two weeks in Italy?

    Also, if there are specific museums, historical places to visit, contact their staff ahead of time so you can speak to them and have them show you the things the tourists don't always get to see. Being a writer gives you a key to many locked doors.

    You can contact people who live in the area in which you want to travel via, which has an email program where you can ask residents questions.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  9. Congratulations on the kittens!

    Re. Italy. While it's nice to be able to visit/experience our settings, imho, I don't think it's absolutely necessary - especially with the live location web-cams and info available on the Internet etc.

    I agree about Peter Mayle and Provence - called A Year in Provence over here - but I think he achieved this because it's autobiographical.

    Good news on the editing front :-D.

    Sue :-)

  10. Kittens are so wonderful. Congrats on your new additions to the family


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