Birth of Abayomi Kittens...
- This is a photo essay of the birth of Shiraz and Nialah's kittens.
Please be advised that the following photos contain graphic images
that may not be suitable for all viewers.
do not proceed if you think you may find them at all disturbing.
"Newborn kitten weighing
was asked to take the following photographs of the labor and delivery
for a "Birthing Article" that has since been published
online at a cat breeders site. After seeing them, I was not only
impressed with the quality of the photographs but was thoroughly
amazed that I was able to capture such strikingly beautiful photos
of the first moments of life! I just marvel at the miracle of
life, how precious it is, how fragile it is and how in one moment,
with that very first breath, it all comes to be...
I am always taken away!
I am present for each and every kitten's birth to help assist
mom in the delivery if need be. The newborns precious little lives
occasionally need some extra help coming into the world and/or
with clearing out the mucus/fluid from their airways so they are
able to take their first breath! Although most often this means
not being able to leave our home and staying up for days on end
waiting and waiting for that time to come! These are my babies
and if any complications should arise with either mom or kittens,
I will be there to help. I always catch up on lost sleep once
all the kittens are born and nursing comfortably on mom!
To date we have had one emergancy after hours c-section, one almost
emergancy after hours c-section where we were to meet the vet
at the hospital and she finally had it while walking out the door
after 4 hours of pushing... and one where our vet had to come
to our home and help reposition the kitten so it was able to come
out. I have had to reposition many kittens by inserting a finger
into the vagina and with the other hand manipulate the kitten
from the outside against the moms tummy.
a little life changing right before our eyes... I decided to share
for those who may enjoy seeing such rarely captured moments.
birth of Shiraz's kittens...
Shiraz is purring away waiting for labor to begin. Like
all of our Aby girls, she wants me by her side for the
entire process and won't let me leave the room!
Here Shiraz comfortably gazes at her tummy as
she feels movement from the kittens. Her first contractions are
starting as the first stages of labor begins... although it still
may be an hour or two before her first kitten arrives.
As she transitions from the first stage of labor
to the second, the contractions that move the kitten through the
birth canal start getting closer together and much, much stronger.
Once she starts pushing, on average, it usually takes about 20
minutes for her to deliver a kitten if no complications arise.
In this photo you can see she is having VERY strong
contractions as she begins to push her new baby into this world.
She purrs very loudly between each pause in her contractions making
sure I am always by her side.
This incredible photo shows such facial detail
as the kitten is crowning (just before it pops out) while still
in the amniotic sac. It's quite amazing to capture such a photograph
as you can clearly see all it's facial features!
Sometimes the strong contractions help to break
the amniotic sac, which you can see happened in this photograph.
Depending on the situation, sometimes mom will break the sac herself
between contractions or I may assist her if it looks like she
is having a hard time pushing the kitten out. Occasionally the
kittens are delivered within the sac and are cleaned off quickly
There is usually a pause while waiting for the
next set of contractions to push the kitten fully out.
One last push and the kitten is OUT! Here is a
very proud Shiraz as she examines and cleans her precious newborn
I clamp and cut the umbilical cords myself and
dip them in iodine right away to minimize any risk of a streptococcal
(or bacterial) infection. Kittens can die very quickly from Septicemia
when high levels of pathogenic bacteria enter the umbilical cord,
sometimes caused by mom's chewing their kittens cords. I also
weigh and record each kitten's weight as soon as they are born
and then place them back with mom.
If a kitten is born with lots of mucus/fluid and
having problems breathing, I help clean it's airways with a bulb
style syringe and wipe it's nose and mouth with a very soft cloth.
Sometime I need to cup the newborn between my hands and use a
"swinging motion" which uses gravity to help expel the
These are very proud moments as Shiraz bonds with
her precious new baby and licks it dry.
Usually within a couple of hours of delivering
the last kitten... labor begins once again.
Contractions are getting much stronger as the
delivery of her next kitten approaches...
Finally after about 20 minutes of pushing... her
kitten arrives safely!
Once again she proudly licks her second newborn
A job well done as she pretties herself up!
Shiraz's Abyssinian kittens at 7 days old... eyes
just starting to open!
birth of Nialah's kittens...
Nialah is very calm as she patiently waits to
deliver her kittens.
She rests while keeping a watchful eye making
sure I stay with her the entire time. If I leave the room she
will pace and cry until I return by her side.
Here you can see she is panting while the intensity
of her contractions increase!
Within the amniotic sac you can see the kittens
tail as it starts to protrude out... Clearly this is going to
be a breech delivery.
Nialah broke the amniotic sac herself and with
more contractions she pushes the baby's foot out. How incredible
it is to see such tiny formed nails on the paw of this newborn
Nialah waits for her next big contraction to finally
push the kitten into the world!
Here you can see she is cleaning off the kitten
as the sac still covers part of its head. Our Aby's are very happy
when they have kittens.
Here Nialah is taking a well deserved break while
she builds her strength as she awaits her next set of contractions.
Normally it takes approximately 2 hours between each kitten. So
it can take hours and hours to deliver a larger litter... which
can be very tiring when I have been up waiting for days for them
to arrive. Although it is all worth the wait when you finally
get to see such tiny precious souls!
Looks like things are starting to move forward...
...once again Shiraz is showing signs that another
kitten is on its way!
Sure enough within an hour the next kitten is
moving along rather quickly! This is one of my favorite photos!
Such tiny little feet and you can see its black pads and tiny
little toe nails still within the amniotic sac as it tries to
push its way out! Such an IMPRESSIVE photograph!
The tiny nails from the kitten rupture the amniotic
sac... this is another breech delivery! If she is having difficulty
pushing this kitten out, she allows me to assist her by gently
tugging on its feet as the next contraction arrives.
Viola!... The third kitten is born. The umbilical
cord is still attached to the placenta which mom either delivers
with the kitten or some time after the kitten is born. Mom's eat
the placenta when it is delivered so it's important that each
one is counted to make sure none have been retained, otherwise
they will cause an infection.
Here Nialah helps to stimulate the breathing and
circulation of her kittens as she licks them dry.
Soon after birth she coaxes her kittens to start
nursing and cuddles with them to keep them warm. Nialah is such
an amazing mom and absolutely loves raising her kittens. She is
always by their side taking very good care of them.
In this photo Nialah is purring away... you can
see her paws are kneading back and forth... she is SO HAPPY with
her two new babies!
She embraces her baby as it wiggles up towards
...then she gives it lots of Mommy kisses!
Such a happy family!!
A couple of hours after the last kitten, her contractions
start once again...
...soon the amniotic sac appears...
...and within 20 minutes another kitten is born
still within the amniotic sac. I help to clean the kitten off
and make sure it is breathing just fine... then off to the gram
scale, record the weight and quickly back with Nialah.
Nialah is examining her new baby as she cleans
She always makes sure to keep them close so that
her body temperature keeps them toasty warm.
Time to all cuddle together as she coaxes them
Sometimes it takes a little while for the kittens
to get the hang of nursing and latch on... but it isn't long before
they are all enjoying the colostrum. Nialah's milk will come in
within a couple of days.
What a happy face as Nialah relaxes after a long
and exhausting delivery!
Kittens enjoy filling their little tummies for
the very first time!
With a happy family... It's time I get some SLEEP!!!
How can I not enjoy seeing such precious little
A job well done Nialah!
birth of Burleah's kittens...
I was awake 6 nights patiently waiting for Burr's
kittens to arrive. She was comfortable one minute and restless
the next. Always wanting me close by her side, it's hard to get
anything done in the day as I have to stay very close to home.
Anything could happen if I wasn't there, and I just can't take
Aby's love attention and especially during labor.
Here Burleah is comforted by the touch of my hand as labor begins.
She reaches for my hand as I pull it away, only
Soon Burleah's contractions start...
...and after 20 minutes of pushing we start to
see the first kittens face appear.
AMAZING that you can see the detail of the face
as the kitten is crowning.
Burleah turns to break the sac, which relieves
...and out pops her first kitten!
Burleah welcomes her first born into the world
and starts to lick and clean her right away. I quickly wisk her
away to cut and iodine the umbilical cord so to prevent any infection
and then quickly get a weight on the postal gram scale and place
her back against the warmth of Burr's body. The iodine also helps
dry up the umbilical cord very quickly.
It is not unusual for kittens to get "Septicemia"
(an infection) especially if the mom chews the cord as they have
lots of bacteria in their mouth. Kittens can be dead within hours
if this happens. I take all precautions whenever I can and thankfully
we have very, very rarely lost a kitten after birth.
Here the kitten is already looking for mom's milk.Sometimes
they latch on right away and at other times it takes some time
to figure it out.
Normally there is about 2 hours between kittens,
but this time the next kitten was already pushing out into the
The first kitten was born face first although
this kitten was born feet first. We see about half and half and
rarely have a problem with delivery either way.
Look at those tiny claws that are fully formed
on its paws already.
Out pops the body as Burleah waits for the next
contraction before she pushes out it's head. Occationally if she
is tired and having some difficulty getting the kitten out I will
gently tug on the legs during the next contaction to help her
Sometimes I place the kittens on a kitten warming
pad to help keep them warm. I usually do this while their mom
is having strong contractions when trying to push the next kitten
out. It keeps the kittens safe as occationally mom's can bite
and puncture their babies if they feel pain during delivery and
decide to lash out. The kittens always love the warmth of the
...and so does Burleah as she gets her own warming
pad between the birth of her kittens. It helps her relax and feel
confortable as she gains strength before the next contractions
Burleah is a wonderful mom and always finds the
birth of her kittens fairly easy. Some mom's take it much harder
Within a few hours Burleah's contractions have
started once again all while she keeps a close watch on her newborns
to make sure they are safe.
Within about half an hour out pops the head....
With the next contraction, which sometimes takes
45 seconds, out comes the rest of the body.
She continues to clean the kitten while stimulating
its blood flow and breathing. Fairly often when kittens are born
I have to "swing" a kitten by placing it between the
palms on my hands, holding it above my head and quickly swinging
it down head first (while completely supporting its head) which
uses gravity to expel any fluids that are making it difficult
for the kitten to breath.
What precious little souls!! Entering into this
world for the very first time!
Burleah is a very proud mom and rests while she
awaits the birth of her last kitten. Her kittens have already
The kittens are born very resilant and use their
paws to fight for the best teats. They can be fairly rough with
each other so with bigger litters I sometimes have to suppliment
to make sure they are all getting enough.
One comes up for a short break.
It's such a beautiful sight to watch kittens nurse
and knead their tiny paws.
Burleah always keeps a close eye on them.
This little one is enjoying Burleahs colostrum
which is full of antibodies that is so important to its health.
After about the second day (give or take) her milk will start
to come in.
Here we go again... the first signs of contrations
are starting once again...
...Burleah is starting to feel uncomforable as
the contractions get stronger.
Within about 40 minutes... she is somewhat tired...
she starts to push out the fourth kittens head.
Once again, amazing to see the details and expression
on the kittens face as it crowns.
After a few more hard contractions the last baby
Here you can see Burleah's foot has gotten some
iodine on it which will fade in time. She is all done and just
making sure all her precious new babies are all cleaned up and
nursing well on their own...
I always give our moms their favourite canned
food once they are all done... then it's HER REST TIME...
...and kittens too. All cuddled up with full little
tummies! Then it's my turn to catch up on the many nights of lost
All to do it all over again when the next litter
you ENJOYED all my photos... Thank you for taking the time to
look through them!