So… we seem to have a problem.
Butterscotch’s third orange kitten died today.
I checked on them this morning. Beep Beep’s kittens were sleeping in a pile, and she had even come to the stairs to greet me when I came down, before dashing back into her nest.
Butterscotch was in her nest, sitting like a loaf. I couldn’t see her kittens, so I felt around and found them. They complained a bit at being disturbed, and I was a bit concerned that they seemed to be under Butterscotch. Once they started complaining, she lay back and nursed them, and all seemed well.
One of my daughters had a shift today (one extra day this month, then nothing but Saturdays on the new schedule), and while I was in town, my other daughter checked on the kittens. They were all looking fine. She did have to dig the orange one out from under Butterscotch, so she continued to check throughout the afternoon, and again when I went back to town to pick up her sister.
Which is when she found the orange one, unresponsive.
At that point, she took the grey and white one and put it with Beep Beep, who had no problem nursing an extra baby.
I checked again when I got home, and there was no question. The kitten was gone.
We’re now left with a couple of possibilities.
Either these babies all had some sort of birth defect, and we’ll have to watch the last one carefully. Or Butterscotch smothered her own kitten.
The box we’d made a nest in that Beep Beep was using was starting to get kinda damp, so I ended up moving her and the babies into the crate that Butterscotch was using, and made up a new bed in an old laundry basket. It is too open for the moms’ preferences, though, and Butterscotch ended up trying to climb into the crate with Beep Beep and the babies.
She is now outside.
I noticed as I picked her up, she did not seem to be full of milk, either. When I had picked up Beep Beep, I could feel she was quite full of milk. This could be another part of the problem.
We will have to make a point of checking on Beep Beep and the babies often. The last I saw, all five kittens were nursing and wriggling around.
Hopefully, there will be no more losses.