Persian Chinchilla delivery day details!

A tired mama of two after a long busy night!

Lady Arwen Evenstar’s due date (63 – 65 days’ pregnancy) was between 17 – 19 September 2020. Of course, one can never be certain when conception has taken place during the mating period. However, I tend to be wakeful a few nights before the first due date. So when Day 66 – 67 arrived, I was quite exhausted already! (What do I do? I get up a few times at night when I hear my queen scrabbling in her ‘nest’, just to see what’s going on.)

Arwen sleeping on the patio.

On Sunday 20th (Day 66), Arwen slept quite a bit, choosing her favourite spot on a sunny Spring day – one of the garden chairs on our patio. In between, she moved quite friskily, alert and interested, and even a little playful. Out in the kitchen herb garden, back on the patio, up the stairs.

In the evening, around 9 pm, she went upstairs to our bedroom and to her nest. That’s when it started. She was restless, springing gracefully into her nesting box (an old suitcase without its lid), and also in and out of the bottom shelf of the cupboard, which is where she has chosen to give birth in the past.

Unlike any of her previous deliveries, Lady Arwen’s restlessness continued all night. She wanted me to sit with her, stroking her, and rubbing her chest and tickling her cheeks and ears. I knew she was uncomfortable but not in real pain or any distress. Her eyes were bright and she was purring affectionately. This was stage one of her labour, when the uterus is loosening up and preparing to expel the kittens. I quote: “At this stage, the uterine contractions are not yet visible as straining, although you may see or feel movement of the foetuses through the abdominal wall. The cat will often make repeated visits to the kittening bed, and many cats will desire reassurance from the owner.” (Pregnancy and Parturition in Cats; VCA Animal Hospital). This is exactly what Arwen did. She even rolled on her back, exposing her soft, bulging belly to me and wanted me to rub it. Most unlike her! But very cute. In all, we had quite a special time together!

As you can see from this diagram, a cat’s uterus has two “horns” or sleeves. Each kitten has its own placenta and sac or membrane.

Sorry about the rough diagram! My artistic talent is about zero!

Even though I was pretty sure everything was fine, after midnight I called the nearest Animal Emergency Centre and the doctor on call assured me that Arwen wouldn’t be in any danger – no full-on contractions, and she definitely hadn’t started pushing. WHAT A LONG NIGHT! I dozed off for half an hour at 02:00 and still no sign of contractions, but there was evidence of a “show” (discharge). Then I dozed off again (on the carpet next to her) at 03:30 until 04:30 and when I woke up I could see things had changed. Arwen wasn’t wanting any more attention than for me to be with her. She was having contractions – visible tightening up of her stomach. She wasn’t stretching out – just washing her birthing area vigorously and obviously not feeling at all comfortable. She started pushing around 05:15 and I became nervous after half an hour and phoned the vet – got dressed in case I needed to take her in; they said she shouldn’t push for more than an hour, but I was nervous because nothing had been the way it had with her previous births. I was extremely reluctant to move her, and it was with great relief that she gave birth to her first baby at 06:00 exactly.

She’s a very good mother and immediately got to work on the umbilical cord and the placenta. (You do know that the mother cat usually eats the placenta, don’t you? It’s full of needed nutrients, and it also cleans the nest and helps to reduce the risk in the wild of predators smelling the newborn kittens.) I reached into the cupboard and wiped the little face clear of the membrane/sac – giving the baby’s head and shoulders a rub with a clean facecloth. Oh the joy when the tiny bear-like creature opened its mouth and started to breathe!

I offered Arwen some Royal Canin kitten mousse (watered down a bit, the way she likes it) or some full cream yoghurt – which she has lapped up during other deliveries. She took a few licks of the yoghurt and then ate the mousse hungrily. I wanted her to have some energy for the next birth. Arwen busied herself with washing her kitten for about twenty minutes when the next contractions started. This stimulates as well as cleans the kitten, and begins the bonding process between mom and baby. Arwen was really tired after a very active night. When she started pushing, I put the first baby onto the heating pad I had prepared. The baby squeaked a little and Arwen got upset, so I moved the heating pad right next to her where she could see her baby. The little one soon settled into the warmth, with a cloth over it to keep the warmth in. The second kitten was born at 06:55. Once again, I rubbed the little face to clear the membrane – this baby wasn’t moving much and I was a little concerned until it started spluttering into life.

I have had more than twenty approved families wanting one of my kittens. I had so hoped for three or four babies. Not only would this to bring joy to more people, but two kittens are pretty much the same amount of work for me as four are, plus they have such fun together as a little ‘gang’! However, how could I ever be disappointed when nature decides the outcome, and we have two gorgeous new lives to celebrate in our family!

A screen shot from the short video-clip I took once they were all settled. They are behind the curtain in our bedroom – curtain pulled back a little top right.

I weighed both kittens and was amazed that they were 94g and 103g respectively. No wonder my girl struggled a bit! Very few Persian Chinchillas weigh in at over 100g! The average birth weight of all 21 of my kittens so far is just under 80g (This figure is reduced by two tiny babies born to Princess Bella in her second litter – a minute 40g baby who, with me, fought courageously for life for two weeks, and her 50g sister who thrived due to prayer and Princess Bella’s outstanding mothering! I’ve not heard of a baby under 58g that survived.) Breeders are not overly concerned if a newborn doesn’t gain weight on the first day. However, there needs to be weight gain by Day Two – or it may be necessary to supplement feeding.

I observed Arwen carefully for another hour, checking that the kittens knew how to “latch”. (To do this, one holds them gently and brushes their cheeks against the nipple. Instinct is amazing!) There were no more signs of discomfort and she was ready to settle with her babies. I moved the babies into their freshly prepared nest – the suitcase Arwen chose for her first litter, rather than a fancy Hills “tent” or a carefully constructed box. I ensured that food and water were near by, and left the little family to sleep.

My job now is to ensure that I feed Lady Arwen regularly. I weigh the babies morning and evening to check that they are gaining weight (optimally 7 – 10g per day), and change their nesting-linen twice a day. (I put a linen saver under a flannel baby receiving blanket. Flat flannel is best; tiny claws get entangled in towelling or fleecy material.)

On Day 2 (today) Lady Arwen has been restless and distracted. She hasn’t left the room her babies are in, but she’s been in and out of the nesting box and chirping expectantly at me when I’m in the room. It’s as if she’s saying, “What should we be doing now? What’s next?” Constant attention only makes this worse. An experienced queen who is distracted after birth needs to be left alone with her babies to settle down – so I’ve shut her in ‘her’ room with the babies, and only go in every 3-4 hours to take food or check on her. She has been covering them with their blanket – maybe to keep them hidden from possible predators? Her age-old instinct is very strong. She really only wants to use the litter box out on the patio – any scent of mother and babies near to the nest could result in disaster! But for now, until she settles down, she has to use the litter tray in her room.

Mother and babies on Day Two.

Finally – do you know that newborn Persian Chinchillas are very dark in colour? And that their eyes open at around 8 days? How do I know if they are feeding and okay? The same way we do with human babies! A healthy kitten squeaks and mewls loudly when it’s disturbed or hungry.


  1. carla ragni on October 27, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Dear Vivian,

    I would like to be placed on the list for a persian chincilla kitten. I previously had one that came from Germany and she lived until she was seventeen. Her temperament was very suitable for how I live. I spend most of my time working from home and we had an extremely strong bond. She passed away at 17.

    • Vivian Jenkins on October 27, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Hi Carla – we had a long chat on the phone when you called me on Sunday. I know you were researching breeders, working through the list – highly commendable!This is a hugely important decision. I think you will remember that I am a small boutique breeder with only two queens, so we have one litter each per year. This year, my kittens have been reserved from before Lady Arwen and Princess Bella were even pregnant. I can email you a questionnaire to be completed for my waiting list for next year, but you may not want to wait so long, especially as you are missing your beautiful feline companion and are now ready for a new fur-baby. You could email me on if you wish to proceed. Very best wishes and God bless.

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