Took in the kittens yesterday so they could get "fixed" -- and it turns out that we dodged a bit of a bullet! Even though they were only four months and one week old, Shelly girl was already in heat!
This was very surprising, since we hadn't seen any signs of amorous behavior on her part. I had noticed that her kitty boobies seemed a little lumpy, but since she's the first cat I've ever had that has let me rub her tummy, I figured that was just the way that kitty boobies were supposed to be! (I did mention it to the vet tech when we dropped off the cats for the surgery, though, to have them check it out just in case it was something to be concerned about. It wasn't.) Both cats came through their surgeries just fine -- the vet said that Shelly being in heat wasn't a problem. It just meant the surgery took a little bit longer. Whew. Very glad we're not looking at her becoming an incestuous kitten momma!
Both kittens have been recuperating well. (Of course the first thing Shelly wanted to do when she got home was climb the cat condo.... Sigh.) They were still a little out of it when they got home, especially Shelly. Here they are, finally settled in on the piles of dirty laundry that I'd been sorting. Stormy's eyes still have a bit of that post-anesthetic glaze. Shelly was totally zonked out, and Stormy came and found her so that he could keep watch. He's been very sweet (when he isn't tackling her repeatedly, as though to ask, "Are you ready to play yet? What about now? Now???)
It was interesting trying to explain to the kids why the kittens had to have the surgeries. I was reminded of the story my mom tells on me: apparently, when I was in kindergarten, I informed everybody that my cat had to go to the vet to have her tubes tied around her neck, so that she wouldn't have kittens. (A little unclear on the details there, wouldn't you say?) So when the kids started asking about everything on Thursday night, when we were talking about bringing in the cats to the vet the next day, I was careful to give specific and accurate answers to their questions. Yes, I told them about sperm and eggs and fallopian tubes, and I explained that brothers and sisters should never become mommies and daddies together.
Not surprisingly, BJ's teacher M informed me on Friday afternoon that BJ was telling his class all about the kittens: he explained how they were removing Stormy's sperm and Shelly's eggs so that they couldn't mate. "What's mating?" one of his classmates predictably asked. M laughingly said to me that at that point she told the class it was how cats made kittens, and then rather quickly changed the subject before it could get even more graphic. That's my boy.