Xia has her babies in the early afternoon of day 22, and taking about an hour and a half to birth them and clean them up. The babies are born one at a time, with Xia eating the afterbirth and cord, and then moving on to cleaning the baby. If a baby is stillborn, the doe may dispose of the body in the same way. This isn’t anything horrific on her part, it’s a natural way of keeping the nest clean and avoiding attracting predators. Thankfully Xia has a calm birth, takes all in her stride, and produces a nest full of healthy wriggling babies. Xia’s kittens are born in the darkest, safest and most private place in the cage, behind the hut, while her sister Xanthe sleeps inside. Soon after they are born Xia ousts Xanthe from the hut and moves the babies into shelter, so I move Xanthe out of the nursery cage and back into their normal cage group.

Xia's newborns