Klassic Kute

THis 22-minute 1947 Klassic from Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren is a black and white dream, showing the birth (yes, BIRF!) of five kitt-tayns. Then, they learn to walk. It’s very sweet, and feels like a warm glass of milk in video form.

Ahn.

Hmm, where should I give birth at? 

Nice submishe, Alysha L. >^•^<

Comments

  1. Kenya, is that you, back in time???

  2. Suzanne says:

    Wouldn’t that be Grand Kenya?

  3. What a good mamacat!

  4. pinkwerewolff says:

    So close to being able to say bleen…so close.

  5. oaklandcat says:

    I was thinkin the same thing. Theo- you tewtally shopped this, didn’t ya? I thought so.

  6. maymee says:

    Just further proof that cats rule, and have always ruled.

  7. OaklandCat — hey, I’m not the guy who spliced Tom Hanks in with Nixon and Lennon.
    This is not the box of chocolates you’re looking for.

  8. totally amazing! I love Maya Deren!!!

  9. two things I learned from this video:

    - they had cardboard boxes in 1947 *

    - ditto CHIPS

    * which leads one to wonder: how were kittens born before cardboard boxes?

  10. Mariser In baskets behind the stove in the kitchen, or under the front porch, or best of all in the hay stack in the barn where they stay warm and cozy

  11. Awwww…I got the warm fuzzies. It’s like a great movie on TCM with kitties!
    BTW, back to modern times, congrats on the Webbies!

  12. I love this. It’s from the online moving image archive, one of the best sites on the web. I think it’s sweet how the mommy and daddy cat take turns parenting.

  13. The beginning of this is so funny. The boy kitteh is all like come on baby, and she turns away and gives him the ear. So he comes over and starts leecking very carefully, and she’s all like tolerating him, and magically she is preggers! The very private life of cats!

  14. Michelle says:

    Ya. Same here. The dad totally was helping and OMGZ!!When he got in the box and mama was licking dad and the babies wuz crawling all over!!111!

  15. beenclawed says:

    That is a true warm fuzzy. Baby kittens being born! Definitely, a very good mama cat. I loved when she carried ‘em over to “a better place to learn to walk.” And when the two kittehs were drinking a saucer of milk, side by side :)

  16. my kittens were born (22 years back) in my mom’s favorite pair of shoes. I thought all good mama cats sought out human shoes for birthing!

    And yeah, daddy cat just rocked in this video. Although I realize that was probably a deliberate staging to enforce the family ideal of the time (since most toms are deadbeat dads-!).

  17. mariaS says:

    I kept expecting Mom Cat to give Dad a whollop, but he was nice and nonthreatening, so she let him stay. They both looked pretty young. Beautiful kittens, 4 white and one tortie!

  18. That little video was so heartwarming. What a good Mom & Dad!!

  19. It’s so cute when the dad peeks over the side of the box @ 9:42!!

  20. Holy 22 minutes, batman!

    I’ll have to watch this later ;)

  21. bunnajenny says:

    bunnahusband is working overseas at the moment and we just watched it “together”…I had started the video when I called him. Our conversation went like this:

    Me: “ohh 6:46″
    Him: “don’t spoil it for me”
    Me: “awwwww 9:42, 9:43, 9:45..”
    Him: “I’m skipping ahead”
    Me: “eeee 11:35″
    Him: “and 12:09″
    Me: “no, it’s all about 13:50″

    and so on and so forth for 22 minutes. We reached the end of the video and hung up.

    Thanks Meg for a sweet phone date :)

  22. So wondeful! Reminds me of our MamaCat having kittens in the 1950’s. Her first batch was on my little sister’s bed; the next ones were always in the laundry basket. Those Mamas just have to move the babies from place to place. Wonderful video!!

  23. Yay for the Kenya look-a-like!! That made this video even better.

  24. I’ve never seen a cat birth before, absolutely amazing! Look how the kittehs instinctively crawl to their mama’s belly for nursing! Nature is wonderful.

  25. Fav part is when the white kitten manages to walk all the way to momma and then starts to wander away and momma puts the smackdown on it – like, no, you’re getting a bath whether you want one or not!
    soooooooooooooo cute
    best 22 mins evar

  26. Drama's Mama says:

    Wait, isn’t this that new movie “Knocked Up?”

    I thought Katherine Heigl was supposed to star in that?

  27. bunnajenna sez,

    “Thanks Meg for a sweet phone date :)”

    ain’t that the sweetest? so glad you got to share it like this.

  28. Well that may be one of the most amazing 22 minutes I have ever spent in my life! I just couldn’t look away…and it went buy so fast! I’ve never witnessed pair bonding like that between a male and female cat. That blew my mind. And in the end when they’re on the scratching post trying to mimic the dad totally made my head asplode. So. i. am. ded.

  29. Noelegy says:

    Mama kitty reached out and squeezed my heart when she was panting with her labor pains.

    Love Daddy cat peeking under the door! AWWW! Now he’s playing with the babies! KITT’NS WALKING!!!

    *asplode*

  30. omg! I mean it went BY so fast, not buy. doi.

  31. sillygirl says:

    The dadcat was a good dad but such a typical man! The poor momcat just spit out a litter of 5 and the dad is all…. leeck me too! Then he teaches the kittens to climb up that pole and mom is all nuh-uh, get down from there!!! But I love how he was all proud….

  32. No sound right? Or is it me?

  33. Mama of Babykins & Babyphat says:

    Babykins was rapt!!!

  34. You are not losing it, Helene. This is not a talkie. And thank god for that. Could you guys imagine if this video were made ten years later we would have had to endure some white guy droning on and on a la “Reefer Madness” and shit? (Although, I’m sure these film makers were probably more sophisticated than that)

  35. BrianMPLS says:

    Anybody else get confused with the “she” and “he” at the beginning?

  36. I just about lost it at the sight of the sleeping babies about half way through, when they’re two weeks old ;-)

    And I agree that mama is about the best ever. A very heart-warming film to be sure!

    Thanks Alysha for finding that!

  37. I’m not hearing anything! Even with the volume turned all the way up! :-(

    –TwoDragons

  38. Peg of Tilling says:

    “When a mommy and daddy cat love each other very much, the daddy licks the mommy’s ear and a few weeks later kittens are born.”

  39. I am soooo tooootallly impressed with how attentive the male cat is in this! Yes he had mom licking his head – but hey look how interested he was in the kittens…and doing the little tail flap thing for them to play with. Just too sweet!!!

  40. OMG I was so worried that the Daddy was going to be mean to the babies! I’m glad it all worked out well! I also expected Momma to give Daddy a wallop, especially when he started batting HER! lol!!

  41. Oh yeah and I too learned they had cardboard boxes back then. LOL I’m glad I’m not the only one that *learned* that from this video! :D

  42. Bunnajenny, that is the most romantic date ever. Makes me want a husband just so I could send him across the ocean with a copy of ¨Babe.¨

  43. Denita – see my post above yours re sound.

  44. carole says:

    Sweet and adorable family. Good parenting. Had to think as I was watching that cats/kittens are the same now as they were 60 years ago.

  45. Rebamae says:

    Hahaha….”Refer Madness” reference!! This one is 1,000 times better though. Students in the 50’s should have been forced to watch this anyday over “Refer Madness”.

  46. Rebamae says:

    Ummm…I mean “Reefer”….

  47. ENH! Absotively fraboolous! Couldn’t take my eyes off the monitor for a nanosecond! Thanks Meg – and Alysha L – for making my day! XO XO

  48. Angela says:

    I never liked cats.

    Ever.

    But now I do. SHHH don’t tell my boyfriend.

  49. Diluculo says:

    Nope, can’t be Kenya – too many Reykjaviks.

    But omigod how cute! That was so wonderful! I would like to be reincarnated as a lady cat so that I can have kittens by the half dozen! I’m meltiiiing….

  50. I listened to this with Huey Lewis’ “Small World” playing in the background…. ahhhhh. This is some of the sweetest film I have ever seen.

  51. I can’t believe I watched the whole thing.

    That’s about the only thing I would devote 22 minutes of internet video time to. Totally freakin’ awesome. Good memories of when my cat had kitt-ayns.

  52. oaklandcat says:

    Welcome to the dark side, Angela. BWAHAHAHA!

  53. R. Moore says:

    This is the most adorable film I have ever seen, and the narrative use of the camera is fantastic.

    Also, towards the end I seriously wondered if these cats were somehow trained. I have never seen such a happy cat family. A happy nuclear cat family at that!

  54. Very cute! That 20 min went by so quickly, I was enthralled.

    I’m with BrianMPLS — I too was a little confused with the “he” and the “she” at the beginning. I think they got it mixed up. All of a sudden, dad was pregnant and looking for a place to have the babies. Oh well, no matter. The rest of it was so worth seeing. I love when the dad was playing with the kids. Yea, dad!

  55. New York Michele says:

    And in other news- Meg’s site won both People’s Choice and the regular ‘Weird’ category in the Webbys! YAY!!!!!!!

  56. moggyfan says:

    Okay, I’ve never said this before, but. . . Squee! Squee! Squee! Squee! Squee!

  57. i NEEEEEEED A WHITE KITTEN!

    i love the old enamelware pan with shredded newspaper for litterbox! that enamelware is semi-collectible now!

    the dad kitty seemed so curious and puzzled when he first got in the Cardboard Box Kitten Room. like “dude, what’s in there?? holy – Kittens!?!?! where’d THESE come from? no WAY!”

  58. ClaudesMom says:

    That was like a trip back in time when my cat Jenny had kittens. This video was soooooo well done! And so cool in B/W.

  59. Martha in Washington says:

    OK, several (alot) posts ago I said I wanted to birth a whole litter of kittens because my ovaries hurt whenever I saw a cute kitten pic…well, now I feel like I have. But I’m sad because I don’t have the babehs to snorgle!

    Our mamas always had their babies on our porch in a big wooden box that my dad built for them. And our St Bernard was always the midwife. (I lived on a farm.)

  60. darkshines says:

    My belly was tensing in time with hers! Fasinating to watch, if a little scary!

  61. I squeed myself, then I bleened and I know that sometime after all of that I asploded! *poofers* !!11!

    Seriously great movie, but bittersweet knowing they’re all gone now (never one to not poop on your parades).

    I have never seen a daddy kitty pay positive attention to kittens before. Impressed I am. I had an office cat WBW that had her first kitten on my foot. That was impressive too, and squishy.

  62. CatFreak says:

    It’s not *that* weird to see a Dadcat being affectionate with his mate and his kittens. 30 years ago, I had a pair of mated cats who shared affection, kittencare, (and, apparently, telepathic communication) just like in this video.

    I’ve even had a neutered male “family friend” (“funny uncle”?) provide affection and companionship to a birthing queen and her kittens.

    Years ago, when my Momcat, Xerox, had kittens, her platonic best friend, a huge neutered ginger male named Twit, howled and slammed into the door of the “birthing room” (a large closet) until we let him in, at which point he washed Xerox carefully, and then helped her eat placentas.

    What a guy! ;->

    He raised those kittens right along with her, teaching them to get into trouble and raise hell.

    I believe it is unneutered male cats who are most likely to harm tiny kittens who aren’t genetically related to them. I figure they go by scent. A marauding hostile tom *will* sometimes murder a litter that he did not sire. :-(

  63. Jess e. I agree with you! Also, when the baby was playing with daddy’s tail! I have to say when momma had her first contraction, I had so much sympathy for her. What a lovely couple they were. I also loved how he ended the clip with a repeat of the beginning. It made me laugh!!!! :)

  64. weensicka says:

    OMG…watching this for 20 minutes was *so* much better than working…

    I love how at first it seemed like the dad was all tentative at first and it seemed like he might end up going on Meowry Pawvitch for a DNA test (Can’t you picture it? “Stop Denying My Litter! I’ll Prove Your the Father of My Kittens!), but then it was all cool and he was like, “Yep, laying here, gettin’ my tailio bitten. Sigh…”

    Hee, hee! I love kittehs!

  65. I’m with R. Moore – this was incredibly well thought out. The narrative! The camera angles! The lighting! Oh, and yes, the cats!!!

    Although, when she put them in the fireplace, I was all “ewwwww!”

  66. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. What a pretty mama cat (yep she’s a Kenya clone) and the papa cat is lovely too. What an amazing couple! It’s so nice to see the papa playing with his kitties and taking care of them. Awwwwwww.

    And the fact that it’s directed by Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren (of “Meshes in the afternoon” fame?) A big plus!

  67. When daddy came up the cardboard box the first time and looked over the edge, I could hear him think “Damn, they look just like me.”

    I agree with Chlyn. Is the fireplace the best place to keep white kittens?

  68. Maya Deren, huh? I never knew kittehs and early American experimental cinema were so close.

  69. Tygress22 says:

    I love when Mama is moving the babies and Daddy is all like “Hey…what’s going on??”

    Too cute!! Not sure i can work anymore today. I want to go snuggle my kitties.

  70. jennifuh says:

    Adorable!

    I love how at the very end, they play the same “courting” footage, like dad’s all, “Hey babe, I’m checkin you out, lickin your face. Get the picture?! Wink!”

  71. When I lived in Japan we had an unneutered male cat who was a real scrapper and the dominant cat of the neighborhood. We planned on taking him back with us, but when we started packing to leave, he mysteriously disappeared. We asked all the neighbors until we found out where he was – he had a family, a female cat with a batch of kittens who all looked like him. The neighbors told us he was there all the time with her. I guess he didn’t want to leave his family.

  72. ThreeCatNight says:

    Sixty years ago, and the sentiment is still so tender and loving. Mama cat is devoted to her sweet little brood. Animals just have a way of getting into your heart. (I’m a mush, what can I say)

  73. Wow, google the filmmakers – they are famous for their avant-garde films. I’m still looking for the story behind the making of this one.

  74. Purple Belt says:

    My fave is when the kittens are playing with dad’s big ol’ tail. The whole thing was sweet as can be. I miss the days when my monsters were bebehs. If there had been sound,it would have been PERFECT, but I could still hear them in my mind. awww

  75. Fascinating, precious, educational, and a true tribute to kitty mommyhood.

  76. That was so precious! I love cats! The last time I saw kittens being born, I was 3 yrs old, and it was in the basement of my childhood house. Our calico mama cat had 2 black, 1 gray, & 2 white kitteh-nins! I remember the birth vividly – placentas and all! I’m 35 now and pregnant w my first baby, which made this video even more endearing. Thanks for posting this awesome video! *Tears* *Sniff*

  77. “Hey bebeh, would you like to have some.. *peeks into the cardboard box* ..what the hell, what are those!?”

  78. *sniff*
    That was beautiful. One of the best flicks from the 50’s.

  79. Catsquatch says:

    What an EXCEPTIONALLY well made film!!!!

    I LOVED it when Daddy Kitty was like “Aww, theyre so CUTE I just wanna PLAY wif em!!!”

    And when he teaches them how to climb the pole….

    Just EXTRAORDINARY!!!

  80. That was about the cutest thing ever! A great little film. Nature at its best. Great to have it documented this way.

    I loved especially how the parents each had their contribution to raising the kittens. The mom for protection and care and the dad for exploring and learning. Sigh. As designed I think.

  81. furbabies says:

    It just doesn’t get better than this. Super duper film.

  82. LesbianNeoCon says:

    Well worth the time!!

  83. OMG so wonderful. I second all the “my fav part”s already listed and add when she moved the kittens to the fireplace and dad went over to check it out and then flopped down to baby sit.

    I was a teeny bit concerned when he first peeked over the edge of the box.. in case he was “disapproving” of the kittens.. but he obvy realized immediately they were his kids. Or kits.

    Overall just the sweetest thing ever. I have a lump in my throat and have to go home now.

  84. I don’t know if it’s been pointed out yet, but Maya Deren was an avant-guard film maker in the mid-20th century. Which is another way of saying she made films with the same (lack of)talent, acting skills and poor production values as pr0n and slasher films, but without the gratuitous sex and voilence.

    But she did have some film-making chops as one can see here, to very good effect. I really love how she gets so intimate with the family. I’ve recommended this to so many people and on a few message boards now. A real treasure.

  85. I think this video has set the record for my longest continuous “Awwwww!” For all about 10 or 15 minutes after the kittens were born (I love the little black one with his white siblings) I was going “Awwww!” every 5 seconds.

  86. R. Moore says:

    When I saw that she put her babies in the fireplace, I knew that cats truly have not changed in the past 60 years. Our cats always put their babies in horrible places. One even birthed in a cupboard about four feet off the ground. We had to move her kittens when they started walking so they wouldn’t fall, and she could barely go up and down for the first week after they were born.

  87. acelightning says:

    I wish it had had sound, so I could hear the tiny kitten meeps! (And, kids, this film was made the year I was born!)

  88. I was having a stressful day when I came upon this gem. My troubles melted away with each passing minute. This is just so sweet. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

  89. Kiragirl says:

    very nice job. I liked the little dark kittie. (In real life I’m totally a dog person, but this was a good one.)

  90. And the fact that it’s directed by Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren (of “Meshes in the afternoon” fame?) A big plus!

    Posted by: Subhangi | May 02, 2007 at 06:57 AM

    Seeing Deren’s name attached to this practically MADE me watch this, and I’m so glad I did. :)

  91. What a beautiful film! That female tabby looks like a very precious cat. So sad to think this was made 60 years ago & those cats are all long gone. But I’m sure their offspring are still with us today.

    What’s nice to see is that what rings true with cats way back then still rings true today.

    When I was born, these young kittens would’ve still been alive, possibly the mom & dad too. Maybe I met them.

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