It’s been a relief this last week to have a happier tail of kittens to tell. Little stray, Betty, arrived with us about three weeks ago. Some lovely caring young women had found her stray in their garden and offered temporary shelter, then got her a place at 8 Lives. As ever we were full, but knowing that Jack was off to his smart new home in a few days time, and the weather forecast was pretty poor, we settled her into the conservatory and hoped she’d hang on to her kits until Jack was in his new home and Betty could have his bedroom.
It’s possible that we suggested hanging on to her kits a little too strongly, as she moved into Jack’s freshly vacated bedroom and nearly a week later still hadn’t given birth. The nightmare of Maya and her kits, and tails from other rescue friends about their young rescue cats having birth problems and needing C sections, sent us running off to see Dr Alistair. He reassured us that apart from a few ear mites and worms, all was well and the babies would be along shortly. Distressingly the products for worms and ear mites can’t be safely used in pregnancy, so we’d had to stand helplessly by while poor Bet clawed at her ears.
Having checked on Bet very regularly since she arrived, it was clear that last Saturday morning something was different. She was in her little crib and quite flustered. I’m sure she’s a first time mum – the look of confusion and pain on her face was heart breaking. She purred a lot, and then growled, and then cried with pain … and of course glared at me thinking I was causing it. It was a scary few moments, flashbacks to the trauma of Chi’s kittens, phone clutched in hand with vet on speed dial …. thank goodness it was Saturday morning and I was home and vets was open.
Moments later a little ginger body had arrived and was being cleaned up. His little cries brought back the birth of Max, still so recent. Thankfully Betty was in a much better position to care for her kits than Maya had been. Shortly afterwards, a little more growling, and a little black and white person entered the world. All cleaned up and sorted. I was expecting more kits, and possibly an odd number given Bet’s size and shape. However after a couple of hours nothing else had happened and I took my chance to go get some lunch.
Returning about half an hour later, I heard Betty growling as I opened the door. My first thought was that despite being sweet and friendly up to this point, she’d become very protective over her kits. When I saw her it was clear they were more growls of pain … and very soon a little black kit made his debut, followed very swiftly by another black and white kit. Things settled down. All cleaned up, kits fluffed up (which made me realised just how prem Max must have been). So I was right that she had more than two kits, but wrong about the odd number. Sat for a long while, chatting to her and admiring them, feeding her in her bed so she didn’t have to get up and leave them. Then went to fetch some clean bedding …. and we sat a while again, just total awe at how gorgeous and tiny and perfect they all were. I explained what I wanted to do, about moving them a little so I could put new bedding in, but Bet laid down again on the dirty bedding, so I waited. More growling ….. and my conviction that we were having an odd number of kits was proved correct as a tiny pale ginger kit slipped into the world.