There is this friendly grey cat who has kind of adopted us. I'm not sure who she belongs to, but she joins our outside cat, Phantom, for meals. Lately I've noticed she has grown great with child, um, kittens. Yesterday, like any meddling woman, I reached out and touched her belly. I could feel the wriggling little beings inside her; it was thrilling. My childbearing days are over, but I loved, loved, loved feeling my babies move inside my tummy. I don't know if the kitty feels the same way, but she tolerated me and I was appreciative.
This morning I went out to feed Phantom and grey kitty was missing. My heart started racing. Was today the day? I personally can't think of anything more exciting than the miracle of life. I poured the food and kitty came running towards us. But she wasn't round anymore; flabby describes it a bit better. As I looked closer, she was still messy from her recent delivery.
We have kittens? Were they ok? How many were in the litter? Where were they? My maternal instincts totally kicked in. Yes, I know they're furry and have four legs, but they're babies and I'm a mama. Some things you can't turn off regardless of species.
I retraced her steps to the storage area under the deck and heard a cacophony of mews and squeaks and grunts. They had been born in a giant flower pot partially covered by a box. I know Mama did her best and it was a safe place out of the way, but one kitten in particular was still wet and covered in dirt, and baby was struggling.
Arrghh! What do I do? I didn't want to touch them because Mama may reject them, but I didn't want them to suffocate because dirt was stuck to their tiny faces. I ran inside gathered some old rags and put them inside the cat carrier. While mama was still eating, I gingerly picked up the kitten most struggling. I cleaned it off and tried to revive it, and got a feeble mew out of it. One by one I placed the super tiny babies inside the cat carrier. Their mama was back by now and wasn't too pleased with me messing with her darlings. After I got the five of them safe and warm, I tried to move the mommy, but every time I got her in the carrier, she went back to her dirt. Oh, no! Had I meddled too much? After all, cats had been giving birth in dirt for a long time. I gathered her up one last time and placed her with her babies. Success!!! Kittens were nursing and mommy seemed content.
The little struggler was still by itself in a corner. I picked it up once again with a rag and continued to warm it. Of course, my children had wondered where their mommy had gone and ran outside to see what was going on. They were mesmerized by the new little life.
(Side note: Just yesterday the twins were reading about babies in their encyclopedia and were fascinated by the umbilical cord. Here was a new, new, NEW baby with the umbilical cord still attached. Science in action, my friends)
I put baby back in, closer to mom, and it started to snuggle its way in for some milk. Ahh. Happiness.