Hi readers and fellow bloggers – I hope you are all doing well.
This is a blog about how our cat Seven came to live with us, the slightly crazy account of her giving birth, and an update on the kittens which will be ready for new homes in about 6 weeks.
Recently I mentioned in my blog that we adopted a stray kitten who turned up on our street. Or rather to the point SHE adopted US!
The tiny little thing ran over to us we stepped out of the car, mewling and then purring frantically and rubbing her tiny tortoiseshell head, and body against our hands, purring manically.
We discussed that she may be a stray as she was very thin and that we would ask around the neighbourhood and ask if she belonged to anyone as well as calling the local vets.
It was a pitifully cold night and my heart bled for this poor tiny creature with seemingly no where to go. Perhaps she had gotten lost, or simply her ownders had moved and left her behind!
With big dowy eyes I looked up at JJ and said – “Look how hungry she looks, she must be freezing. lets at least give her a meal and some water and then let her go back out”
Sighing he agreed and as we prepared food, the kitty hungrily ate a bowlful of food and lapped up the water as I stroked her. In that moment she had decided “I’m not going no-where! You humans are my feeders and pets now!”
It seemed destined that this would be the case, as having asked around the neighbourhood and calling several local vets we were unable to discover where she had come from, and even when we did try put her outside to “find her previous owners” she just came in through the catflap again!
Over the following weeks the little character refused to go elsewhere and even when taken a few doors to play with the children ran straight back around to us! She was determined that we were her humans and made her place in our hearts!
Eventually we decided to name her Seven (after my favourite Star trek character from the Borg Collective in the Voyager Series) and quickly bonded with one of my other cats Tabstick, who despite her initial reservations and confusion, had a whale of a time chasing round and playing with her.
Within weeks, it seemed that Seven was not quite the young kitten we had previously presumed she was due to her tiny size, but merely very under nourished! She sprang up in size in just weeks after regular meals so we decided to get her spayed asap!
Again this is where a comedy of errors begin:
*Appointment to the vets number 1: We get into the the car to find that the battery was flat and by the time we manage to get it going surgery time at the vets was over.
*Appointment number 2. We became stuck in traffic, in what seemed to be the busiest night of traffic on the roads I have seen round here EVER! Hence appointment number 2 would need reshceduling.
*Appointment 3. We come home ensuring plenty of time to allow for any dramas/bizarre twists of fate (certain of having locked the catflap) to find the cat flap open and Seven no where in site, despite the fact that she never tends to go out in the afternoon!
So with JJ calling the vets VERY apologetically to explain circumstances, we reshceduled her appointment once more. (with me worrying they’d be thinking us a pair of nutters at this point, luckily we have used them sveral times before for spaying and various things. The vets assured us this happened all the time – cats – law unto themselves aren’t they! 😉
We joked between ourselves that she must have known and would probably be back in as soon as it was ‘safe to come in.’
As the law of Sod would have it and just one hour after Seven’s appointment should have taken place that evening, she jauntily strolls in proudly as if to go “Oh did I ruin your human’s tiny plans” and looking mightily pleased with herself.
*Appointment number 4:
We stay in all day keeping an eye on Seven. We close AND block off the catflap ensuring no exit, despite her yowling , stalking up and down
angrily and flashing us looks of disgust.
So far so good……JJ takes pops Seven, puts into the spacious fleecy cat cage, and takes her to the vets who then says “I’m 99% sure she is already pregnant. Bring her back to be spayed and chipped when she is finished weaning”!
Within a short time, Seven’s belly was bloated and looking heaviky full with kittens. Despite the initially unwanted circumstances, her confused looks provided much hilarity and amusement when she realised she was to heavy to pull off any of her previous tricks. Her facial expressions are the most varied and expressive I have ever seen in a cat!
When she started showing signs of ‘nesting’ looking for places to give birth, we made her a box lined with warm fleeces in an alcove where she would be safe to give birth.
Then one evening as I had just tucked up to go to sleep she seeemd increasingly affectionate. She ran into her little box for a brief second.. then paused, span back round and onto the bed.
The utterly bizarre yet amazing birthing experience of Seven which took place.
She purred loudly as I stroked her head and then I felt a contraction run through her and she yelped. She started to purr again, crawled a little closer to me and then to my utter amazement this little amniotic sack fell onto the sheet with a wriggling bundle inside. I watched in fascination as she licked away the sack and cleaned the bundle until it resembled a newborn kitten, only with much more fur than usual & larger than normal too – these were obviously well over-due kitties!
Then out fell another bundle, and another….and another….little shrieks and squeaks filled the air as these little lives came into existence and they cried for their mothers milk.
Now one thing that you may not yet have imaged yet whilst reading this is the utter carnage. This was quite a gory scene here which would probably turn most stomaches, although I found myself concerned only for Seven and her little and unphazed by the unexpected bloodbath at bedtime!
Seven had licked the kittens entirely spotless but there was blood and trails of amniotic sack everywhere, including the white t shirt I had put on before bedtime (well at least you know now it’s not always when you eat pasta or something red that the law of Sod comes into play!).
If someone had described this situation to me weeks previously I would probably have found the thought quite horrifying, but in that instance all I wanted was for Seven and her litter to be OK. I realised that moving them could be disastrous as Mother Kittens can abandon their litter if they are moved whilst giving birth as it interrupts the natural cycle and their instincts.
So instead I said to Seven in hushed tones that she was doing brilliantly and stroked her reassuringly. She gave me her special blink (which cats seem to do to convey thanks or love).
So blood splattered and looking like an extra from a horror hammer, I watched one of natures miracles take place before my very eyes. In a way I felt honoured that Seven trusted me enough to come to me for support as cats rarely give birth next to humans!
Two tiny thorughly fluffed up little ginger and white urchins wriggled and snuggled up to me for warmth, whilst Seven whilst still giving birth and Seven looked at me as if to say ‘thank you’.
Then as she was cleaning another kitten sack, the final kitten came out and she ran from one half cleaned sack to the other in despair. There were little shrieks from some of the hungry bundles. Seven was obviously extremely exhausted by this point and didn’t no where to go so opted for the final kitten cleaning it up.(Her instincts obviously telling her it was the strongest of the two) I could see the lone kitten in it’s sack struggling for air and tried to encourage Seven to clean it’s airways by pointing at it and saying ” Go on girl this one needs to breathe. Alas her exhaustion really set in fast and she laid on her side with the other the other kittens (aside from the two cuddled into me) bundled round her feeding rapidly.
I had to act fast – luckily I also have wet wipes and tissues to hand so lifting the blanket in a tent like fashion to keep in warmth, I grabbed some tissue and began cleaning mucus from the lone kitten’s mouth. Out came a louder shriek from what was starting to look more like a little black and white kitty. Seven attempted to make her way towards him but backed off as he shrieked again and was again bundled by the kittens feeding on her. This was a huge littler for a cat, especially of her young age it is was evident she couldn’t cope.
A little fighter
The poor lone kitty started to go still and blue, but there was no way in hell I was going to let this kitty die on us. I sprang into action and took some clean kitchen roll and started to massage it, then breathed some air into it’s mouth, then started gently rubbing on it’s chest to expel air. I was cautious about touchiing him with my fingers as I am aware that some cats will reject a kitten from it’s litter if they were handled and their scents were confused (as they do not recognise the kitten as it’s own then) but to do nothing would mean this kitty would die!
I’m no vet and the only similar experience I’ve had is hand rearing kittens with JJ from 3 days old, but maybe some kind of maternal instinct kicked in (I love animals but don’t wish to have children) so I cleaned, dried and more importantly kept the kitten warm, by stimulating it with rubbing and circular motions until it went from blue to stirring again.
My heart lifted as I saw signs of life from this little soldier, but he was to weak to crawl towards Mummy cat. Carefully cradling him in kitchen roll and supporting his little head and neck head, I lifted him up to one of Seven’s spare teets. It wasn’t an easy feat by any means, but eventually I had him in position and suckling on the teet. When the poor little might pulled away, temporarily sated. I nestled him in to Mummy cat and her troup along with the other two which had nestled beside me, and hoped that Seven would accept him and finish cleaning him throughly.
Whilst all this was happening JJ popped in a few times asking if all was ok (for some of the reason some of our cats are closer to JJ and some to me, but Seven has always had a closer bond with me so he was reluctant to interfer or create any further disturbance.)
I told JJ that the umbilical cord was still attached to the little black and white kitten; and he reassured me that Seven would remove that in her own time, and as long as he/she could breathe and suckle now all would be fine. So cradling the warm blankets round to ensure their warmth I looked on, feeling emotional, yet relieved that my ‘animal hospital’ style experience and my somewhat needed intervention was over.
At some point a huge wobbly, blobbly gel type thing appeared. Realising that this must be the placenta, I chuckled remembering a scene from a favourite show of mine called ‘Misfits’ where the afterbirth comes out of a guy’s girlfriend and he screams “It’s an alien!” and throws it across the room.
Like most cats do, Seven ate this as it contains many good nutrients which boosts her body after giving birth and allows her to supply the litter with good nutritional milk. It wasn’t with so much of a fascinated horror that I watched, but somewhat amazement at how animals do all these things instinctually. The rigour at which she ate this told me she was building herself back up to feed the kittens, and that she was no to weak to eat or feed.
Once I was certain that Seven was going to be fine, and her litter were fed and snuggled into her, I called JJ who made up a new box lined with plastic sheeting, sheets and fleecing. He cut away what was once the sheet on the bed and we gentle maneaovered them into their new temporary nest.
For the sake of hygiene he disposed of the bedding and moved the mattress into another room to be bleached (as strong chemicals should not be used near kittens as it can harm or even kill them).
I had by now removed my hammer horror style costume of blood splattered t shirt and trousers, and went off for a hot shower whilst JJ kept an eye on the box for me. That night I insisted on sleeping near the kittens and Seven in case their were any further difficulties. Other than a slightly stiff back from sleeping on a duvet covered floor neaby the box for a few nights, there were no further complications.
Seven and the Kittens now – who are 2 and a half weeks old.
The kittens are about two and a half weeks old now and all well and dandy, most of their eyes are open and they have been exploring the box these past few days.
Even the little black and white soldier who nearly didn’t make it is growing stronger by the day, and they truly healthy, beautiful creatures. There is one pretty tortoiseshelle kitty (like it’s Mum) an adorably cute little black and white one with pink ears and 4 fluffy white and ginger kitties.
It is with sadness in my heart that we will need to part with them in six weeks when they are old enough, but we already have other cats, so will be looking for loving homes for the kittens.
Although it will be a little heart renching it will be neccessary, and at least it will bring some pleasure to cat lovers who have been unable to find kittens (like we did many years ago). Thinking it may bring some joy and happiness to someone elses life makes me smile.
I will be posting some images soon of Seven and her kitties soon. If you are an animal lover, who can provide a warm, happy, safe environment for a kitty, please get in touch so you may see and visit the kittens first and discuss any questions/queries.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this. One thing I do wish to emphasize is that unless you have a crazy cat like Seven who chose to climb into my bed to give birth, generally you should not interfere with the birthing process as handling the kittens before they are old enough can cause the mother to reject/abandom them.
If you know of anyone who might benefit from reading this, or anyone who is an animal lover looking for a kitten please feel free to share this article.
Purring purtles of Love