Her first pregnancy, we’d been to the vet for a checkup. Everything progressing as expected. Now we were at the crunch time.
Cats do it all the time, give birth to kittens. My job? To be there in case, to ensure she had some sustenance afterwards, water especially.
And there we were, she straining, that bulging middle, now tight as a drum. Me sitting on the floor in front of the birthing box. Gentle fingertip massage in circles when she relaxes between contractions. Finally the first tip of a baby cat, appearing. The final pushing and the kitten was out, she cleaning it. A breathing wet kitten so dark still I had no idea if it really was right.
15 minutes later the kitten tucked in warmly, there she was straining again. The second appeared, she was cleaning it. NO! Not right, something is very wrong, she’s eating her baby!
I rescue it, a careful look and I realise what is wrong, a huge hernia!
I wrap the kitten in cloth, keeping it warm. On the phone to the emergency vet. Sensible advice, keep the kitten wrapped and warm, then when they are all born I can bring it in.
Coffee with some brandy for me. 2 more kittens born, cleaned and drinking well.
Back to the hernia-kitten. Its cold; dead. For the best really, this is not a condition easily fixed with a healthy cat at the end of the trouble.
Cleaning up. Mother and babies now on clean towels, a box-heater hanging on the side wall keeping the nest nice and cosy. Mother cat has drunk water, and some egg-yolk and milk. Now lying sleepily with her babies cuddled against her, an occasional lick to keep them stimulated and drinking.
Birth, that perilous passage from potential to life. Every time a miracle.