Birth


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.

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19 thoughts on “Birth

  1. Was it a very expensive cat?
    I’ve watched cats give birth, but I have never given the mothers egg yolk afterwards, or rubbed her while giving birth – usually just leave them – nature runs it’s course…
    It is quite amazing to be there though, see the wet little ones being born, mom cleaning them – kinda yucky too!!!
    Sometimes wish I had a female cat, just to see that happening again.
    But then I’ll have to care for them again…
    Lovely description Sidey 😉

    1. She was an Abyssinian. As they tend to have small litters and are quite hard to get I allowed her to have a few properly bred litters to repay what I got in having her in my life.

      1. LOL maybe otherwise Irish Wolfhounds would have taken over the progress in nuclear physics by now.

        … wait – Irish wolfhounds? and with no assistance each lands on its head, first thing?… hmm…

  2. Sorry I missed this theme. Love this post.
    Apart from seeing my own daughters born, I was once midwife for an Irish Wolfhound whose system was to give birth standing up – and that breed stand up a long way! I had to be ready to catch each of them on the way down, or they would have landed on their heads.

  3. Very moving. Scary too, it reminds us that cats are predators. The instinct to eat a deformed kitten. But – the healthier instinct, what do we do with our deformities? We torture them through a life on instruments, in padded cells, in wheelchairs, even those who are only physically deformed face a lifetime of discrimination and funny looks, and loneliness! It makes one wonder which species is cruel and which is kind.

    1. It was for the best, I have only ever heard of one being successfully operated on and that survived, but it was always sickly.

      I came to understand that for the first about a week, you can expect the occasional kitten not to make it, and not to be distressed by it. Nature’s way of weeding out the weakest ones.

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