Sunday, August 3, 2014

Halo, Our Stray #Cat, And The Birth Of Her #Kittens by Karen Rose Smith

I've been around cats and kitties all my life.  I remember finding baby kittens in the barn behind hay bales and watching them grow.  But I'd never been a cat mid-wife before...or witnessed the miracle of the birth.

Halo took a nap in our yard on Mother's Day and our relationship progressed from there.  After weeks of patiently sitting by while we fed her, she came to trust me and my husband.

Blog: Taking in a Stray Pregnant Cat -- Halo is her Name

Blog: Halo--A Mama Cat in Waiting

After a visit to our local vet and later to the emergency vet (she had digestive problems and I was afraid she was dehydrated), we found out she was indeed pregnant and brought her inside.  A special diet of ground rice and chicken with some pumpkin put her on the road to recovery for her and her kittens.  I read everything I could find on a pregnant cat and the delivery and birth of kittens.  But the best laid plans...

Unlike the article I read, she ate normally up until the births.  I had set up two bins for nesting and she had been visiting both of them.  She chose the one under my desk which was the darkest and quietest place. Everyone told me, including the vets, that the process was a natural one and we shouldn't have to intervene, but--

Mama in waiting next to one of the queening beds.

Mama in waiting
Halo meowed, went into her bin and in no time at all, the first baby was being born.  The sac was already broken and she cleaned the newborn quickly.  The second and third sacs were delivered quickly too, only we could see one of the sacs held an underdeveloped stillborn.  We removed that and she immediately licked her second live kitty out of the sac.  But...the placenta wan't delivered.  I waited half an hour and then called the emergency vet.  I knew the placenta couldn't stay inside because it would make Halo sick.  The ER vet was terrific on the phone and talked my husband and I through tugging gently on the placenta to draw it out.  We had to be very careful because that could cause a tear in Halo's uterus.  Fortunately it came out.

Halo and her first born kitten

Halo and her second born

Again, with everything I read, the babies were supposed to be sucking within the hour, but they weren't. Another call to the vet and she told us to give it a few hours.  However, four hours later, Halo delivered her third live kitty.  She was worn out and we had to help break the sac.  She slowly took over licking the baby. But again the placenta wasn't delivered.  After another half hour and gentle tugging, the baby was squealing because it was still attached.  I called our local vet and she told us to bring everyone in right away.  The placenta was delivered and she gave Halo an injection of Oxytocin.

Halo was totally stressed out and I was concerned she would no longer accept her kittens after being handled by us and the vet.  But she gathered them to her and we left her alone, checking on her often.  Two of the babies latched on and began suckling.  Her first born couldn't seem to get the hang of it.  I had prepared kitten formula.  After putting some on his lip and one of Halo's nipples and guiding him, he finally started suckling about ten hours after the birth.

The kittens are five days old now, and have gained over an ounce each.  They are growing before our eyes and are truly a miracle.

Halo and her kittens at four days

©2014 Karen Rose Smith


Karen Rose Smith's romance website
Karen Rose Smith's mystery website 


Deborah Blake said...

You were a TERRIFIC kitten midwife, and Halo and her babies were lucky to have you.


Diana B said...

We've had many cats who have given birth under our care and never had to assist as you did. I wasn't aware that so many things could potentially go wrong. I always thought natural instinct took over. Halo and her babies are blessed to have had you as a mid wife. Congratulations to all. They are so adorable. I just want to cuddle them all. Please keep posting pictures.

Nancy said...

Karen, you and your husband handled being midwives so well. I know I would have been at a loss. Kudos!