When the stray cat came to our house she had looked more kitten than adult and the caved-in tummy indicated she was starving. She must have liked our food because she decided to stay. Months passed. Sonny and I had assumed the good food was making her balloon up. Who’d have guessed the slowly enlarging tummy contained babies?
Two days before the kitties came, Pudding—that’s what we call her—mewed incessantly and would only be quiet when someone was with her. Sonny’s friends said that it’s normal for tabby cats to be restless when the babies are coming and that we should just leave the cat alone. So we left her in a spacious box to have her kitties.
I guess Pudding didn’t know she was going to be a mother. When the first kitty’s head got stuck and refused to come out, Pudding must have thought she was constipated. She went under the bush and tried to rub her behind on the ground. I put her back in the box but she jumped out and hid under the car. The baby stubbornly refused to come out.
“Miao… miao…,” Pudding formed the sound with her mouth but no sound was coming out. OMG, I thought, she’s growing weak…the baby is stuck…what are we going to do?
I didn’t want a dead cat so Sonny and I put Pudding in her box and rushed her to the vet for advice. The stuck kitty was pulled out, laid on the table and pronounced dead. The computer screen showed there were three more babies and we were told mama cat was growing very weak. I had to make a decision quickly: a C-section or a dead cat?
“How much for a C-section?” I asked. I knew there was a fifty ringgit note in my bag.
“RM380,” the receptionist answered. My eyes must have popped out because she was quick to add, “We accept credit cards.” That would make a big dent in my purse but I couldn’t picture myself digging a hole in the backyard. Pudding had been generous with us, sharing a bird she had caught, a mouse, several cockroaches and a few grasshoppers.
|Pudding with her 3-day-old kittens|
“How long will it take for her to recover?”
I looked at Pudding half lying and half sitting down on the table. A nurse held her by her fore-legs. Her eyes were wide open but she was so quiet and docile that I thought she had been given a jab to sedate her but she hadn’t.
An hour after her operation, Sonny brought her home. She was groggy and lying down in the middle of the box. I was sure that the ignored newborns, arranged like a row of dead fish in a corner of the box, didn’t have a chance of surviving the night. I stayed with them and ran a damp paintbrush on their tiny bodies to simulate licking. Soon one kitten was crawling. The other two lay close to each other. At least they kept each other warm.
|The kittens at 17 days.|
It must have been about 3am when mama cat let the kitties crawl to her teats. She even started licking them! Finally I could go to bed knowing I’ve done all I could for one tabby cat and her new kittens.
Note: I'm very grateful to everyone on Facebook's Animal Friends who responded to my call for help and gave valuable advice.