Warning: This story is sad but was part of our house remodeling story. Since this blog is intended to help us chronicle the experience I thought I would include it. It does have a happy ending in the next post.
Our wonderful friends who housed us during our bathroom remodel had received two kittens as birthday gifts for their daughters the year before. When we were at the house I began noticing that they seemed to be getting a little plump. I told my friend that I thought they were pregnant and offered to keep them at our house until they had their kittens. Since they were outdoor cats we were afraid the coyotes would get the kittens. I wasn't too paranoid about two outdoor cats living in our house since it was pretty much torn apart at that point and the only room that had been renovated was the bathroom. Princess and Smokey made themselves right at home and seemed to enjoy getting fatter and lounging around our house.
We weren't sure when they would have their kittens but one day Princess started meowing loudly at me while I was taking my morning shower. I got out of the shower and camped out beside her while she went into labor. She had miscarried one kitten already but we could feel that the others were still alive in her belly and had read this could happen.
After a while of being in labor she had two of the tiniest kittens I had ever seen. One was black and one was a calico. We named them Midnight and Dixie.
We knew they were very small and they seemed to have trouble nursing. They could barely move around or hold their heads up but they did scoot up close to their mother and try to nurse.
Princess began ignoring them and we decided we would have to bottle feed them of they were going to stay alive. We took them to the vet and got the right formula. We found out that they were premature and didn't have enough fur to regulate their own body temperature so we kept them in a box with a heating pad which we monitored religiously to make sure it was at the right temperature. I took them to work with me and fed them every two hours. We barely slept at all for three days because we were feeding them through the night and making sure they were ok.
Sadly, after three days they slipped away. Midnight was in my hands when he stopped breathing and I burst into tears. A couple hours later Dave brought Dixie over to me and said that she was gone too. Neither of us are particularly big animal people but to see life slip away like that in your own hands is heartbreaking. We just cried and tried to reassure each other that we had done all we could and that they knew they were loved.
We put a piece of their blanket in a box that our checks had come in and laid them together in the box. Dave made a little cross for them in the back yard.
Over the next week Princess had four more stillborn kittens that were about twice the size of our little premies. Needless to say I was pretty nervous about Smokey having kittens and wasn't sure if we could go through another experience like this one. Luckily that is a much happier story and one I'll share on the next post.