MAMA KITTY’S DIFFICULT DELIVERY

A pregnant cat was dropped off at St. Francis Animal rescue last week by an older couple who said she was feral and that they had been feeding her. As Mama’s abdomen was huge and stretched to capacity, the couple assumed that she was overdue and the fetuses were dead. This lovely, small golden tabby was extremely friendly, purred and allowed us to rub her enormous tummy. An X-Ray revealed 9 kittens at full term and alive per our Veterinarian, Dr. Nicole Kushmaul of Veterinary Care of Venice. It appeared as if she would deliver within 24 hours so with a great deal of coaching from Dr. Nicole, I took her home. We named her Gemma and by 11:00 p.m. that night she began labor. I stayed to keep a watchful eye since she was high risk and occupied myself in between kitten births with ironing clothes. By 4:00 a.m. there were 9 tiny kittens; 7 dark tabbies and 2 orange little ones. One tabby was not viable and only survived about 30 minutes. Gemma was malnourished and I was told not to expect much milk production, which was the case. She did have four nipples that had a watery, milky fluid that was likely colostrum. I helped alternate the remaining 8 kittens on the nipples so that they could get some of the nourishment and immunity from Mama. I had kitten replacement milk ready and these tiny ones immediately began nursing from a bottle within a few hour. Only one did not take to the bottle but did accept milk in small amounts from a syringe. Gemma was tired but ate a big bowl of wet food and settled in with her kittens. I set my alarm for two hours later to check on the kittens and give them a feeding. It was early Friday morning and I knew it would be a weekend without much sleep.

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