It had been several years since there had a been a pet cat in our home. We had a long-haired tuxedo cat we lovingly named Taz. He was so adorable, loveable and the complete opposite of what you would think by his name. He passed in 2005 and we loved him so much it just didn’t seem right to bring another cat into our home until …December of last year when we broke down and ended up adopting two litter-mate females. It was time. We were a little out of practice and didn’t get them to the vet in time, to make a long story short, and they both ended up pregnant. We thought that the one female, Patches, had actually gotten pregnant before her sister, Tabby, which would mean each litter would be delivered a week or so apart. No matter when they had gotten pregnant we never expected what happened next.
Last Thursday BOTH cats gave birth to their first litters; first Patches with 5 babies and directly after her last one was born Tabby began delivering her litter of 6 kittens. WHEW! I was busy all day long with kittens everywhere. We were not expecting this at all. We had prepared a single box for the new mother and babies but we didn’t expect to need two beds at the same time. So, I hurriedly obtained two large plastic laundry baskets to accommodate the new families. However the oddities didn’t stop there.
We put Tabby in one basket with her six and Patches in the other basket with her five. That seemed to work well but they didn’t like the idea of having these baskets in the corner of the living room. We figured this out when they kept trying to run off with one or two kittens to hide them back in our bedroom closet, which was where they had first attempted to deliver them. Of course we blocked that pass but had to decide somewhere that would be a good place to keep them away from the main traffic as well as safe, secure and secluded. The bathtub had always been a place the two cats had enjoyed exploring for some reason, so we thought that might work well for the purpose at hand.
We tried it out to see if they would find that it a more comfortable place to care for their young. We soon decided it didn’t matter which kitten was with which cat; we just put five in with Patches in her basket and in the next basket we put six with Tabby. We then closed the shower curtain and gave the new families some privacy.
It wasn’t long before I had to go in and check on the new mommies to see how they were getting along with the new location. To my surprise Patches had left her litter behind in the one basket and was lying in the same basket with Tabby and her six. I was shocked. So I put Patches back in HER basket and tried it again. Again she jumped back into the basket with Tabby and her brood. So, I gave up on the one basket altogether and simply put all eleven kittens in the same basket with Tabby and Patches. It was almost immediate when Patches let me know she was happy by closing her eyes and purring.
They have been this way happily for the last three days, but I know soon they will outgrow that one basket and God only knows what we will have to do next. We may end up giving them the entire tub!
Every time I go in and check on them I am still amazed at how simple nature is; two sisters sharing the care for each other’s babies in peace and solitude. It is so beautiful to see… one will stay with the litter and let the other one come out for a “breather”, then they will switch and the other one will come out for a little socializing with our family before they settle back in together again to share in the nurturing of their furry little clan.
Yes, I know I’m a city gal and never lived on a farm but I have had the experience of helping a few other pets with their delivery and raising of their young, but I really think you will agree that this one is one for the records….a once upon a lifetime pet story, at least it is for the books in MY life.