Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fear

Yes, this is a kitty post, but first, one more reminder: Don’t forget to vote in the Cozy Noir Pre-Contest Contest.

Some of you will recall that Buttons was first due with a litter back in February. And, on February 14, the very day that Buttons and her brother Rascal were born, Buttons delivered.

It didn’t go well. Three beautiful, breech-birth stillborn kittens. I won’t freak you out with the details of my trauma, trying to help with these deliveries.

It was just all-round sad and disturbing.

As much as we hadn’t really wanted to deal with kittens, Kevin felt maybe we should let her try again. I wasn’t so sure. But then, an inability to persuade him to take action resulted in another swelling belly from our resident female cat.

We were well off the mark in estimating the due date this time. Well, okay, about a week. We’d decided this time, we’d confine her to my office, her own food and litter box and all she’d need, no Skittles pestering her. Rascal’s rather indifferent, being fixed.

Well, in the end, she took refuge in the litter box because it was the only place she could get away from Skittles, and delivered Stuart.

I woke Kevin up and got him to help. While I washed Stuart, Kevin delivered Russel on the bathroom floor.

The deliveries of Simon and Rebus were far less eventful. That’s to say she gave birth in the middle of the night, in our bedroom, and we were woken up by frantic kitty crying.

And this time, all was well.

But I couldn’t stop worrying.

We’d read in the cat book how, sometimes, if the mother doesn’t have enough strength to feed all the kittens she’ll try to kill one. This is something I saw with dogs, as a child. The neighbour’s dog, Taffy, gave birth to a large litter. 12 puppies in all. Faster than you can say “gross” she ate three of them.

And because originally Buttons and her babies were in my office, I was watching like a hawk, for any sign of trouble.

Things seemed to be going well, until the day that I came in and there were only three kittens in their area, feeding. I started having a panic attack, looking around for the missing Stuart.

It turned out that Buttons had carried him all the way to the back of the closet and set her down behind the boxes and files and such.

I started pulling everything out, but it wasn’t until my disruption prompted Stuart to cry that I actually let out my breath.

I returned Stuart to the family. And Buttons promptly picked her up (oh, yeah, Stuart is a she) and returned her to the back of the now-empty closet.

As best as we could figure, Buttons had been scared by Skittles. He’d gotten into my office, gotten close to the litter. Of course we removed him almost immediately, but it wasn’t almost enough.

We moved the gang and all of Buttons’ stuff to our bedroom. And again, when Skittles darted in the door once (he’s fast, that little turkey) I returned to the bedroom later to find only three babies in the area.

Simon was in the far corner of our bedroom, on the bottom of the cat climbing house.

I relocated the family again, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. I still wake up with this panic in the morning, rushing to check that they’re all alive.

Something I haven’t done for a while, not since Kevin almost died in Africa. Well, technically, he did stop breathing so maybe he was dead. Don’t ask me. I was almost out of my mind with fear.

And it makes me think about how, a character coping with real or perceived fear, can really go right over the edge.

Because having kittens should be nothing but joy and happiness until the day we have to give some away.

But I still worry about them, and they’re four weeks old tomorrow.






Don’t forget to vote if you haven’t already.

8 comments:

Daniel Hatadi said...

I don't have kids, so when I first got hold of my little four-legged and furry son, Dax, I was a little freaked out that this life was my responsibility.

On the second night, he jumped off a cupboard that was far too high for his little body (not sure how he got up there), hurt his leg, and came into my room crying his head off.

Panicked, I did.

We're lucky we have vet just up the road, and they're open late, so one shot of anti-inflammatory medicine later, and the little fella was fine.

But what a drama.

Just remember to breathe, Sandra. :)

Dr. Lisa said...

Kitties are soooooooo freaking cute; I love that last picture of the kitty pile.

All parents worry.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Daniel, yikes! That would have scared me silly! Isn't it amazing how much we worry over our pets?

Lisa, I'm a parent to 10 at the moment, so I'm super-worried!

For The Trees said...

I'm taking care of Sherry, which is almost a fulltime endeavour, and to which she has added this additional labor called Molly By Golly, the runt of the calico's litter. She's now at ten weeks (I think, I can't count any more) and she's still about the size of Miss Stuart.

But fast. As I walk around, usually in a stupor in the mornings trying to get things moving on taking care of Sherry first thing, I'm in serious danger of actually putting one of my size 10.5 EEE's on or in a flying kitten. So I worry. Pity, it's wasted effort. Little shit is made of rubber bones and shock-absorbent fur. So, she'll learn to avoid my feet and I'll learn not to be so paranoid about stepping on her.

It's life in Central Texas. Plus cats.

For The Trees said...

Oh, yeah, and I'm voting for number Three. Don't forget, Sandra.

For The Trees said...

God, I love going back and putting up comments on posts where everybody else has already given up. I can say almost anything and get away with it!!

Now, Sandra, wait a minute...I didn't mean...no. NO! PUT DOWN THAT 2X4!! WAIT! LEMME GET OUT THE DOOR FIRST!!

For The Trees said...

Is she gone? Out chasing me? Okay, I'm back. Now:
The Movie Of My Life Is Film Noir
So what if you're a little nihilistic at times?
Life with meaning is highly over-rated.

Your best movie matches: Sin City, L. A. Confidential, Blade Runner

And there's nothing Cozy about that!

Isn't it obvious to you people? Sandra's running a Cathouse!! My God, she makes a good Madam!!

WAIT!! WHO SNUCK HER BACK IN HERE? I'M NOT THAT BAD! IT'S JUST THE OBVIOUS!!

(WHACK!)

NO! NO MORE!

(WHACK!)

I PROMISE I'LL BE GOOD! JUST LET ME OUT THE

(WHACK! WHACK! WHACKITY-WHACK!)

DOOR! DAMN!

(WHACK!)

OUCH! I'M GONE!

(WHACK!)

Erik Ivan James said...

How can I follow Forrest in comment? Can't. So, anyway, Good morning Sandra.