Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Night Pixie Popped

N.B. This post contains things that may induce an 'Ewww'-response. Read on at your own risk. The remainder of these italics contain a spoiler for those who intend to read on. For the squeamish, a summarised version is that my cat had kittens, got an infection and is now being treated. The kittens are cute. (Of course!)

Tuesday night, when I wrote that Pix was in labour, I don't think I really believed it was happening. It seemed all rather indefinite, like if you scrunched your eyes up and looked at her at an angle of 330 degrees for long enough, yeah, maybe she was. When I arose on Wednesday morning, you could have adopted aforementioned posture for as long as you liked and detected nothing. Grrr.

On Wednesday night, she was behaving as she had on Tuesday night, once more, and I started to think this was just some new night-time behaviour designed to taunt me and my lack of control. No fun. In a huff, I went off to bed and didn't give it another thought. (Okay, I don't recall being in a huff, but it does sound effective, methinks.)

During the night, the little minx came a-visiting me in bed. I assumed this was for a cuddle and so let her poke her head under the covers to cuddle against my chest. It's not normally tolerated behaviour, but it was cold and I wasn't going to emerge to pat her. She there we were, spooning, as I sleepily stroked her down the length of her back.

On about the third stroke, I froze in that awful shock of instant wakefulness. Something was wet. (Go on, say it. Ewww!) I quickly turned on the lamp and looked down to find some markings on my sheets. In a lightning move, I grabbed my robe and got it underneath her. Five minutes later, with a few pants and a couple of pained miaows (not much - sorry Violet!) the first kitten was delivered in my armpit.

Yes! My armpit!

Over the next 90 minutes or so, another 4 kittens were delivered, along with placentas, which Pixie gratefully devoured. She stayed in the crook of my arm throughout, at several points resting her head on my bicep and bracing her hind paws aginst my stomach as she bore down. I guess this is what a father feels like. It was gross, sure, but also fascinating and touching. This cat had been with me for less than three weeks and yet the place she chose to be - the safest and warmest place she assessed - was with me. That's pretty incredible, you've gotta admit.

So, the Pixettes were doing well. One is a pale silver tabby with a fine stripe, another is a typical silver tabby with a very fine stripe and there's one that is silver tabby on its legs, belly and mask but black/charcoal elsewhere. Very cute and unusual. The other two are more typical tabbies, but I'm starting to think they have more grey in them than I thought at first. One has white socks and so all are distinguishable. No-sox and Typical silver were fighting hard over a nipple this afternoon, so yes, personalities are starting to show. Sox is adventurous and so on.

So, all were well, tolerated being moved out of my bed so I could get cleaning and were feeding nicely. At about their 24 hour mark, Pixie decided they should all come back to bed with me - I will learn to close my bedroom door - and I had to put my foot down. The previous night's sleep deprivation was sorely felt. Back to their box they all went.

The next afternoon, Pixie was behaving strangely: panting and occasionally hissing faintly. As looking at her in puzzlement wasn't making much difference, I decided to ring the vet.

Now, I was very nervous about doing this. Well, I wasn't nervous about using the phone or anything, but I was concerned about looking an utter fool. As a result, my patter went (embarrassingly) a bit like this. "Hi, I'm sorry if I'm wasting your time with a stupid question. You know I'm probably just a nervous first-time mother, but..." Okay, I know I'm not the mother, but it was quicker to say than the real situation and they knew what I meant...

Anyway, before we knew it, we were packed up to go to the vet: Pickwick, Pixie and the Pixettes. I was still quite sure I'd be told it was nothing and look like a slightly poorer utter fool. Everyone cooed over the kittens as required whilst the vet clicked her tongue at Pix and hauled her off for x-rays. Something was in there that shouldn't be and was causing problems.

As it turned out, it was not another kitten (phew!) but her uterus had not contracted as it aught have. I didn't know that cats regained their figures immediately (sorry again, Violet) so hadn't been alarmed by her still swollen stomach as I aught have been. Instead of being all little and taught, it was distended and filled with pus. (Another Ewww moment) X-rays don't show if it's because she didn't pass all the placentas - I wasn't exactly counting - or if a freak bacteria caught her out. Her temperature was up and she was still bleeding, which the vet assured me I wouldn't have noticed as she would have cleaned herself regularly.

So, you go to the vet and everything's hunky-dory. Right? Not necessarily. The next 24 hours were critical. She was right to go home with an injection there and then, and antibiotics twice daily for the next four weeks, but she could still go 'toxic', requiring instant surgery that could interrupt lactation. Yikes. Bottle feeding five kittens every two hours! The other problem was that I was going to spend a lot of the next 24 hours out of the house. J was promptly recruited and trained to look for signs of toxicity and given instructions about the vet, who was on standby, more-or-less. She was more than happy to do so cos it meant she got to look at the kittens a lot.

As you may have predicted, she made it through the 24 hour mark and slimmed down a lot in that time. That's Pixie, by the way. Not J or the vet. A miracle! She has learnt to hate tablets, which I suspect she'd previously had little experience with.

The real miracle is, however, the strong likelihood that, had I not adopted the preggers Pixie, she and the kittens would have perished.

And that is just too sad to contemplate.

Time to go and check on them again. :-)


Blogger SingleFin said...

PHOTOS DAMMIT! Ok, that sounds rude. I'll rephrase it.... Could we see some pictures of the little fwuffy kittens at some convenient time please? We'll all be on our best behaviour! Photos of placenta we can do without though... :)

11:43 pm  
Blogger verbs said...

The real miracle is, however, the strong likelihood that, had I not adopted the preggers Pixie, she and the kittens would have perished.

And that is just too sad to contemplate.

But you did adopt her...the outcome being such a more delightful thing to contemplate. :)

11:54 pm  
Blogger Violet said...

That was a refreshingly different birth story! Hope the feline family is fine.

8:01 am  
Blogger jon said...

pic of cute puppy kitten surfing tonight looking at pic of cute puppy kitten info, I happened across your blog. I had to say that I agree with it all!

Now back to my search for pic of cute puppy kitten information!


11:43 am  

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