A Foster's Tale
I was a new kitten foster who always seemed to have sick kittens, so I signed up for an all-day National Kitten Coalition workshop at a shelter in Northern Virginia. One segment was how to help a mama cat give birth to her kittens. When the shelter I foster for asked me to take a mom-to-be, I said, “sure.”
I asked the shelter’s staff for advice and all they would say was “just stay out of the way, Tuxie will take care of everything.” But thanks to the workshop, I knew there could be more to it than that. I brought Tuxie home, dug out my workshop handouts and slides and poured over the instructions. I got her “nest” ready and a supply of other items the workshop suggested I have on hand: gloves, dental floss, scissors, etc. Over the next two weeks Tuxie got bigger and bigger, until she looked like she’d swallowed a bowling ball.
Then it happened: at 1:00 in the morning, teeny meows emanated out of the bathroom. I put on my gloves, laid out my supplies -- and stayed out of Tuxie’s way. She popped out one kitten after another.
But Tuxie did not take care of everything. She did not chew them free from the placenta. All became a tangled mess of umbilical cords attached to this slimy placenta sac which she was most certainly not dealing with. In fact, Tuxie was not quite sure what to do with the resulting wad of kittens. But thanks to the Kitten Coalition workshop I did! I grabbed my scissors and started snipping away, counting the kittens as I went: eight! I placed them onto a clean no-pile (as instructed) blanket in the shower stall. Then Tuxie “got it:” she went over to them and they started nursing.
All eight grew to be happy, healthy, adopted kittens. The National Kitten Coalition gave me the tools – and confidence – I needed to take on what has turned out to be the most amazing kitten fostering experience I’ve ever had.
~ Laura B.
Washington DC area kitten foster