Ever had one of those dreams where you suddenly realize you just had a baby? Didn’t even know you were pregnant, maybe gave birth in the bathroom, like those stories of uneducated high school girls who went to the loo with a tummy ache and then Shazam! New baby!)?
That’s kind of the feeling around here since Friday night, when Twombly, the feral kitten who came in the back door in June, gave birth to five kittens in the quiet dusty dark beneath Reeve’s bed.
We hadn’t realized she was pregnant til last week. (Hadn’t even realized she was female til mid-January!) Because she’s still very afraid of us—except when we’re horizontal—our attempts to catch her in order to get her to the vet to get spayed were embarrassingly unsuccessful. (In retrospect, though, we now realize she was already pregnant the first time we made an appointment for her, back in early January.)
So last week Tim and I pretty much simultaneously came to the same eleventh-hour conclusion: boy, that kitty sure is FLUFFY . . . Because she’s never allowed us to pick her up, it just didn’t seem that obvious. (Seems laughable, now, our cluelessness. That large, lumpy “just went shoplifting” midsection. . .)
And then Friday night, Tim heard the squeaks of little ones.
Since Mama Kitty had chosen a chilly and near-impossible-to-reach spot (we had been advised to handle the kittens as early as possible to help with their socialization and so that Twombly doesn’t “teach” them to be feral like her) Tim and I spent a couple of hours Saturday morning crawling around under and over bed (mattress is elegantly held up by cinder blocks, so we couldn’t just move the bed—and too low to crawl very far beneath), grabbing kittens and transferring them to a nice warm towel-lined box.
And then panicking when we realized she wouldn’t go near the box, wouldn’t let us catch her to put her in the box, kept retreating to hide under the bed. We were afraid her fear of us would override her young maternal instinct, nervous that we’d screwed everything up by moving the kittens . . . That old familiar parental panic: What have I done?! I don’t know what to do!
Of course our concerns were unfounded. Of course her maternal instinct was intact. Of course. Silly us. She finally joined her babies long enough for me to take a few photos—and then moved them to a different spot under the bed when I wasn’t looking.