Upon making the decision to retire this past summer, I completed the paperwork to become a “foster parent” for the Humane Society of Kent County. Shortly after I received a call asking if I would foster an expectant mother. Would I? You bet! So I picked up a beautiful gray striped kitty who was showing signs of impending motherhood. The staff at the Humane Society truly gave me everything I needed. A large crate (easy to set up), and food, blankets, litter, feeding bowls, etc. The expectant mother appeared to immediately like our “set up” and quickly became part of the family. Having four cats of various ages in the household, and a spoiled Cavalier King Charles, she quickly staked her claim and was an easy guest. We waited……and waited…and she became very rotund, eating like a horse and loving all the attention. At night we closed the door to the guest room, aka: the maternity suite (sign very clearly on the door for all to see and observe her need for privacy).
In the morning my spouse and I would slowly open the door, surely she had delivered by now!!! But no, she would simply stroll out and say hello and eat her breakfast and settle in for the day. The other cats soon “worked it out” and everyone had their space and did as they pleased (as we all know cats do). Days passed. She grew larger but appeared comfortable. During the day she made herself at home.
One evening, upon returning home from work, I saw she was on the guest room bed raking the covers down and clearly making her “nest”. Hurriedly I moved her to her crate, leaving the crate door open, but closing the entry door. She didn’t need an audience! We heard a “MEOW!!” and sure enough a slippery, little, dark striped kitten was born…two more “Meows” and we had a solid colored gray, a striped gray and then very quietly two more striped kittens were born. Within 20 minutes she had the litter…five kittens. Surely when Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara “a cat is a better mother than you” he had witnessed a cat having kittens. This mother (Who knows if this was her first litter?) was the ultimate mother, grooming the kittens and settling in rapidly. The father is unknown and evidently just passing through, so kitten support did not seem likely.
My little Cavalier, Tillie, however was wide eyed, and after hearing the “meows!!!” kept looking at me as if to say “mom do something”. A self-appointed midwife.
Then the fun began – to watch these kittens thrive and grow – what joy! As they grew out of the room they would bounce, anxious to explore the house.
As the wonderful staff at the HSKC pointed out, it was not my job to find homes but to “foster”. Literally the best of both worlds, helping out and insuring safety and health for a very sweet mother to be. All in all, a wonderful and rewarding experience.
Written by Nancy Connolly