Two weeks ago this morning we were all waking up to the joy of new birth. Oreo had given birth in the dark hours of the early morning, right there in our reading chair, in the mudroom where she’d been sleeping for weeks. I found her first, then ran and told my husband, then woke up my daughter. At the time, we couldn’t tell if they’d all been born, and not knowing, I also went and woke the three little boys.
We were up all day, happy for the new additions. Our oldest son was at camp, at it felt like forever waiting for the 7AM wake-up bell to ring. Oreo was his buddy when we thought he was a boy, and even more special once we found out she was pregnant and was actually a girl. My husband texted the counselor, asking if he could send Ethan home for a minute, that Oreo’s kittens had been born. He ran home to see.
Later that day, when we were eating lunch together (minus Ethan), Elianna went to check on the kittens. Three out of four kittens were still in the chair, but Oreo and the runt were gone. We had several minutes of panic, thinking the worst, wondering what she would have done with it or where she could have taken it. We looked around until we finally found her in the corner of the little boys’ closet, nursing the runt.
One by one, about every fifteen minutes, she came back for the others.
This morning we had to tell the kids the runt died. I had chicken broth simmering on the stove, ready for the kitten, to see if by some small chance it might help him grow. He died a little after 2AM, after waking, and meowing enough to wake both me and my daughter. We used a warm flannel wipe on his eyes. First one, then two eyes opened.
“His eyes are open now”, I said, “Twelve hours ago they weren’t. He’s making progress.” He opened his mouth, looking more like a newborn baby bird then a kitten. No sound came any more from his mouth, and I looked at my daughter and said, “Honey, I don’t think…” We watched him die. She left the room. I picked him up. He wasn’t there.
Somehow he’d made it through the night.