Saying Good-bye to the Mama Cat
Mama Cat is slipping away today. She has produced a remarkable amount of kittens (most of whom must have gone to feed coyotes) in the last 3 years, and we will miss her mousing prowess.
We noticed a few months ago as the mama cat was preparing to kindle that she had some growths on her breasts. We don’t know what happened to the two kittens she had. But almost as soon as we realized they were gone, we could see her big with another kindle. She delivered in our milk shed this time. The rains drove her back to the barn next door where we visited the kittens daily, bringing the mama liver and fat and table scraps. We could tell the cancer was growing.
Then a few days ago the kittens disappeared and the mama was at our house much more frequently. Last night we noticed her back legs giving way beneath her and knew the end had come. We did a search of the field next to ours where we had seen her walking a few times, and we found her kindle–all safe and snug and big! By the time we had them all settled in the summer kitchen in a cubby, the mama had all but stopped using her back end.
She worsened through the night and remains on her side now. Allie fed her chunks of pig heart since she can only move her head and barely hold up the front of her body. The kittens have a small chance of survival at this age.
She has been a great mother all the way to the end. When her kittens mew in distress, she tries to move to them despite her inability to get up. Early this morning we took them all out on the grass, but the mama was concerned and attempted to drag one away. She didn’t want them exposed, so we settled them all back in their nook.
The kids are keeping vigil.