A 10-month old pregnant cat was taken into a shelter in Portland, Oregon, in need of foster care.
Sheila, a volunteer of the shelter, stepped up to help and quickly noticed that the soon-to-be cat mom Melody was under tremendous stress.
“I was hoping that after a few days she would relax. Instead, two days later, she went into labor,” Sheila said. “She had one kitten in a pet bed but didn’t take care of it. Her second kitten was on the floor in the sac.”
When they found the two kittens, one had already passed away. Sheila’s daughter tried to warm up the second one and started bottle feeding him because the cat mom wouldn’t. “Six hours later, two more kittens were born. We removed them from the sac and warmed them. Another two hours later, the last one was born.”
Mama Melody didn’t want anything to do with the kittens, so Sheila’s daughter took on the role of their new mom. “My daughter fed them every two hours while I was at work during the week and throughout the night. I helped after work but she wanted to save them.”
The kittens were just 70 grams, much smaller than a normal newborn (weighs at least 90 grams). “Friday we lost the male kitten that my daughter worked so hard to save. We provided fluids and Karo Syrup a few times and he would do better but eventually he faded.”
The three surviving kittens with cow markings were fighting hard to live.
When the kittens finally reached 100 grams, they perked up and started to crawl. “Each day is a victory. We are working hard to keep them fed and warm,” Sheila said.
At one week old, the kittens were just the size of a jalapeño pepper.
Melody is a young mom who is very afraid. “I believe that her fear overrode her instincts to care for the kittens,” Sheila said.
Despite being in the room with her kittens, Melody refuses to nurse or be in the kitty pen with them. “She’s getting treats and soft food, and has a blanket fort behind the pen that she likes to stay in. She’s using her litter box and eating when I am not in the room.”
“If she doesn’t want to be with her kittens, it’s okay. She should have been spayed so she didn’t end up in a shelter. I will do everything I can to teach her that we mean no harm.”
At 13 days old, the kittens could smell and had started to hiss at strange scents.
“I think they could hear too because they reacted to noise. They were very active after eating but still slept most of the time.”