June 25, 2010

Ferals and frights

A week ago my next-door neighbours mentioned that a stray cat and her five young kittens had taken up residence in their back yard and that they didn't know what to do. Fearing that they might resort to the burlap-bag-full-of-stones option, I promised to take care of the situation if they would give me some time. I placed an open pet carrier several feet from the cats. Twice a day, I brought food and water to the feline family in an attempt to gain their trust. The mother cat was decidedly hostile but undeniably ravenous, and she would gobble up whatever food I tossed to her. Her kittens, though standoffish, were willing to come out of hiding for tuna. Since the mother cat appeared to be a Scottish Fold, I figured that someone had paid good money for her and could very well be looking for her. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any postings about her on the local lost-and-found sites. I placed my own notices but had no replies.


A typical Scottish Fold


Being pregnant, I know it's more important than ever to avoid potentially germy things such as stray cats. After several days of bringing sustenance to the brood, the mother cat stopped hissing long enough to emerge from her hiding place as I filled her water bowl. I thought that I was making progress but I had no plans to touch her. She had her own plans, which involved marching up to me, scratching me and quickly retreating. I began to understand why no one was looking for her.


Earlier this week I was distracted from my feral-feeding duties after getting some frightening ultrasound results. (TMI alert here, folks.) At just 30 weeks of pregnancy, I am already starting to dilate. My obstetrician instructed me to avoid anything requiring exertion -- even the Aquafit course I recently registered for in a sad attempt to introduce exercise into my sedentary lifestyle. The doctor also made appointments for me at the hospital to receive Celestone injections to help the baby's lungs develop more quickly in case he makes an early appearance. Following yesterday's shot, I noticed no movement from the baby all day and just a few weak kicks in the evening. When I awoke this morning and still felt no movement, I proceeded to the hospital two hours before my appointment. By the time I was in Maternal Triage I was also in tears, fearing the worst.


In a hospital gown, lying on a bed with a fetal heart monitor strapped to my belly, I heard the most wonderful sound a paranoid expectant mother can hear: the rapid kaTHUMP kaTHUMP kaTHUMP of a healthy baby's heart. The on-call doctor then performed an ultrasound to show me that the baby was indeed moving, although I still couldn't feel anything. I had my second and final Celestone injection and went on my greatly relieved way, anxious to phone Scott with the good news. Well, the mostly good news. I wasn't thrilled to learn that, if I should go into labour early, there will be no attempt to stop it, as the baby has a "90-95%" chance of survival at this stage. I worry about his health if he is born prematurely, but all I can do is to take it easy, as per the doctor's orders.


Having had the distraction of the baby fright, I missed two visits with the felines next door. Scott and I bought a case of canned cat food this evening only to discover that the brood has moved on, leaving an empty plate, empty bowl and empty pet carrier. My great happiness from the morning's reassuring hospital visit was tempered by the sadness of knowing that I was unable to rescue the cats from joining the already large population of feral cats in our area. Priorities change when one is pregnant, and I certainly had to put my unborn baby's welfare above all else, but that doesn't prevent me from feeling like I let down the little ones next door.


13 comments:

Zombie Mom said...

Good luck. I am gunning for full term, though I can tell you our Bean was born between 31-32 weeks and she is doing totally fine - no more adjusted calendar! Its scary for sure - but awesome you got the Celestone. Fingers crossed you make it to full term!!!!!

The Maui Hippie said...

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The Maui Hippie
www.themauihippie.blogspot.com

amelia said...

Oh that's so sad about the kitties but you did what you could and hopefully they'll meet some other kind soul who will care for them. Highly unlikely though.
Good news that your precious baby will be OK. It seems as if your doctors have things well under control.

Cat said...

Think of it this way, you gave them what they needed when they needed it and helped then move on to their next adventure. Perhaps the next house they move near will also help them out and get them off the street. If they've moved away I feel like it's some sort of sign on their part that they are ok now and thanks for the kibble.

You know, like you just helped Jesus in Cat form or something and now you have karma points in your favour for getting into heaven. Or something like that. I'm not even religious so I don't know why I came up with that analogy. =/ Hmm.

I am also glad that everything is ok with your little one. Although the thought of something moving around inside of me makes me want to hide under a rock. *shudder* All I can think of is 'WHY??'. :)

Calamity Jen said...

Thanks, everyone.

Zombie Mom, it's no wonder the Bean is doing so well. There's nothing zombie-like about the way you parent!

Maui Hippie, I am so glad that you and your wife were able to witness Daniel Victor's arrival after all. Hooray for Skype!

Amelia, I fear that you are correct about the cat and kittens chances of finding another human to help out.

Cat... Jesus in Cat form? You crack me up. You'd be surprised at how awesome it is to feel the baby moving. I thought it would be creepy, like an alien or insect or something, but it's really cool.

Cat said...

I'm curious now... what does it feel like? Indigestion? Gas bubbles? Is it even describable?

Calamity Jen said...

The best I can describe, it feels like someone tapping or briefly rubbing your belly, but from the inside. You can distinguish kicks from rolls -- and from fetal hiccoughs, I'm told! I'm still waiting for that experience.

pseedie said...

the kittens will have fond memories of a human, and that will help the next person that finds the heart and the time to help them. [= thank you for trying....and take care!

Heather said...

:( about the felines but I'd also like to think they perhaps understood you wouldn't be able to help anymore and got out of your hair. They'll really be fine.

I didn't understand the extent of what you were going through!! I think a bit of really good Greek food will do you some good.

xo

ryssee said...

You are very sweet. I'm thinking the MomCat would understand. ;)

Rob K said...

This is tough, Jen, but you really didn't have much of a choice. You did the right thing for as long as you could and that's a hell of a lot more than most other people in this world would have done.

The Maui Hippie said...

You are an AMAZING MOM!! Your care, thoughtfulness, compassion, generosity, and love are intense...That feline family is just fine because of you...They learned much because of you...They will survive because of you...The gift you carry now will go through life with the same special attributes as you...Please keep sharing your experiences and stories...

The Maui Hippie said...

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The Maui Hippie "Perceiving Obstacles as Gifts"
I live by "Perceiving Obstacles as Gifts"...Wouldn't it be amazing if the rest of the world did too? An obstacle might be something as small as getting a cold right before an audition, or as big as having self-serving governments in control of the future of our ecosystems and the human race. It's time to look at things differently, live differently, forgive differently, react differently, negotiate differently, listen differently, govern differently, reward differently, exist differently.

Click below or copy the link to your favorite browser....

Peace

http://themauihippie.blogspot.com/2010/07/sign-sign-everywhere-sign.html