Or maybe I should say, when it snows it storms? On Monday, we were in the midst of what would probably be considered a snow storm for us wimpy West Coasters. It had been snowing for days and was still coming down but here at LAPS we had other things on our minds. As you’ve probably heard, February 24 was National Cupcake Day. We were on track to raise thousands of dollars for animals in need and Shelly of TinyKittens had arranged for us to do live broadcasts on the TinyKittens Livestream feed. We managed to hook up with Shelly for one live update but our brand new webcam wasn’t working properly, thanks to some suspicious looking puppy-sized tooth marks.
During a frustrating attempt at a second live broadcast, a mama cat with three sweet little babies arrived. The poor girl was painfully thin with jutting hipbones and sunken eyes. According the woman who surrendered her, she hadn’t eaten in days and was vomiting blood. All three kittens were chubby, bright-eyed and perky, so whatever energy the mama had left was obviously going to nourish her babies.
We immediately rushed her to the good folks at Paws and Claws Animal Hospital, one of our partner vets, who felt that she was mostly likely full of nasty parasites, which had brought her digestive system to a grinding halt. A serious dose of de-worming medication would likely get her back on track, so we headed back to the shelter to start her treatment plan.
By the time we got mama and babies, now known as Kalina, Carys, Mina and Paris, back to the shelter another stray cat had shown up. She was a rack of bones and covered in painful mats but nothing could suppress her cheery personality. We named her Madam and fell in love immediately. Before Madam’s intake was complete, another addition showed up, this time a fluffy black beauty named Marilyn.
We’re a little short of space right now because the flooring in our Cat Cottage is being redone, so with six new cats and nowhere to put them, we had to get a little creative. A flurry of cleaning and disinfecting commenced and in no time we had set up comfy digs for everyone in our offices and boardroom.
After such a busy Monday, you’d think Tuesday would slow down a bit but the adventures continued. We get a lot of strange phone calls but I don’t think we’ve ever had someone call us to say that they were sending us two pregnant cats in a cab (ironically, it just happened to be World Spay Day). Oh yeah, and one of the cats was actually giving birth as the caller spoke!
We were a little skeptical but sure enough, a cab pulled up about 20 minutes later. In the backseat, we discovered a large box and a gym bag. We brought them into our training room, edged the zipper back and a cream coloured cat erupted out. Judging by her bulging sides, she wasn’t too far from her due date but it was her sister in the cardboard box who’d already produced two kittens on the cab ride over (having babies in a cab – even cats fall victim to clichés!). We let the mom-to-be relax while we dealt with the terrified and desperate new mother. She understandably hadn’t cleaned her babies so we had our first experience cleaning off the placenta and cutting and tying the cords. Fortunately, the program coordinator from our boarding and training centre used to work in a vet clinic and did the actual snipping and tying. The tiny newborns were ice cold, so we nestled them together with some heating pads until their mom was calm enough to care for them. We got the sisters, Soda Pop and Gumball, set up in cozy dens in our grooming room and gradually Gumball relaxed and began nursing her babies.
We assumed she was done giving birth but to our surprise, we discovered a third kitten when we checked on her a short while later! She had done a great job cleaning this baby, so clearly she gave her new home the thumbs up.
We’re still waiting on Soda Pop’s babies but right now all the little families plus our adult additions are doing great. We had a couple of crazy days but they were a great reminder that you need to be prepared for anything when you’re working in animal welfare!