Tiny Miracles

author Cristin Dillard                                                                                          Magnolia Rags

I am still a newer breeder. Magnolia Rags just had our third litter.

The day we anticipated so eagerly, quickly turned into a near nightmare. Breeding cats is not for the faint of heart. It’s very expensive when you breed for the health of the cats. High quality food, cat litter, cat shows, testing, and vet visits eat up the funds quickly. You learn very quickly that you aren’t in it for the money. And all the time preparing doesn’t always lead to smooth going!!

And thats where I was the Saturday before Easter. I knew my girl, Della, would probably have the babies that day Or on Easter. She had been clingy to me, and in and out of her birthing hotel. So that night, while I was ironing shirts, I realized she was in her box and starting to push. I checked in on her, got my pen and paper ready for writing down the births and weights etc, and sat down to wait. It was her first litter, and I was a little nervous. I was expecting 2-3 kittens. Two hours later the pushes got harder. I saw two little white feet emerge. I was not worried about it being breech. As my other queen had managed that just fine. But it wasn’t going to be easy for Della. She struggled to get the kitten out. Finally it was down to the head. I knew baby needed to get out quickly! But Mom was upset by this point and hissing at me as though I were causing the pain. It took my husband and me to manage to get the poor purple kitten out. I knew he was dead. It had been so many minutes. His gums were gray. Feet dark. I rubbed him. Cleaned out his nose and mouth. Did everything all the videos suggested. But nothing. I gave him a little breath. Rubbed and begged him to come back. Nothing. I told my husband he was gone. But suddenly he gasped! I rubbed him more and suctioned him and told him how brave he was!! He gasped again. Then again. Slowly his white skin colored pink. But there wasn’t time to celebrate. Della had feet dangling again! The same thing happened. Although it took less time to get baby out, he was also lifeless. I repeated the above, and he gasped minutes later. Slowly he too, began to come back to me. Talk about relief! I was never so happy for a small litter!!! I stayed awake with the new family until the wee hours, making sure they were breathing and finally nursing. When I saw the boys fighting over milk, I knew they were ok. Hopefully each passing day they grow stronger and don’t develop any complications.

So many think we breed for the money. Have all these cute kittens everywhere and life is good. But its not like that all the time. Its life and loss. Its litter boxes and vomit and hairballs. Its infertile hopes, and disappointments. We do it for the breed. We stay up late, pay the bills, and clean and plan and prepare, because we want RagaMuffins to be a name people recognize. A healthy beautiful breed for many to enjoy. Never take for granted the miracles we witness a long the way.