A neighbor and dear friend took in a stray kitten several weeks back only to discover–you guessed it–this kitten of no more than six months old herself was already pregnant.
Long before my friend adopted Miss Sage, she had booked a Caribbean Cruise and–you guessed it again–the date fell around the time the kittens were due. It was too late to get a refund, so she called on my husband and I to keep vigil over Momma Sage while she was away, and–I’m sure you’ve guessed it one more time–the babies were born the day after my friend left on her trip.
Now I’ve had pet cats on and off since I was 10 (50-plus years!) and even provided extended care to a chronically ill cat for two years, but, like Prissy in Gone With the Wind, “I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ babies.”
Thankfully, Miss Sage handled the tough part, though rather than birthing her babies in the comfy, blanket-lined box you see her settled into in this photo…
…she had them in the corner pictured behind it and the area underneath where we eventually placed the box and moved her and her litter. Labor apparently started across the room in the door to the hallway, where there was another blood stain. And the first of her six babies (there were only four when we arrived) we found sprawled in the middle of the room, mewing its heart out.
At least I do know something about getting those birthing stains–and just about any stain–out of carpet. Stick around and I’ll tell you my secret. But first you have to hear all about the kittens’ birth and look at lots of sweet photos of the newborn fluff-bugs. A tough read, huh?
In case you can’t make it out in this pile, Sage’s first litter consisted of three solid black kittens (gonna catch the neighborhood Tom and get him neutered!) and three tabbies striped like mom. We’re conjecturing the black one we found in the middle of the living room floor was firstborn as she made her way from the hallway to the corner. We found two more underneath the sofa, and Sage was under the adjacent end table licking kitten number four clean.
We moved them all together to stay warm and left to get some KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement) and canned food to help Momma Sage keep up her strength because–sakes alive!!–those babies were hungry from the get-go.
We returned from the pet store within the hour to find baby number five had arrived. Sage let out a final groan a few minutes later, and out popped number six, followed by the placenta, which she cleaned up herself.
We were simply glad to see she was done. Man, that’s a lot of kittens for a kitten’s first time!
That first night, Sage would have nothing to do with moving her babies to the box they’re pictured in here. (I guess she’d been a little busy and was cranky.) But next day we coaxed her in.
And the day after everyone made the move to hard-floor quarters in the laundry/pantry area…
…which freed up the living room for clean-up.
Enter this homemade carpet spot cleaner my husband found the recipe for on the Internet….
…and VOILA! No more blood spots.
Check out this side-by-side comparison. We figured the longer we waited to work on the spots, the harder they’d be to get out. And we also didn’t want our friend coming home to the mess. (And yes, she brought us nice presents for our trouble.)
How did we do it?
This stuff is so great, we always keep some mixed-up and on-hand for treating our own carpet, though our stains tend to run more along the line of wine and coffee. It’s great to use because you likely have the ingredients already and there’s nothing toxic in it. We typed up the recipe, printed it out and taped it to the bottle.
Here’s the recipe…
- 1 cup warm tap water
- 1/2 teaspoon (15 drops) dish soap
- 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol (91 percent)
- Gently stir dish soap into warm water without creating foam.
- Gently stir in alcohol.
- Pour mixture into spray bottle. (We repurposed an empty window cleaner bottle.)
- Spray entire stain with mixture.
- Tamp (don’t scrub) into stain with back of metal tablespoon.
- Go over stain with wet/dry shop vac.
- Repeat if necessary and add a bit of straight rubbing alcohol if stain is grease-based and doesn’t come up.
- After sucking up as much moisture as you can with shop vac, dab (don’t scrub) with clean WHITE rag.
Here’s a video that takes you through the process from start to finish and teaches you some great-to-know information about caring for your carpet…
…because I never claimed to have INVENTED this, though I do swear by it, as does Miss Sage and HER human momma. Probably Prissy and Scarlet, too. And just so you know…
Momma & babies are all doing fine
The black one born in the middle of the living room was a little sluggish at first (cold, I think), but recovered quickly. All seem to be about the same size, have outgrown their first box, and opened their eyes at 13 days.
One–a black male, preferably–may eventually move in with Chris, Maisie and me. The vet said a kitten (a mellower male she could boss around) would help her be more active, less destructive, and less territorial. I’m all for that (as is my sofa and living room chairs!), and Sage’s mom is happy to offer a kitten on a trial basis, complete with the loan of a dog crate to keep baby safe until Maisie and he are on talkin’ terms.