Nevertheless, my relief over the successful live births shortly succumbed to new mom anxiety.
I checked on the newborns constantly, expecting a quaint scene, with Talia comfortably reclined to accommodate her furry darlings getting their fill in neat formation at her milk bar.
Instead, I found a frenzy of tumbling kittens chirping, scrambling and tussling in search of a free nipple. When everybody finally settled into a spot, Talia re-positioned herself with a clumsy three-point turn, plopping down on top of two kittens. I was horrified. Quickly extracting them, I watched the process repeat itself over and over. I started to wonder if this one-year-old teen mom knew what she was doing.
The light gray tabby baby also worried me. He wasn’t a runt, but something seemed off about him. When he wasn’t nursing, he cried and flailed, usually at a distance from the rest of the group. Tabby’s Place was available 24/7 for help, so I texted Danielle and sent her a video. She agreed something wasn’t right and asked me to bring him in.
I bravely whisked him away, hoping Talia wouldn’t notice. Denise confirmed he had a neurological issue and would need separate care. Lucky for him, Karina was up for the task. Back home, things had settled down without him, and I consoled myself by focusing on the other four babies.
Rapid weight gain is the most important measure of a kitten’s well-being. They need to be weighed starting day one, so I placed the scale close to the birthing box, working swiftly as Talia scrutinized my ministrations.
The next day, I noticed the smallest kitten had difficulty latching on and was frequently a victim of Talia’s clumsy rollovers. Her weight was down, too. Once again, a consultation resulted in a trip to Tabby’s Place and another boarder for Karina.
I was starting to feel deflated and anxious for the remaining three when Karina sent me a picture of the light gray tabby, who’d taken to the bottle without a fuss. She’d named him Sheldon. That cheered me up, and I decided it would be fun to use other names from the television show, The Big Bang Theory. Karina’s little girl would be Amy, since she was Sheldon’s companion, and my babies would be Raj, Bernadette and Penny.
It turns out Sheldon thrived with the company of his sister, and my crew continued to gain weight and survive Talia’s rough but well-meaning mothering.
I loved this Big Bang family. True to their name, they had me in turmoil, as if a bomb struck my personal universe and its aftermath had me watching, worrying and dashing back and forth to Tabby’s Place for help and reinforcements. But my babies seemed fine now. They had cute names and, soon enough, corresponding personalities. Order was restored.
For now, anyway.
To be continued…