How to Tell if Your Cat is in Labor

…seriously, I’m asking a question here. I think my cat was in labor. Wait. Let me back up. I thought my cat was pregnant. She showed all the classic signs.

First, she meowed around like a literal cat in heat for a few days. This was about three and half months ago. Then she escaped and acted like a literal cat in heat. Right under my nose. She would go across the street, which is separated by a rail road cut (genius, the naming of my street, huh?) and holed up in the condominiums that the stray cats have built in the railroad ties that keep the cut from falling in. She’d stretch and meow her greeting to me each day, all the while fornicating with anything that had a bushy tail, taunting me with her sluttiness. This lasted for about three days, when she got hungry, missed her favorite window sill and did the walk of shame back home. Of course, I welcomed her with open arms…she is my cat after all.

After she lay around the house for a few days recuperating from her ordeal of being a slut, her appetite returned. In a big way I might add. She ate constantly. She ate dog food. She ate out of my hand, a rare occurrence for my cats.

And then her belly began to grow. Oh shit, I said to my dear husband, your cat is pregnant. That set off a thread of cursing and verbal death threats I never thought possible. Why was he going to kill me? I didn’t get the cat pregnant. My only crime was leaving the front door open long enough for her to escape the house, scurry down the front steps like Mr. Krabs on crack and head for the kitty condos of sexual delights. I’m practically innocent. Just like always…

So I resign myself to the fact that my stupid cat got herself knocked up after I’d smugly told anyone who would listen that I didn’t think she could. Yeah, joke’s on me. Maybe I’ll call in one of those death threats. And I decide that okay, I can deal with kittens. They’re cuter than cats and hell, maybe I’ll give the two I have now away and start all over again. Maybe I’ll like the new ones better. Until they grow into cats and I hate them all over again.

Let me pause her to point out that although I do not like my cats, I treat them very well. I let them sit on me and scratch me and rub on me and try to suffocate me and I even let them pick on my children. I feed them, give them flea crap and take them to the vets. The male is neutered. I never spayed the female because, well, I didn’t think she could get pregnant. Don’t ask me how I knew that…it was an educated assumption. Get over it.

Okay, so fast forward a few months to a Sunday, a day like, hell today! I notice that my cat is acting strangely. I notice that maybe she’s a little wet in the rear area and after I nearly faint seeing her on my antique buffet; I decide that today may be the day we get kittens. Yay me! Hardly. I tell my husband and he instantly wants to get a bucket of water. He’s probably at least 50% joking. I hope. I keep a good eye on him and hedge my bet that he’s bluffing by informing the daughter for the impending birth. He wouldn’t dare…I hope.

The cat decides upon a box. A box filled with two high-end baskets (you know the brand, rhymes with dongerberger), a few of my mother’s doilies and some other crap I’d rather not have a cat give birth on. Oh and an ugly soup tureen. I could go either way on that one. Since I have no clue as to how quickly this birth is going to progress, I quickly remove the contents of the damn box and pile them on my buffet. I also go the extra mile – because I’m nice to my cat – and put in a towel.

This suits my cat very well and soon she’s lounging in her box, on her towel, purring and stretching and licking her nether regions. She gives us a quick hello meow every time we check in on her which is met with a reassuring pat on the head and words of encouragement.

This goes on for several hours. The cat stays in the box; we check on her. Purr. Meow. Pat. Good kitty. Lick. Purr. Stretch. Meow. And on and on until I begin to feel I’ve been duped. Outsmarted by a dumb cat. It’s not my best day.

By evening, she was out of the box eating a light dinner. I questioned to anyone who would listen whether cats, like humans, did not eat during labor. My husband replied that he ate during my labor and that brought back a flood of bad memories of each time I was stuck laboring in a hospital bed while he read, ate fast food and watched late night television. Suddenly I was getting a drowning bucket…for my husband.

The next day, the cat was still in the box, still happy, and still without babies. And this went on throughout the week. Happy box dwelling cat. Unhappy daughter who wanted kittens. Happy me who didn’t have to try to give away kittens. Unhappy husband who made a smart-ass remark to his wife. Life’s a balance of happy and unhappy.

We’ve pretty much determined that one of the following happened: the cat was never pregnant, the cat was pregnant and the dog ate the babies (I’m sorry, but I’ve had to pry baby bunnies out of her mouth before) or the cat still is pregnant. I’m going with scenario #1: she was never pregnant. She merely wanted to sit in box and be doted on for awhile. It’s more palatable than either of the other scenarios because my dog still gives me kisses and frankly I’ve run out of relatives to pawn kittens off on.

So if you know the tell-tale signs of a cat in labor, just keep them to yourself. I sorta want to be surprised if indeed she ever does have babies. Keeping a box at the ready, I remain…

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