So as I mentioned yesterday, we found out Monday night that Illy is pregnant. She is, in fact, very pregnant--the vet thinks she will give birth in 2-3 weeks (cats gestate for 63 days). This was, to put it mildly, a surprise. I had noticed her growing belly, but she was so very skinny when she came to us, I just thought she was kind of gaining weight funny and/or bloated. We knew she wasn't spayed, but the idea that she could have gotten pregnant before she showed up at our neighbors' house (which is, clearly, what happened) never even occurred to us.
But we're making the best of it. It has been suggested to me by several people (in the rescue community, even) that we get her spayed now--i.e. get her aborted. I can't do that. Maybe if she was just a wee bit pregnant, but I saw heartbeats on the ultrasound at the vet's office, and there is no way I could be responsible for ending those lives. Maybe that's goopy of me, but there you have it. So we're going to be having kittens.
I've contactIed a lot of local rescues and have a few lined up already who are willing to help us place the babies once they are old enough to be weaned. So we just have to deal with her having them and keeping everybody safe and happy for the first 6-8 weeks. Which we can do. It means canceling the vacation we were going to take over Thanksgiving (we can't leave her alone, as she might deliver), but that's not that big a thing. For Christmas, the babies will be 3-4 weeks old and everything should be stabilized enough that the our pet sitter can take care of her and the kittens.
In the meantime, we've prepared a whelping box, we have her on high calorie kitten food, and we wait. When she seems close, we're going to sequester her in our guest bedroom to keep the other cats and dogs out of her way, and hopefully everything will go well. If it doesn't, we have an emergency vet close by and we'll do whatever we can to make it OK.
There are people in my life who think this is stupid. They think that we should have just taken her to the pound when she showed up, and we certainly should now. But that's not the commitment we've made. She came to us, she clearly needed our help, and we're going to help her. It's that simple.
It's not something I would have chosen, but it's something we can deal with, and since we are, I'm actually kind of excited about it, now that the shock has worn off. I've never seen a small animal give birth (just cows...), and kittens are going to be so sweet.