By Chris Stalker V.N.
In the last issue, I included a photo of one of my queen’s using her Newborn Birthing box. Following this, Fiona & Ian Harmon (of Cleasanta Norwegian Forest Cats), kindly sent me the following story about their two cats’ litter raising ideas…
"This is the story of how two of our Queens helped each other with their kittens; they are both Tortie Tabbies and one is called Amber and the other is called Jet, Amber is Jet’s mother. They were both due to have their kittens within a day of each other and we had prepared an old box for Amber just the way she liked it and had purchased a new Kittening Box for Jet to try (Newborn Birthing Box).
On the Monday evening of the day Jet was due she settled herself in the new box set up in our bedroom, where she had plenty of room, and while her mum Amber watched, started to have her kittens. As each one was born Amber helped Jet clean them up and she also kept Jet clean as well. Several hours later Jet had had the four kittens we were expecting and stopped having contractions and settled in the box with her kittens, meanwhile Amber kept watch over them all and Ian and I fell into bed (it was now about 2am).
Then at about 4:30am I was wakened by Amber, she was trying to tell me something, Amber got back into the box with Jet and wrapped her paws around her and started to lick her all the while chirruping at Jet and me. I realised she was trying to tell me that Jet wasn’t quite right, but I couldn’t feel anymore kittens and she was not having contractions but she really didn’t look right, so I rang our vets and we decided we ought to take her in for a check up to make sure she was ok.
After a quick preparation of a suitable basket for Jet and her newborns, it was off to the vets. When there, she was given a scan and the vet could see that there were at least two more kittens waiting to be born. As the oxytocin injection he had given her had not worked, we had to leave her while she had a c-section. Several hours later we went back to collect her and the vet told us that there had in fact been three more kittens, but one had died many hours before and had blocked the way out for the other two. We were delighted that the vet had managed to save these remaining two!
So we brought Jet home and her (now six) kittens all suckling happily and she went straight back into her roomy box. Then, later that evening, Amber hopped into the box beside Jet and had her three kittens without any problem! Jet helped her Mum clean them up and settle them down. We did try to get Amber to use her own box but there was no way she was going to leave Jet and as Jet was getting too distressed, I thought it was better to leave them together - after all the kittens were all nearly the same age and they (fortunately) were easy to tell apart.
There they all stayed together until the kittens were nearly 4 weeks old and had started clambering out of the box. I was really glad that I had decided to purchase the medium size box in the range as there was plenty of room for them both and their kittens and it was really easy to keep clean. We were also so glad that Amber had kept such a careful watch over her daughter and had managed to waken me, as we could well have lost her and her kittens."
Vets can play valuable role in reuniting pets and owners
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and Petlog have joined forces to remind vets about the valuable role they can play in helping to reunite pets with their owners through the implantation and subsequent scanning of microchips.
Although just one of several forms of pet identification, microchips are increasing in popularity, particularly in light of their use as part of Defra's Pet Travel Scheme. In addition to implanting microchips, veterinary surgeons can help to reunite lost, strayed or stolen pets through scanning for the microchips.
In its Annex on Microchipping, the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct recommends that scanning should be carried out on any stray animals brought into the surgery, or those suspected of being stolen, or in cases where the owner is not sure whether the animal has been microchipped.
When a microchip has been scanned, details can be checked with Petlog quickly online, or by phone or email. On the rare occasions when a client brings a vet an animal that has a microchip registered in another person's name, both parties, with mutual consent, can be put in touch with each other.
However, if the client declines to consent to the release of his or her name and contact details, the RCVS guidance states that a veterinary surgeon may pass these details to Petlog to take further action. Petlog will then inform the registered owner that the whereabouts of their pet is known and advise the correct course of action.
RCVS President Professor Sheila Crispin said: "When a pet goes missing it is a stressful time for any owner. Happily, in some situations, veterinary surgeons have the opportunity to help reunite pets and their owners. Where this is possible, vets will wish to take the appropriate action, if necessary with the help of Petlog or other identification services.
"However, the College maintains its view that it is not the role of the veterinary surgeon to act as police officer in cases where a pet is found to be registered with a different owner from the one presenting the animal. In this situation, the vet's first recourse should be to Petlog."
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, commented: "In the unlikely event that the 'presenting owner' is not willing for their details to be released or refuses to agree to return the animal, the veterinary surgeon can contact Petlog and on instruction from a solicitor or the police, Petlog can release details."
Caroline concluded: "The reunification process can only work if owner details are up-to-date, so Petlog recommends that all owners ensure that they update their personal details, should they move house or change telephone number, for example, to ensure they can be speedily reunited with a lost pet."
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