Roxy's kittens are thriving and rampaging around the house.
While still feeding them milk, Roxy celebrated the kits' near-independence by ... going on heat and rampaging around the house singing her eerie love songs. I suppose that, having made a rather good job of bringing 4 healthy moglets into the world, she thought now would be the time to start another 4, and another, and another.
We thought otherwise. She was scragged, bundled into one of the shiny new cat carriers we've got, and delivered to the vet under protest.
He's a good man, our vet. Very critter-oriented, it took 3 visits before he made eye contact with us primates. All the same, we felt like murderers.
She was at the vets for 3 days, during which the kittens wandered about looking anxious and deprived. We did much the same.
Yesterday we brought the poor mog back, complaining loudly. Her flank has been shaved and painted blue, with a neat row of staples pinning her wound together. I sat in the back with the cat carrier open and stoked her head all the way home. At first she was just cowering and moaning (especially on the roundabouts - not surprising given some of the driving we could see), but as we got into our neighbourhood she stretched her neck up to peer through the windows, and I would not be surprised if she recognised perfectly well where we were.
Once indoors she was immediately surrounded by the kittens, who sniffed her, kissed her whiskers, stroked their tails along her flanks, and licked her ears. She licked them back. It was so clearly an affectionate reunion that we felt, if anything, even more guilty for taking her away. The next thing was that she lay down and fed them... at least, they all sucked away frantically and, apparently, we satisfied.
She is obviously aching and rather cranky - tends to crouch and moan, and walks stiffly. This will pass. But she has also lost some of her trust in us, and is not happy having us pick her up. She cowers when we come close, which is upsetting. It seems that she is afraid we will grab her, stick her in a cage, and whisk her away to a strange place where people do painful things to her.
The worst of it is that we will, on Sunday, when we take her back to have the staples taken out.
She'll get over it, but I'm not sure whether we will.