Due to poor birth-control planning, we are the semi-proud parents of four new kittens.
This is my husband's fault.
This cat is pregnant because my husband let her out of the house in a failed bid to have her not be our cat.
He wanted her to run away, which she did, but only to have her fun and then return in the family way.
This is why my husband is culpable for the four new mouths to feed.
As with most feline births, it began in the dead of night.
Around 5 a.m. I knew she was getting ready to pop, so I picked her up and put her into a cardboard box filled with towels. I also put the box on my bed, so I could keep an eye on the proceedings.
I woke up my two youngest daughters . How many times do they get to see the messy, disgusting miracle of birth, up close and personal?
They were both fine until they saw the mother cat chewing through the umbilical cord of the first kitten.
"Ewwww! What is she doing?" grimaced my 10-year-old daughter.
"After the baby is born, the mommy cat has to chew off the umbilical cord to separate herself from the baby."
"No way! That's gross!"
Then the mother cat began to eat the placenta surrounding the kitten. It was at that point that I thought my girls were going to keel over in a dead faint.
"Tell me she's not eating that!"
"Sure, she is. That's what mom-mies do after each birth."
"You mean you did that with me?"
I was torn.
Should I be honest and tell her that, no, that's just something that happens in the animal world and we Homo sapiens have progressed to pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments and fleets of nurses who use white, fluffy towels to clean off the newborns?
Or should I smile enigmatically and say, "Why, yes. I did that for each and every one of you," and then watch their eyes widen in horror, their mouths open to scream and lose all hope of ever seeing a grandchild from their wombs?
If it had been my 17-year-old daughter asking that question, I may have lied. What better birth-control device could there be than to show a young girl the bloody, messy birth of kittens and tell her that she, too, will be required to do the exact same thing when she has her own babies.
Pamela Troeppl Kinnaird can be reached at email@example.com.