Cami and her baby Sphinx

Cami is sweet, hairless, and an exemplary representative example of her breed (Sphinx). She truly deserves the title "queen". Unfortunately, like so many beautiful, wonderful creatures, she is challenged in the reproductive department. She has produced many beautiful kittens before, but now in her mature years, she's had to deal with pyometra twice and her fertility is declining.

Still, she's really too great a queen to give up on and I'm grateful to have an owner like Marion who wants both the best for Cami's health and wants the best for future generations of Sphinx. So we both work hard on a plan to produce one last litter if possible. A new female with Cami's genetics would be worthwhile.

Marion chooses the male- Bruce. An equally distinctive Sphinx. I manage the infection through both antibiotics and drugs to help clear her uterus and end the previous cycle. It's all very uncertain as fall/winter is coming soon and as we all know, cat's can be quite seasonal and her cycles may end for the year at the conclusion of this cycle.

Lucky for all of us, Cami comes back into heat as expected and Bruce is charming, so after a brief romance, Cami will hopefully be pregnant. Could she be carrying a future replacement queen? Fingers crossed.

Marion calls 3 weeks later with jubilant news that Cami has been "pinking up" (early development of mammary tissues), a potential positive sign of pregnancy. Without further delay we schedule an ultrasound for Cami to discover 4 embryos-yay!!! However, 1 embryo is smaller than the remaining 3 so we decide a follow up ultrasound is needed to monitor this pregnancy.

2 weeks later we notice only 1 healthy embryo and it seems the other 3 are going away. Disappointing for sure as this means there was something not healthy with the three going away and it makes our last baby questionable.

Another week on pins and needles goes by but in recheck ultrasound, the remaining baby is now a healthy fetus and continuing to show signs of good health. There's some material in the opposite horn- presumably the remains of the babies that didn't make it, but Cami is in good health and spirits.

Her due date is fast approaching and the one baby is growing and developing just fine and then one day Cami appears like the miracle of birth is about to begin. There's a discharge that begins one morning, but no baby by later that day. The baby's fine and healthy on ultrasound and it seems that the discharge is just the material from the other horn. Queens can on occasion, take days to deliver an entire litter,so we have no plan to intervene just yet.

A couple of days pass and still no kitten, but the kitten is still very vigorous on ultrasound exam. The trouble is this kitten will continue to grow and may even eventually become to big to deliver naturally if it won't initiate its own birth.

Marion and I decide one Tuesday morning, that we'll just have to intervene. The kitten should be mature enough so our only concern is if drugs don't manage the problem, we'll need to perform a C-section.

I get dressed quickly and leave home in surgical scrubs, messy hair and no make-up. But who cares right? Neither Marion nor Cami are worried about what I look like and I'm not greeting other clients today.

I arrive early to greet Cami and Marion and confirm that baby is still fine. Then Marion delivers news that I can only define as Murphy's law. It seems Marion is part of a reality TV show and the camera crew would just love to film whatever they can of Cami's delivery. Well who wouldn't? The birth of anything is exciting and kittens are adorable. I however could be considered less than adorable with my unkempt hairdo and plain jane face. I'm thinking, "of course, today I decide to leave the house like this". Well I can't very well say no just for the sake of vanity, so we forge ahead and start the birth process.

2 rounds of oxytocin and calcium later, and Cami is doing little else other than sweetly begging for a belly rub from every passerby.

I return to tell Marion we'll have to prepare for surgery and the camera crew will have one great story to tell.

So after preparing the surgery room and kitten resuscitation area, my technicians and I get down to business. We place a catheter, start IV fluids and give Cami the drugs to induce anesthesia, but darn it, she's fighting placement of the endotracheal tube. I can't go any further unless I can secure her airway.

Then all of a sudden.... I don't need to. It seems in the effort Cami took to resist the endotracheal tube, she pushed her abdominal muscles just enough, in conjunction with her uterine contractions to... Yes... Start delivering the kitten.

We turn Cami to her side and I assist a natural delivery with gentle traction on the kitten

A few minutes later,I have a slightly drunk Cami and a brand new hairless kitten and a large camera focused on all of us. A few brief rubs with a clean towel, the new kitten is vigorous and appears strikingly similar to mom. Could it be a female. Too difficult at this age, without a male for comparison to tell for sure, but it seems promising.

Cami is now wide awake and curious as to the happenings taking the spotlight off of her.

I return the new kitten to Cami and as if on cue, the kitten eeks out its first cries and Cami trills back in eager anticipation of her new offspring. Anyone with a beating heart is a cat lover at the sight of it.

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