Those of you who follow us online will know that Mimi was mentioned to us by one of our friends in the community, Andrea. She tweeted us a picture of Mimi, heavily pregnant, looking a little bit rough around the edges, and asked if we could help.
Andrea put us in touch with Feng, who knows the owners of Mimi and who was also concerned. Feng emailed us asking if we could help. Feng’s first language isn’t English, so she tried to share as much information about Mimi’s care as she could. What we were able to ascertain was:
- Mimi was owned by a nearby restaurant and they kept her there for mouse control purposes
- Mimi had 2 litters previously, but none of the kittens had survived
- Mimi occasionally was cared for indoors, as Feng would take her in during inclement weather and had also taken her in for the last litter, although the kittens didn’t make it in the end
- The owners wanted her back to hunt as soon as possible
- She did not think that Mimi had seen a vet previously (from this we inferred that she was not vaccinated)
We asked Feng to bring Mimi to us so we could look after her while she had the babies. Our vet, Cesar, from Home Vets London came same day to give her a health check, but feisty Mimi was not having any of it! We resolved very quickly that we couldn’t check her properly for contagion without distressing her (a bad idea with a heavily pregnant cat!) and given she was highly unlikely to have been vaccinated, she could therefore not stay in the cafe.
Although we have an isolation room here in the cafe, there were too may potential health issues that would become unmanageable if she passed them on to her kittens. One sedentary cat with contagious disease is manageable - but multiple kittens with unknown health issues bursting out every time you open a door is a real risk. There would be no moving Mimi and her babies once they were born, so Mimi had to be even further away from our cats until we could get the necessary information about her state of health.
We have an office down the road from the cafe, so Mimi moved in with the admin team so she could have a nice, quiet, safe and warm place for her kittens.
Although Mimi was in relatively good health, she was too heavily pregnant to have been hunting for her food, so we don’t believe she had enough good nutrition in the final days leading up to the birth. We also believe that this may have been a major contributing factor in her previous litters not surviving.
However, Mimi wasn’t badly malnourished or emaciated and she wasn’t in an especially bad state. Mue, when we rescued her 4 years ago, was in a far worse state, and so were her kittens (not that you’d think that to see them now!).
Mimi was generally ok - her vaccinations and spaying being the only issues we had a real problem with. This suggests she is quite a good hunter and adept at taking care of herself. Plus, being a natural charmer, we wouldn’t be surprised if she was getting a few cheeky meals from her friends in the community and scraps from the restaurant kitchen.
Her poor fur condition when she joined us was likely related to her being too heavy with kittens to hunt and groom herself well and possibly that the food she was getting from the kitchen didn’t offer all the vitamins and nutrients she needed. Somewhat negligent care, we agree, but she was not in a poor enough state that we would go so far as to declare her previous care as abusive. In all likelihood, we believe her previous owners simply didn’t know just how much extra food an expecting queen requires.
Mimi didn’t waste any time! 24 hours later (after devouring a truly astonishing amount of Paediatric Care Cat Food) she had given birth to 6 kittens! It was quite an exciting evening, but it was a real strain for Mimi.
By the time the 6th kitten, Ernest, was born, Mimi was tired. She left Ernest at the back of the carrier, still in his amniotic sac, with the placenta attached, and couldn’t muster up the energy to break the sac, bite the cord and eat the placenta as she had done for all the other kittens. Quick thinking Mehreen, one of the accidental kitty midwives for the evening (we were supposed to go out for a drink, and ended up helping Mimi have kittens instead!), quickly took initiative, donned surgical gloves and saved Ernest’s life! We tied off the placenta, cut the cord and with a little gentle chest massage from Mehreen, tiny Ernest took his first breath and shouted to high heaven!
Mimi was a very protective mother - so much so that we created a sign for any visitors who might need to be aware of her sudden mood changes!
However, those of you who have cared for lactacting mothers will know - the oxytocin wears off! As the kittens approached their 5th week, Mimi was done with their kitten cavorting nonsense. In addition, she was fit and well and sprightly and ready to hunt - so she started hunting and bunny kicking the only prey in the room - her own little kittens! They had to be separated, stat. Mimi was then taken in to be spayed and have a full virus check done.
Now, we’ve mentioned Mimi is a fiesty lady. Three bent needles later, a grievously scratched vet (Poor David from Medivet!!) and our very own Chief Cat Carer with a needlestick injury (clean needle, it’s all ok, don’t worry), and Mimi was finally down for her surgery and able to be checked. It was without doubt the most challenging consult we’ve ever had with a cat in our care! Mimi is absolutely a fighter!
But she also has a very loving heart. Mimi greets us every morning with head rubs and purrs and she asks for cuddles all the time. She has absolutely won us over with her strong loving personality and we’re going to be visiting her often to make sure she’s ok.
Mimi has now been spayed and vaccinated and is now returned to the life she knew best. We are going to miss her, and we hope that we’ve set her on the path to an easier and healthier life.
Mimi's kittens live in the cafe now - the Wilde kittens - and are doing fabulously well!