Last night we got a call: a cat was giving birth to her kittens, but she wouldn't lick her first kitten clean and bite off the placenta. We came straight away. I've seen chicks being born, but never kittens.

When we arrived they were rubbing the first kitten dry in a warm blanket. We cut the cord of the placenta with a sterilized pair of scissors. Whilst we were busy with the first one, the second kitten came. The animal lay still. We actually thought it was dead. But no, it still moved. I picked it up. It was still wet, with placenta and umbilical cord (the others were all watching in horror), and I held it upside down. It was still not breathing. Only after some more rubbing and massaging did it open its mouth. She tried to breath. However there was some moisture coming out of her mouth. Meanwhile, we also called the vet to ask what else we could do. He brought us some drops to put into its nose.

After a while, continually slowly rubbing the animal with a towel it began to breathe more easily and faster, first through its mouth and then also through its nose. But it had become so weak that it couldn't drink from its mum. We gave it some “kitten milk” with a syringe which it emptied totally. Eventually by showing it the mum's nipple it began to drink properly.

The two kittens and the mother are doing well. It was a very special experience and worth the effort. We saved the little kittens life.