Catherine proudly nursing her surviving kittens.

An announcement suddenly went over the intercom to everyone in the building: “Any available hands to medical!”

That was a pretty unusual thing to hear at the Connecticut Humane Society, so people from all areas dropped what they were doing and rushed to help.

They probably weren’t expecting this: Each person was handed a newborn kitten as they walked through the doors of the veterinary department with instructions to warm the baby up and stimulate breathing.

Intense and emotional and daunting. But there was no time to think, only to do…because little lives were at stake.

Just a bit ago, mama cat Catherine the Great had arrived at CHS as a stray, and she seemed to be in labor. But when her labor went on and on with no babies appearing, it was clear she needed emergency care. The veterinary team determined she had 8 kittens during an examination and jumped into action, performing a c-section to save Catherine and her little ones.

Newborn kittens getting oxygen.

Normally when kittens are born, their mama cat is immediately able to clean them up, keep them warm, and get their lives started. But with Catherine still in surgery, the babies needed special helpers to take on that role as each came into the world. The team even administered oxygen to give them an extra boost.

This tear-jerker of a day got harder when 4 of the kittens didn’t make it. But the 4 who did survive began lifting their heads wondering what was going on! They went to experienced foster homes overnight, while mama Catherine recovered from her lifesaving surgery.

Two kittens at 1 day old.

Though the kittens had made it through their first day, they were still incredibly fragile. One more of the litter passed away.

But the 3 remaining babies and Catherine have been spending the past few weeks in a foster home, and Catherine has even felt strong enough to nurse her teeny tinies.

An amazing little family, here today because of support from friends like you who make sure pets of all ages (including those who are just minutes old) have a chance.