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Kittening Gone Awry

Mary's pregnancy takes a turn for the worse. Her tale was not one I thought I'd ever write about.

If you love animals, and more specifically cats, then the prospect of kittens is an exciting thing. Well that was how it was with my little orange and white fur ball, Mary. She was always a playful little monster and got into trouble more often than once. We adopted her and her sister while they were kittens. Mary and Martha became their names. Bloodlines? If I had to guess I would say they are obviously mixed, but I believe Turkish Van is prominent in their breeding.

Mary apparently came across a tom one day when she was out of the house and then a few weeks later I began to think she had gotten pregnant. She began to grow larger, but not by much since she is rather small. She also grew extremely clingy to me, way more than usual. Now since we are in Africa, vets are not too common, and none are as experienced as the practiced vets in America. In the town next to us we did have a vet and he made a house call to check her out as well as deliver a few shots to one of my dogs, who had on Mother's Day been hit by a car.

He confirmed my suspicions; she was indeed pregnant, and in fact, farther along than I had thought. The next weeks dragged on as I waited anxiously for kittens. Finally it happened. Contractions began at about lunch time. I waited by her, ready to step in when needed. An hour went by... nothing. Two, then three hours followed. Seven o'clock rolled around, and I grew increasingly worried. My stomach churned with the realization, something is wrong. For hours I could see only a tiny bit of the kitten, and hour after hour, no progress came.

Earlier I mentioned to my father that I thought something was wrong, but he told me to wait and give her time. After all, it was her first litter. Now my patient was gone. She was in a tremendous amount of pain and I knew I needed to tell my father. He came and looked her over, and then he saw the issue. The kitten was too big for her. I was afraid of that. By nine o'clock, we took her to the nearby town to see the vet.

This particular vet knew the basics but did not have the place nor the knowledge to care for my cat. He called his boss in a bigger city and arranged for us to see him tomorrow morning if she survived. By this point, tears began to sting my eyes. I had hidden my tears all day, but now they flowed freely. I loaded Mary into her box and took her back to the car.

We got home at about ten, neither my mom or I could sleep. Eleven came, and something began to happen. Mary retreated under the bed and then leaped onto the bed. I had laid towels over the bed earlier so she could lay on my bed. Silently, she suffered as a lifeless gray kitten finally was born. She turned to groom the lifeless bit of fur, but soon she realized her baby was dead. I carried the limp body outside and buried it.That night I got a bit of shut eye, but I still was anxious. I knew there was another kitten we needed to deal with tomorrow. Yet still I clung to the hope that it might still be alive.

Bright and early, we set off to the clinic that just might save Mary's life. Once we reached the clinic, I carried the big pink tub in and set it on an examination table. Everyone was so friendly, so I felt a little assured. First they gave her medicine so she could start contractions, but after an hour, contractions never came. The head vet soon came but what he said startled me, "We are going to get her ready for surgery."

The next twenty minutes flew by in a blur. I calmly petted Mary's shivering head as they injected shot after shot until she fell limp in my arms. Then they shaved her stomach and carried her away to the operation room. I peered in the windows. Watching. Waiting. I watched as they tied her up and cut her open and began surgery.  Three hours my dad and I waited when finally they allowed us in. They found one more kitten, but it was also dead. Afterwards they prescribed pain medication, put on a cone, and we were on our way home. 

Mary wasn't herself for the rest of the day and it sickened me. She didn't recognize me or my room. She slid across the floor looking for her babies. Her meows were strange and her third eyelid showed constantly. She kept biting her tongue and clamping her teeth on it until it started to change colors. I had to keep opening her mouth to loosen her jaws on her tongue. By nightfall, I lied on my bed with Mary laying close beside me. Finally with bleary eyes she looked up at me, and with the slightest recognition, she meowed before falling asleep.

In the morning she seemed way better; only her right hind leg hung limp and at an awkward angle and her pupils were dilated and wouldn't return to normal. We decided that she just needed time to recover and she'd be fine. A week passed, then two weeks and still no change. It appeared she was blind and the nerves in her leg were gone. We took her back to the clinic and they gave us some vitamins for her eyes and that would hopefully restore the nerves in her leg.

I will skip a month. Her eyes are almost completely normal now, though her leg remains lifeless. Every night I apply ointment to her leg for the wounds, then I massage it to keep the blood flowing. I also constructed a full body sling to support her leg until I have save the money to purchase her a wheelchair. Hopefully one day she will be well again, as I so often pray.