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September Sausage....

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Rough month--that's pretty much the gist of it. I saw some things that most of us don't, and I'll probably see them again. We're pretty much all in agreement that TNRM is the way to go with managing and caring for stray and feral cats, but like everything else the practice is messier than the theory. And the actual mechanics of TNRM can be pretty disturbing.

Those of you who know me know I work as a post-surgical recovery volunteer at The Cube, the Philadelphia SPCA's facility for spay/neuter surgery for stray and feral cats--I've been doing this for one group or another for almost five years now, but I still see and learn new things. Not all of them are pleasant.

The Cube's OR is set up to do two spay surgeries at a time--neuter surgeries are done in the pre-op area. Our primary vet is Dr. R. Muraka, known to those who watch "Animal Cops: Philadelphia".

A few weeks ago two surgeries were going on; a newly-minted vet was doing a spay/abortion surgery on a cat in a very advanced state of pregnancy while Dr. Muraka was preparing to do a routine spay surgery.

Now here's the deal--when pregnant female cats are spayed the kittens do not survive. I know a vet who attempted to save some kittens on the verge of being naturally born who swore she would never do that again after only two survived--I was there when those kittens were initially revived.

When a pregnant female cat is anesthetized for surgery, the anesthesia usually kills the fetal kittens. We see the fetal sacs being removed, but the kittens inside them are already dead. Ugly, but nothing to be done about it.

When Dr. Muraka opened his cat he discovered that she wasn't breathing and began a frantic effort to rescussitate her--it didn't work and she died on the table. The vet doing the spay/abortion surgery stopped to help him, leaving her cat with the fetal sacs removed but the surgery incomplete. The cat was in a very advanced state of pregnancy and the anesthesia did not kill the kittens--they died, but only after being removed from the cat. I saw the sacs move.

Just prior to giving birth, those fetal sacs join into what looks like a sausage and then the kittens enter the birth canal one after the other. Two weeks ago we removed "the sausage" from a pregnant cat. The individual kittens in that "sausage" had to be euthanized by individual injections. I watched that being done.

During the Civil War, most Americans had heard of but never seen elephants. Combat veterans from that war describe going into battle as "Going to See the Elephant". Me, I saw "The Sausage". And I'll probably see it again....
post #2 of 6
I understand why it's done. But I dont think I would have the stomach to do it. And I'm a nurse. I would be too upset and crying. Not good for anyone there. I'm happy that there are people that are brave enough to do this though. Too many unwanted, unloved kitties out there to let more and more be born.

post #3 of 6
I cannot imagine how difficult that must be. Such an awful reality of the situation. Let me say that I am so thankful there are those like you that manage to take care of these cats despite the heartbreaking things to endure with the unborn kittens.

I helped TNR a colony living in the woods several years ago. It haunts me still all the kittens we watched staggering to collapse from flea anemia and disease. We rushed them to the vet only to watch them die after they have suffered for weeks on end.

There is no way to get to most of these feral kittens to help. Momma hides them and teaches them to be silent. They suffer until they die. Yes some make it, but many more don't. With a feral pregnant cat, the most humane and compassionate thing is to abort as hard as that might be.

Maybe one day....in a perfect world.....ALL pet owners will have their animals spay/neutered in hopes of decreasing the overpopulation and suffering of strays/ferals. God bless you for all you do.
post #4 of 6
Wow, I am at a loss for words. Thank you for having the compassion and strength to do this!
post #5 of 6
That is why I work in the shelter and not the vet - the little time I spend in the vet offices when picking up / dropping off shelter cats or with my own breaks my heart. I think the vets tell me more about what is going on because they know me through the shelter and sometimes I wish they didnt.

I dont know how you do it, even working at a no (low) kill my heart aches for each of the ones we had to euthanise for advanced problems - there is no way I could actually watch. I almost puked watching one of our shelter boys being neutered while chatting with the vet!
post #6 of 6
I can only say you have incredible stringht & courage... thank you for doing this much needed but dreaded process...
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