Tag Archives: dehydration

The Acquisition of Kit Kat: Part I (original post January, 2011)

                                                                                                                             

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KitKat perches on the back fof the recliner each evening while her “Mama” watches TV

The Day Fate Stepped In

My daughter told me this story about KitKat’s rescue. I can only write her stories in the first person. I’ve tried writing her stories in a different manner  but for some reason the words just are not the same and the story doesn’t read the way I think it should. This story has an unusual twist for an ending for this cat is so loved by my daughter and the love is mutual.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

About five years ago I was working at a large multi veterinarian clinic. For some inexplicable reason, this clinic had more than its share of challenging cases that were accompanied by the most bizarre stories.  During our rare breaks, my fellow veterinarians and I often mulled over the strange cases, that came through the heavy doors. 
Midway through my already weary day, a woman rushed into the clinic carrying a tiny kitten in one hand. She told the receptionist that she had been out jogging and the kitten had fallen out of a tree.  A very strange story!  How did a tiny kitten climb a tree? I don’t think that the kitten had actually fallen out of the tree. The jogger just happened to find the kitten at the base of the tree or maybe the kitten really belonged to the woman and it had somehow been injured.  As she handed the kitten over to our receptionist, she said, “I hate cats and I’m not going to pay for its treatment!” With those parting words she made a bee -line for the door, gave it a shove and was gone in a New York minute.  Our receptionist rushed the tiny ball of fur to the back and then handed her to me. The kitten was a tiny, limp, and pathetic looking bit of dull grayish blue fur that fit in the palm of my hand. I gave it a hasty exam and noted that is was a female, severely dehydrated and in a non-responsive coma.  Clearly this was a rescue case and one that I saw as totally hopeless. I saw no hope for a tiny kitten that was barely clinging to life and looked as if it would die within minutes. And I reasoned, if by some miracle it lived, I simply could not afford to spend anymore money trying to save it’s life. I had just rescued two other cats that had cost me a great deal of money. Each one had needed a surgical specialist and even though their surgeries, medications, treatments, etc. were discounted, these rescues had put a deep hole in my wallet.

 Based on my findings and the opinions of two other doctors and  some techs, we all concluded the kitten as hopeless and that euthanasia was the only logical answer. So with a sinking feeling, I began preparing to euthanize the tiny waif. I wheeled the anesthetic machine over, turned on the gas, and began to “mask” her down. I then prepared an injectable euthanasia solution. I had the syringe in my hand and as I was ready to do an intra-cardiac stick, Dr. M. the very new graduate from Texas A & M vet school walked past. She suddenly stopped, peered over my shoulder, and said, “hey Dr Daniel what are you doing?” I explained that I was going to euthanize the comatose kitten. In a rather horrified voice, she said, “Oh my God! How could you? I thought you loved cats. Aren’t you a huge proponent of rescue. Why not try to save her.? I’ll help you with the cost and I will help you with the care of her.” I mulled over her words for a few seconds and I thought that translated into, “I’ll take her home with me.”  

    
Continued as:   The Acquisition of Kit Kat, Part II 
Post  and photograph  Yvonne               
       
      

  

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From Hopeless to Hope (click to enlarge photo- click again to reduce to thumbnail)

 Beautiful Hope, ” queen of the house”

 

 I was in the break room drinking coffee and gossiping with my friend and fellow veterinarian, when the receptionist called. Since I was sitting nearest the phone, I answered.  Ann, our receptionist told me there was a very sick cat that an elderly couple had brought to the clinic in a card board box.  Dr M and I went to the first exam room and on the table was a box with an elderly couple on each side of the exam table. I introduced myself  and Dr. M.  The little grey haired lady began telling me the story of the cat. Her eyes filled with tears and in a trembling voice she quickly told me the story. About a month ago just as dusk was falling, the couple heard a faint meow. They both went to the door to find a small calico cat sitting on the bottom step. They immediately noticed how thin she was and so they began feeding the kitty.  From the beginning is was apparent that she was wild. The couple put food out for her each day and she would appear from somewhere to eat and then retreat to the hedges. About 2 weeks ago they had begun putting card board boxes on their back porch. They put old towels in the two boxes thinking that eventually she would use one of the boxes for sleeping. The past week or so the lady said she could tell that the little kitty was pregnant.  They had found her lying inside one of the boxes about three days ago. They knew she must be ill because she made no attempt to leave the box and run away.  They had watched her for three days and it was appparent she was in labor.  The little lady turned to look at the little cat and said to me, “I named her Hope and I have been praying for a miracle. There is nothing that we can do for her- it is out of our hands.” I looked at the kitty and back to the couple. I just knew this sweet couple would not have the money for whatever it would take to try to save this kitty’s life but I quoted the price anyway. They just shook their heads but were no longer looking at me. I hesitated for about 30 seconds before saying that I would try to save her if they would sign her over to me.  With those words the little lady grabbed my hand and said, “thank you, thank you. My prayers have been answered. I know she will be alright now.” I called the desk and asked the secretary to bring the forms. The couple and I quickly signed our names and Hope officially became my cat. They each touched the little cat on the head then turned to squeeze my hands before leaving the room.   

Dr.M. had not said one word.  At the time we were examining the very ill kitty Dr. M. and I just exchanged glances and she would nod in agreement.  Dr. M.  had flashed a huge smile when I told the people that I would try to save her.   As soon as they left the room, both Dr M. and I went into over-drive.  We took a quick x-ray and soon had what we needed to know.  The x-ray showed blurry looking globs in her uterus.  Her temperature was taken and it was elevated- about 2 1/2 degrees above normal.   This little cat was indeed very ill. She made no attempt to get away as we handled her. But, I also believe that she knew we were helping her. I called for a tech who was in the exam room almost immediately. I told her to get everything ready for a c- section. We moved to a surgery room with Dr. M.  carrying Hope. The techs at this clinic were unbelievably smart and capable.  Katy had the intubation tube ready, the anesthesia machine, the drapes, gowns, gloves, and masks and battery powered razor, and the surgery pack- the whole works ready in about 5-7 minutes time. The plan was that Dr. M. would handle the intubation, get the anesthesia going and the machine hooked up to the heart monitor. Katy our tech got the IV fluids and set-up and IV pump which she rolled over to the table. The little cat looked so young- could not have been more that 7 months, was our guess. Much too young to be pregnant- she was still a kitten herself. (Cats are considered kittens until one year of age) I shaved a small spot on a front leg and began palpating for a vein. Finding a vein was not easy- she was dehydrated. Veins are not prominent on animals or humans if dehydrated. Finally I was able to get a “back flow” of blood which meant the needle and cannula where in place. I pulled the metal needle out and the white plastic cannula remained in the vein, IV tubing was connected to the cannula; I stepped back to straighten up and then took several deep breaths.   

Note:  To be concluded at a later date. There will be lots of details of the difficulties that I encountered as I tried to save this beautiful little cat.        

Post and photographs: Yvonne Daniel         Co-author:  Dr. Lisa Daniel        

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