Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meet Punkin'!

Punkin' came to us thanks to an error by my husband. An upstairs neighbor came knocking at the back door one October morning, asking if we had lost a black cat. Alan, in a state of panic, rushed outside and upstairs to fetch our 'missing' cat. His fear was that Pwincess had somehow gotten outside! I had just gotten out of bed when he came down the hall, holding a little black cat. Worried, he said, "Honey, Pwincess got out!" He put the kitty down, and a quick look told me that it was *not* our Pwincess! I said, "Honey, that's not Pwincess. The kitty is too skinny, and Pwincess would have never let you pick her up!" After a brief "DUH" moment, we went about figuring out what to do with this little black furball. The kitty was quite sociable, but didn't want the boys coming near. Pwincess was curious, but didn't want to come near.

Alan decided we would name the kitty Punkin', after a black cat that his Oma and Opa had at one time. After calling Cindy at Virtually Home Chicago, we cordoned off Punkin' in the spare bedroom - to reduce the chance of spreading worms and/or fleas to the others - and left a litter box, some food and some water. Punkin' was quite vocal about being left alone, so we took turns every couple of hours to check up on, and spend some time with Punkin'. Each time we went in, all Punkin' wanted was to be held. To lie on your chest or lap, and just snooze, was all Punkin' wanted. Talk about your SQUEE! Punkin' wasn't eating a whole lot, but seemed ok, so we didn't worry too much. At this point, we didn't know if Punkin' was a boy or a girl, but we were to find out later on that night.

After dark, I went in to check on Punkin' and got a scare: there was a pool of blood on the floor near the window! In a panic, I called Cindy again, asking what to do. Punkin' was clearly still a kitten, but now we had to consider the possibility of needing to make an emergency vet trip. We agreed that Alan and I would keep a very close watch on Punkin', and if we saw anymore bleeding, and where it was coming from, we could then decide the next step. Less than 5 minutes after I hung up, Punkin' gave us our answer: Punkin' was a girl, and was bleeding because she was pregnant, and losing her babies. As I saw the first one pass, my heart sank. I immediately called Cindy back, and said, "Punkin' is a girl". I then explained what was happening. Based on the state of development, I estimated that she was in the human-equivalent of the first trimester.

Fortunately, there was an AETC (Animal Emergency Treatment Center) location one block east of us. So, we packed Punkin' in a carrier, and took her to AETC. The vet examined her, to make sure she wasn't under any stress. While we were there, another kitten passed. The vet estimated Punkin' to be somewhere between six and ten months. Still a baby, but having babies. Since Punkin' had no fever, and seemed to be fine, the vet simply gave her a saline injection (to prevent dehydration), and told us to keep her comfortable in her room. She advised us to remove any other kittens that passed, and that she most likely would need an emergency spay the next day, so no more food or water. In total, three kittens were passed. Both Alan and I were heartbroken.

The following morning, Cindy came by to take Punkin' to Mid North Animal Hospital, so they could give her a more thorough exam, and schedule her spay. Since everything checked out normal, her spay was scheduled for the following day. When we got the spay results, we realized just how lucky little Punkin' was that we took her in. The placenta from each of the three miscarried kittens had not passed, and was becoming necrotic. Had we not taken her in, she would have died shortly after miscarrying.

Since the day she arrived, Punkin' had us both wrapped around her little paw. So naturally, we added her to our furry family. To this day, she still wants lots of attention. Whether it be fetching some of her favorite toys (yes, she plays fetch!), stretching out for belly rubs, or just snoozing in your lap or arms, Punkin' continues to bring much joy to our home, even if she persists in wanting attention at inopportune moments (like making dinner). In fact, the busier you are, the more she wants your attention! We call her our little siren, because she sounds like one when trying to get your attention!

Punkin's story has a happy ending. Unfortunately, for many animals that are not spayed or neutered, the story doesn't have a happy ending. Punkin' is a shining example of why all pets should be spayed or neutered.

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