Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A cat named Avalon (Days 1 and 2)

This blog is about the progress of Avalon's litter, but before we get to the litter, I must share Avalon's story.

Last year, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted a bob-tailed kitten. Her neighbor had a litter and she was trying to find homes for them. We didn't have a cat at the time, and since I am a cat lover, I talked my husband, Dewayne into bringing a new kitten into our home.

A friend and I went to look at the kittens and we both got one. I chose a pretty little girl who was silvery gray. I didn't have a name in mind and on the way home, my 9 yr old son Hunter, suggested the name Avalon. We often listen to a song that talks about the Isle of Avalon.

And so Avalon had a name. To thank Hunter for naming her she promptly got car sick all over him. We didn't have anything to clean him up with so Hunter got to ride home wearing kitty barf!!

Avalon was a good kitten and we enjoyed playing with her. She was a great mouser and was forever leaving us a gift of a mousey butt on the front pourch.

We discussed having Avalon spayed, but honestly life happened and we put it on the back burner. We had several traumatic things go on in our world, and it seemed the least of our concerns. Had I known then, what I know now, getting Avalon spayed would have been a top priority.

In March we heard the distinct sounds of kitty mating and we said "Well crap, she is probably pregnant". We figured, we would let her have a litter then get her spayed. Again, if we knew then.....

When Avalon's pregnany became obvious, she was confined to the house. She did NOT like this and we were contantly having to make sure she didn't find an escape route. We even had to put a baby gate into the window so we could open the window for fresh air. However, she was a perfect inside cat. She never tried to jump onto the table or counters. She never clawed at the furniture. She always used the litter box.

Avalon was the family cat, but she chose Dewayne to be her person. She followed him around like a puppy dog. When he would go take a bath, she would meow at the door until he let her in. She would lay down on the bathmat until he was done with his bath.

Soon Avalon begin to show signs of labor. She was restless and would yowl, She lost her mucus plug. We waited for the blessed event. We had excited friends who came over to watch the kittens be born. But no kitens. She would appear to go in and out of early labor.

Finally on Saturday May 14 at atound 11 pm, she went into hard labor. I was away at a retreat but our friend who Dewayne had called to come over, texted me and I assumed that when I returned on Sunday afternoon, we would have kittens. I waited up for news of kittens. But that news never came.

I returned home Sunday afternoon around 3pm and I could tell things were not good. She was still laboring and was unable to walk. I started calling vets. Most of them refered me to an emergency hospital over an hour away. When I called them, the vet on duty told me he figured she probably had a kitten turned sideways in the birth canal and would need a c-section. He would do one if I had $500. Since I did not have that, he said that I should get her to a vet first hing in the morning. He suggested I give her Kayro syrup mixed with water to keep her blood sugar up.

I reached one vet who agreed with the turned kitten theory. She would come in after hours and preform a c-section for $400 cash up front. Again, I did not have this much money. She said that it would be much cheaper to get a c section done during business hours and she told me to give her condensed milk to keep her strength up til morning. And so I did.

As 8 am on Monday morning, I called our local vet and he was out of town. I called the vet in the next town and was told to bring her in. We loaded up the 4 kids and drove 20 miles to the vet.

As soon as she looked at Avalon she asked if she was a natural bob-tail. We said she was and she told us that bob-tailed females often have a pelvic deformity and were often times not able to give birth naturally.

We were told that the kittens were probably dead and that we might lose Avalon as well. We told the vet that we could still feel the kittens moving and after feeling Avalon's belly, she agreed that there were live kittens. She warned us that the kittens may not survive the c section and that Avalon was weak and may not live thru the surgery either.

The vet then told us it would cost $400 and she would do it if we had $200 down. We had $100 to give up front and I told her I would borrow the money or sell my wii if I had to. I even asked if she would hold the title to our boat. She said if we were sure we could get the money by 3pm she would take the $100 and preform the c-section.

We gave her the go ahead. I called a dear friend and asked something I've never asked a friend before. I asked to borrow the $100. After conferring with her husband she called right back and said it was no problem to lend us the money. We will be forever grateful to these friends for helping out in this time of need.

So we left Avalon, and went home to wait for word. It was the longest morning of my life. Around noon we got a call from the vet. Avalon had 4 healthy kittens. Three were bob-tailed and one had a tail!! We had 3 gray and white kittens and a black one. Avalon had made it thru surgery, and I could come pick them all up at 3 pm.

So the kids and I went and picked up our girl and her babies. She was groggy, but we were told that was normal and that she would be more herself in the morning.

At home we set mama and kittens up in a quiet corner of the living room so I could watch her. She began to come around about 10 pm. She showed a little interest in the babies, and even picked up the black one and tried to move it, but she was too weak to walk very far.

That night Dewayne and I took the little kitty family into out room and the next morning everyone seemed to be fine. Then around 10 am, Avalon started acting like she was in pain. I called the vet and was told to bring her in. Before I got ready to go to the vet, Avalon had a bad seizure.

When we arrived at the office, another vet was on duty. He told us it didn't look good, but he would try. She was given meds and IV fluids. The Dr told us to come in around 3 pm and see how she was doing.

Dewayne and I went to get her and we were called back into the back room where the animals kennels are. Avalon lay in a kennel, panting and looking worse than when I dropped her off. We were told she had had several more seizures. We could take her home and bring her back the next day for IV fluids and meds or we could give them to her at home.

Dewayne picked her up and we went into the lobby to wait for the nurse to bring out the supplies and show us how to give her the IV fluids and meds. But then Avalon had another bad seizure. She was in obvious pain. Her eyes were fixed in a distant stare, she was panting and seemed to not even know we were there.

Dewayne and I wondered if it were time to let her go. We asked the nurse and she took us back to the Dr. The Dr said that she had been thru so much and he was not optimistic. We decided to let her go.

The doctor was very compassionate. We were with her when she crossed the rainbow bridge. The Doctor hugged Dewayne and I, gave us a tissue. He told us he was sorry and he felt like he had failed Avalon. He wrapped her in a towel, found a box, put her in it and taped it up for us so we could bring her home.

With tears in our eyes we brought her home,and explained as best we could to the kids. Dewayne and 11 yr old Daniel, dug her grave and then Hunter and the litle ones and I came out. We laid her to rest, put flowers in on top of her and then as Dewayne began to cover her, 4 yr old Allison went to get her toy rake and helped. Three year old Lil Bit, took the rake and he and Allison took turns helping send Avalon into the next life.

And so now we have a hole in our hearts. It's been a sad night and day for us. However, Avalon left behind four kittens. We are determined to raise them so she didn't die in vain. We are feding them every two hours. All of the kittens have homes waiting when they are ready. Two of them will be staying with us, one will go to the friend who loaned us the money to save them, and the other will go to the friends who spent several nights with us awaiting their birth.

This blog will follow the kittens as they grow. I don't know what will happen. Kittens that do not get to be with their mom for at least 72 hours are very prone to infections. I hope this blog has a happy ending and it will document the kittens growing up and going on to their new homes. However it could end with us losing all of them.

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