It’s a cold and drizzly day when the lady comes into our office. She’s bawling and has a limp towel in her arms. Less than five minutes before she bust through our door, she was calm and collected, on her way to work. Then life happened, and the car in front of her hit a cat.
The cat had tried to dash across the road and made a dire miscalculation. The car either didn’t notice or didn’t care, and drove on. Our good Samaritan stopped to check on the cat, and here we are.
My staff goes into action, one bringing the towel back to me in the treatment area as another calms the lady and begins to collect her information. I get the summary from my assistant as I open the towel, and I make my classic disappointed face as I see the cat. It’s a tortoise-shell female with a few scrapes from the bounces across the asphalt and a distended abdomen. Her mammary glands are developed, which means she’s either a new mother or a soon-to-be mother. But she’s suffered a fatal neck injury. She is dead.
I absent-mindedly palpate her abdomen just to see if she has a belly full of fluid that might be blood. Instead, I feel a little push back against my fingers. I palpate again and I realize she is pregnant, and the kitten is moving. It’s alive.
To make a long story short, we perform a bizarrely truncated caesarian section and are able to save one of her six kittens. Luckily for the surviving baby, the mom was very close to going into labor or the kitten’s lungs wouldn’t have been developed enough to survive outside mom.
The good Samaritan decides to take on the responsibility of raising the kitten, bottle feedings and all. As we return her towel to her, fresh from the wash, she asks us for name ideas. The towel was left in her car by her daughter. It’s a Star Wars pattern.
And that is how I met Leia. The following weeks will share her medical life story.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at email@example.com.