Feline abortion: often an unnerving necessity (Part 2)
Yes, feline abortion is often an unnerving necessity. Which is why the topic deserves a reprise. More deservedly so after spending another feline spay/neuter Sunday afternoon offering free snip-snips to feral and free-roaming cats — this time on female detail (for once).
Remember part one of the veterinarian's cat abortion lament (from back in my Dolittler days)? If not, here it is in its entirety. And here's an excerpt:
You might assume this would be an incendiary topic in the world of veterinary medicine. But it’s not. I’m sure there are plenty of vets unwilling to perform feline abortions but I don’t know any personally. Faced with the choice: terminate a pregnancy in the process of spaying a cat or add to the already huge unwanted kitten population … hmmm … let me think…
I, for one, don’t have to.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t ever.
Indeed, if ever there was a time to think about how many kittens you're NOT bringing into the world it's when you're performing spays in rapid succession and ALL but the teensiest are looking for all the world like they might be having the kittens on the surgery table.
As we plopped uterus after gravid uterus into the red biohazard bag behind us, my spay partner and I blackly joked that our job was more like a race to spay before the babes were born than anything else, so many of them were so near to term.
Which is more sad than anything else.
After all, I am aware at times like these that these are living creatures under my gloved fingers. I do recognize that some of the more voluminous uteruses could well hold kittens whose survival might be managed, should we have the inclination to pursue a rescue attempt.
Unfortunately, it's also the case that we currently find ourselves in the throes of a biological war — one that pits the fecundity of our felines against the ability of humans to keep their populations in check.
Viewed this way, each individual spay is its own tiny battle, its own little race to the finish line. And each one of those purplish-pink ovoids, whether small and beady or alarmingly bag-like, represents the exponential nature of the enemy's weaponry … as well as the power of the lowly spay procedure.
And yet, I still can't completely get away from the sentiments I expressed in post #1 on the subject:
…there’s something about recognizing the coloration of the kittens’ fur beneath the thin lining of the uterus that evokes the vision of kittens in a plastic bag. And drowning kittens in a bag seems antithetical to the values I pledged to when I took the veterinarian’s oath at graduation.
Yet alleviating suffering is very much on my oath's menu. Because the way I see it, every single uterine bulge that succumbs to the war against feline overpopulation is one less kitten we'll have to scrape off the street, feed in a parking lot or — and only if we're very lucky — find a home for.
Dr. Patty Khuly