Today was my last day of work at A-Veterinary Hospital before the summer break. Nothing was planned for surgery so “A” brought in her two dogs and her sister’s cat for some dentals, spays, and neuters. Unexpectedly a cat came in to be spayed and the owner was worried she had been bred.
This little tabby was six months old and purring like crazy. On the initial exam Doctor K did not feel that she had been bred but once the kitty was in the back room sure enough she found something. With her age it was not expected that she would be very far into her pregnancy but she was pretty well pregnant.
During surgery Doctor K pulled out the uterine horns with six little golf balls developing. After the surgery, that went well, “A” took a scalpel blade and cut one of the sacs to pull out a little kitten baby. It had distinguishable features of paws, tail, head, eyes, mouth, and nose but still was a pink alien that was undeveloped.
Fascinated by the small being and curious about the other six sacks I took the blade and began dissecting the rest of the sacs. Much to my surprise each baby was different. Half were these hardly distinguishable dots that had been fertilized but had not grown very far. One was fairly developed but still very small. Under a magnifying glass you could see different parts but it was hard to distinguish at first glance. The last fetus was the most surprising of all; the only thing that remained of the fetus was a head! The fetus had begun to be reabsorbed by the mother and all that remained was a good sized head.
I chuck it up to the possibility that the momma was still too young to support the growth of six kittens but see how the body had favored the development of only one kitten was fascinating to imagine. It is quite possible that if the pregnancy had been allowed to continue there would have only been one healthy kitten out of the litter.
It was an interesting experience that I probably will experience very infrequently.