As the felines of the world continue to breed unchecked, more and more cats are living in feral colonies. Colony caretakers do all they can to provide food, water and medical attention. But it’s not easy in ANY sense! You watch as these neglected animals slowly trust you, inching closer day by day. Then you notice that one of them is wheezing, has a wound or is (dreadfully) pregnant. Or suddenly, there are kittens running around the area. Now you have to trap THAT specific cat or try to snatch the swift, energetic babies. Your patience is finally rewarded as the “clink” of the trap door echoes. Then comes the real mystery of what issue you’ll “get to treat” with this feline. And every once in a while, it’s one of those rare and shocking problems. In this case, a young stray kitten was missing one important thing–an anus!
The poor kitten had spent the first weeks of it’s life with a thin membrane completely blocking it’s anus.
And yes, that means that for it’s whole life, the kitten had likely never pooped. Ouch. How is that even possible?! For those you who foster neonatal kittens, you KNOW poop is the most important and easiest way to determine their health. (I can’t tell you how many poop photos have been on my phone. ALSO why rescuers don’t play that “post the 7th picture on your phone” games on social media. You’re welcome!!!)
No one can be 100% sure and the veterinarians are baffled that the kitten hadn’t passed away. We’re relieved that this baby found it’s way off the streets too. It was Florida local animal advocate, TNR trapper and fosterer Victoria Lynn Mccann Tillman, that helped saved the kittens life.
Victoria and 2 other women were trapping at a colony in Thonotosassa, Florida, on October 5th. The large clowder of cats had continuously been growing and needed to be halted.
They headed to the Humane Society to drop off the nights’ catches.
The cats would all be spayed or neutered the next morning through the TNR program available. Once the felines were settled down more in the cages, they were able to examine them a bit closer.
It’s always a roller coaster of emotions when you realize you’ve trapped generations of free-breeding cats. Happy they won’t reproduce any more, but sad thinking most litters don’t consist of just 1 kitten. The average litter size is actually 3 to 5 kittens!
Eleven cats on the patio for fixing. The big orange and white boy is the dad and the dilute torti is the mom of the buff kitten. #nomorekittens The feeders said she had more but this is the only survivor. They think she didn’t have enough milk. So so sad.
But this sweet little kitten had been born with the undiscovered anal deformity, possibly resulting from inbreeding.
This is just one more horrible thing about leaving stray and feral cats unfixed. However, this problem wasn’t one easily remedied–or even discovered until it was almost too late.
The kitten was a female, estimated to be about 6-7 weeks old. At that age, she was an option for possible socialization and was passive during medical exams. Likely because she was in so much pain with a full colon.
After lively debates on Victoria’s Facebook page regarding her name, she was dubbed “Emie”.
So how exactly do you discover that a kitten is essentially “missing an anus”?
For nursing kittens in foster care or without their moms, they are given formula to supplement this. Little Emie’s mom had seemingly been unable to feed her, and now she was fussy with her supplemented feedings.
At this age, poop isn’t always a consistent thing though. Until more solid foods are regularly consumed, bowel movements can be sporadic. Thankfully, Victoria knew to watch out for this and three days later knew something was wrong.
I’ve had this kitten since late Saturday night. Started syringe feeding when I noticed she wasn’t eating. She hasn’t pooped yet. I’ve massaged her behind with warm cotton and gave laxatone last night and this morning. Any ideas???
Other experienced fosters provided some good advice for her to get little Emie to eat though at least.
Praying for a poop now. My vet did check her colon this morning and said she was not blocked or impacted. She does go in her box like she wants to poop but nothing happens. Hoping this is gonna be it.
That wasn’t “it” by a long shot.
When that didn’t work, she saw another vet for a second opinion and a second unsuccessful enema.
She then made an appointment with a third vet associated with a local 501(c)3 non-profit who joined the mission; Cat Haven Rescue Inc.
The vets at Veterinary Emergency Group in Tampa, Florida realized that although there IS an opening for an anus–it was blocked by a membrane!
She had received the enemas but they hadn’t actually been injected into her colon at all.
This condition is officially called Atresia Ani. (*Look at your own risk!)
Now that little Emie has a working anus (opening), everyone is hoping it stays that way!
[The vet] wants to see her back tomorrow night whether she poops or not. She doesn’t know if the opening will stay or not and has never done any kind of surgery like this. Only time will tell if she will continue to poop. Poor thing. Please pray for her.
Emie is able to have bowel movements, but the saddening site is heartbreaking at times.
She pooped again and screamed the whole time. ?
Dr. Katy said her butt hole is still open. She doesn’t have a lot of poop in her. She suggested putting a thermometer in a couple times a day. If she stops pooping then it closed up again so its a waiting game but at least she has control of her facilities.
So we now wait with Victoria and Emie to see if surgery will be required. Victoria knows that Emie’s health can change in a second. Others that get to meet the ginger and white cutie are all rooting for her too!
If you would like to help Emie, please feel free to donate via Paypal to Victoria at Vtillman111@yahoo.com. You can also donate directly to Cat Haven Rescue HERE.
And as soon as Emie is healthy enough to be spayed, she will be up for adoption! It is not known yet whether she will deal with lifelong special needs. Whomever she ends up with, this cutie will never be missing one other important thing again–love.
All photos courtesy of Victoria Lynn Mccann Tillman.