Saving Lives

Today at Aanifeira, I shared a very special experience with our two vets Claudia and Joana in SAVING LIVES.

A black and white female cat had turned up as a kitten in a factory several months ago and everyone thought it would be nice to keep her but not to sterilize her as ‘this would be against nature’.  This belief is quite common here in Portugal, hence the ongoing flow of the street animal population.

One concerned Aanifeira member, who has followed the welfare of this cat very closely over the past few months (also wanting to get her sterilized when she was younger) became concerned when the young cat was found to be pregnant.   The pregnancy went well until yesterday when she gave birth to a stillborn kitten however no further births happened for over 24 hours.

The member decided to bring the cat into the Aanifeira clinic to see what could be done and an x-ray was organized immediately to see if there were any more babies.  She was found to be carrying another four kittens and the thought was that they might be dead.

Due to Saturday being the busiest day of the week for client consultations, the veterinarians usually do not take on operations but today was an emergency and there was no time to waste.  On top of this two Dutch volunteer veterinarians had just left and a new one was about to fly in therefore leaving the clinic short staffed for an emergency such as this.

I was called in to help out as an extra pair of hands was needed to help resuscitate the newly born kittens and keep on eye on the monitoring equipment.  I quickly dressed in the scrubs and shoes that were given to me and the operation got underway.

Claudia and Joana quickly performed the incision and then gently removed each sack containing a kitten and as we saw them emerging, slight movements could be seen which quickly confirmed that they were alive!  As they came out, Claudia and Joana clamped the umbilical cord of each kitten and then handed them to me for drying and massaging to stimulate breathing. 

All four of them reacted very well with the exception of one pure white one which appeared to have breathing difficulties but Joana came to help and with some gentle mouth to nose respiration and clearing of nasal  passages the small creature, much to our relief, began to react.

Whilst Joana and I worked feverishly on the four tiny kittens, Claudia completed the caesarean operation spaying the cat as well  Hot water bottles were quickly organized and once mother cat was in recovery we were able to introduce her to her new kittens which she accepted without hesitation.  What a sight to see when an animal’s maternal instinct comes out in a situation such as this.  This made our day and I was so happy to be part of it!


About Aanifeira

Aanifeira – Associação dos Amigos dos Animais de Santa Maria da Feira is a non-profit/ no-kill organization with around 400 abandoned dogs and a small amount of cats in its care.
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