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I Waited to Spay My Cat; She Almost Died from an Infection

I didn't spay my cat out of fear and guilt, and then tragedy struck: She fell ill with pyometra.

 |  Jan 30th 2014  |   23 Contributions


Author's note: This is a story from my best friend, who will be going by the name Ana here on Catster. She has written several pieces about her life with cats and rescuing cats from all sorts of situations. She prefers to remain anonymous. All names have been changed, but I can verify that her stories are true.

Stasi as a kitten.

My cat and I haven't always had the intimate relationship we do now. After losing my Mina to FIP, I spent several years too afraid to invest myself in another companion. When Stasi fell into my lap, I spent the best part of her childhood worrying, scrutinizing everything. Her food intake, her water intake, her bowel movements, her urine pH. She underwent a complete blood count and the ELISA test before I could even bring myself to really love her.

The thoughts of separation and mortality, the black cloud of premature death, had never left me, and it was with these obsessive thoughts in my mind that I decided not to have her in for spay surgery. In my ignorance and grief, I imagined that her heat cycles and discomfort were a small price for she and I to pay to avoid this opportunity for the black cloud to find its way into our lives.

Stasti in her "catio".

By six months of age, Stasi began to experience the first pangs of puberty. Her sleep was disturbed. Her chatter became different, more insistent. Fetching and nipping had always been integral parts of our play, but she was fetching less and nipping more. I would brush her hair every evening, and talk to her about the changes she was experiencing. Her understanding of the English language is limited, but my soothing tones and familiar words were comforting. Her first heat was hard for her, I now realize.

Whatever annoyance I felt from her pacing, prowling and peculiar behaviors was surely much less than the frustration and discomfort she was experiencing. Whatever the sensations of heat, it created in her this tireless, anxious pattern that was obviously discomfiting. After a few days she was back to herself, but doubts lingered, and I began to research the spay procedure. I watched videos of it being performed, and studied the pain medications and anesthesia used. I called all of the veterinary offices within a 50-mile radius to determine how many female patients each had lost during their practice of spay surgery.

Stasi lounging in a chair out back.

Eventually, I chose a far-off clinic with a perfect track record for spay, and made a mental note to set an appointment. Several uneventful weeks went by, until one day, Stasi started to exhibit those telltale signs of anxiety and urgency again. She circled my legs violently, and would flip over on her back again and again, as if attempting to draw my attention to her belly. I sat beside her and rubbed her belly, noting that it was perhaps slightly swollen, before picking up the phone to call the clinic and schedule the spay.

For the rest of the day, Stasi followed me from room to room, circling and flipping, circling and flipping. Finally I sat on the bed and really watched her. Her eye contact was consistent and frantic. I stroked my hands gently down her body, again feeling that "fullness" in her belly, then the dam burst. Greenish yellow pus poured out of her vagina. My terror was absolute and I sat there, frozen with shock for several moments before leaping up and racing to the car with her. On the road to the nearest clinic I called to inform them off what had just happened, that we were on out way, and to please be ready immediately.

I burst into the clinic door, shirt and pants streaked with pus, my girl lying across my shoulder. They wasted not a moment, rushing her to surgery and performing a full and careful hysterectomy, making sure to leave no infected tissue behind. They forced me to leave when the office closed at 6 p.m.

I stared at the television like a zombie until 4 a.m., then drove back and sat in the parking lot until the first headlights came up the driveway. They let me in to see her right away. Aside from a few shaved patches, she was in great form. I insisted on pain medication, but despite me watching closely, she never seemed to need it.

The beautiful Stasi.

We did a lot of sleeping for the next few days, and in the last six years, we've never slept apart. Stasi was back almost immediately to more fetching, less biting, and is the beautiful, intelligent, gracious girl that she's always been. I am so thankful for the swift and competent hands of the local veterinary clinic, who treated me with the utmost of compassion and respect despite my hysteria.

Has spay surgery had a positive effect on your life, your cat's life, or your relationships with cats? Share your successful spay story with us in the comments section!

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