a male kitten undergoes life "altering" surgery
December 10, 2010

At the MSPCA at Nevins Farm, we stay pretty busy from April through the winter holidays.  This means lots of routine spay and neuter surgeries on our many animals to prepare them for adoption.  Some days, our veterinary staff members probably feel as if ALL they do are spays and neuters!  In fact, more than 20 sterilization surgeries can be done in a single day by our dedicated and efficient vet team.

But there are generally a handful of other appointments and surgeries sprinkled throughout the week – from geriatric exams and blood work to unique surgical cases.

One recent case involved a litter of young kittens who were surrendered in mid September.  Just 6 weeks old, these little guys had been found living under a tool shed.  Sadly, many people allow their cats access to the outdoors, where there a number of risks to a cat’s well-being: poor weather, traffic, predators (including stray dogs), and chemical dangers (including rat poison).  But what’s even more upsetting is when intact cats are allowed to roam and become pregnant.  In a world with so many homeless animals, it really isn’t fair to let cats and dogs become pregnant and have babies who will also need forever homes.  Depending on how responsible this cat’s caregiver was, they may not have even realized she was pregnant!

Fortunately, the kittens were brought to the adoption center young enough to be properly socialized.  It’s wonderful that we have a large foster care program, allowing us to place entire litters of kittens into a more natural home setting to adapt to indoor life.  But anyone who has spent time with young animals knows what a handful they can be! 

This litter of seven kittens was no exception.  Because of their tendency to play too rough, one of the kittens, named Roger, suffered from an unlikely injury at 3 months of age.  The opening of his penis was scared almost all the way over.  He could barely urinate.  Left untreated, this condition can become a problem very quickly, causing extreme pain, infection and possibly death.  To repair Roger’s injury, Dr. Lynch performed a perineal urethrostomy.  This involves general anesthesia for the animal, then opening the urethra (the tube through which urine travels to exit the body) and removing the excess tissue outside.  The result is a urethral opening that appears more like a female.  Of course, Roger is still a male cat – but the result of his life saving surgery might make him appear otherwise!

Roger is still in foster care, recovering well from his procedure, and continuing to experience life as a social indoor cat.  For more information on our foster care program, and how to become a foster family, please visit www.mspca.org/nevinsvolunteer.