M&M the Big-Bellied Tabby – by Dr. Amanda Glew
The other day I received a call from my niece that there was a cat hanging around – “Aunt Amanda, I think she is pregnant, what do I do?”. This is what happens to you when you have a bunch of nieces and nephews with a love of animals.
“Bring her home,” I answered. And sure enough when I went to meet her, I saw a lovely green eyed 5 pound tabby. She was not fazed by my two large dogs, and sat happily enough on the passenger seat of my car. What was so noticeable was her huge belly, which felt hard. Uh oh, I thought, she is ready to pop.
The next day I brought her to the clinic for her workup – dewormer, vaccine etc. My colleague Nina said to me, “You know Amanda, she may not be pregnant – it feels more like a mass.”. Sure enough, we took radiographs which revealed calcified pieces throughout the abdomen. “Either a foreign body – maybe she ate cat litter – or it’s a bunch of dead fetuses.” Either way, she needed surgery, and sooner rather than later.
Off to surgery she went, and to everyone’s surprise – her stomach was grossly distended with this granular hard mass. A gastrotomy was performed, and rather like reaching into a magic bag, Nina produced a dead mouse. She reached in again, and pulled out another. After 30 minutes, 32 dead partly decomposed mice bodies and many worms later, the stomach was an empty balloon.
“Don’t forget to spay her,” I told Nina.
“Umm, Amanda, she has no uterus!” We looked, and indeed, realized what we thought was a pregnant cat was a male. What a great vet I am!!
Post-operatively, this little male cat who suddenly weighed 4 pounds, recovered. His stomach had been so overdistended that he could not digest food, and as a result, is skin and bones. When food is now placed in front of him, he eats like a dog, he even pushes the dogs out of their bowls – which is not a smart thing to do. So we place his food in ball dispensers – he quickly learned to move them around to get at the kibble.
Either way, his name is M & M. Many Mice.