Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Not my picture but a darn close likeness compliments of the Net.

The call came just as I had finished dinner. My beautician who worked in a shop at a strip mall was so upset her voice shook. She apologized for calling so late but said when she got off work, she found a kitten by her car whose tail had been cut off. She knew of my rescue work so I was the first she called.

It was close to Halloween which is when cats do not fair well and are sadly subject to all sorts of cruel pranks. The poor black cats suffered the most abuse. I wasn't excited about a 40 mile round trip and most likely vet visit as dark approached but asked her to wait and said I would be there in about a half hour.

The kitten was about 7 weeks old and sure enough, there was a very red stump protruding from his body. There was no hair on the stump which was odd. Manx cats(tailless cats) were in vogue at that time and people were mutilating regular cats to give them the bob tailed look. This was evidently a mutilation that went very wrong. I called my vet who was use to my bringing in creatures that needed rebuilding. I met him at his office.

Jim was a very patient and caring vet with me. He gave me all kinds of financial breaks on my rescues but even so he staked a claim a big portion of my income. He had left standing orders with his wife that if Patti called, it was important and he would meet me at the office if it were a portable animal or come to where I was if not.

I handed Jim the kitten and at first he thought it was a mutilation also. Then he surprised me.

"Patti," he said, "this cat doesn't have a tail."

What I had brought in was a cat that was actually was a Manx. You couldn't even find a place where a tail ought to go. Most Manx have a stub, this kitten had nothing.

"Then what is that stump?" I wanted to know.

It turned out that the kitten had a rectal prolapse. Rectal prolapse is an uncommon condition where rectal tissue protrudes as a reddish-colored mass through the anus. That wasn't a cut off tail, the poor kitty was passing his own rectum.

Jim said that Manx cats are more prone to this problem because of the lack of tail. Often this promotes a weak sphincter muscle which allows the tissue to protrude. The danger is that once exposed, the tissue can die and eventually cause the death of the animal. He felt we had caught the kitten in time. He put the little creature to sleep, then proceeded to push the rectum back in place. Amazed, I then watched him sew the butt hole shut with a purse string effect. A tiny hole was left.

"Ah, Jim, how does he poop?" I asked worriedly.

Jim assured me it would only stay sewn shut for 48 hours and we would keep him on laxatives to keep his stool liquid. I took my little tailless cat with a sewn up butt hole home. It was a messy 48 hours but when the stitches were removed, his rectum stayed in place. However, the next morning, his lipstick was out again. Now that I knew what it was, lipstick out of a tube is the most accurate description of what it looked like.

This time Jim sewed him up and said he would keep him in the office for the next 5 days for observation. Five days later, stitches came out and in less than a day, so did the lipstick. Jim was now getting frustrated. The office girls had totally fallen in love with this little kitten. As a last resort, he cut into the kittens lower belly, pulled the wayward rectum back in and sewed it to the inside of the cat.

That lasted only a couple of days. He was still on laxative to keep the stool loose but one morning, again the lipstick was out. Again I dropped the kitten off at the office and left him there to go to work. Jim had been on call so I assumed he would get to him later. When I picked him up that afternoon, Jim's, fresh out of vet school young associate had sewn the poor kitten's butt shut again. I told him that Jim had all ready done that twice and it didn't work but done was done so I took the poor baby home.

Stitches came out and at last the rectum stayed put. Jim was a tiny bit upset that the newbie vet had success so easily but he knew that these procedures often had to be repeated before success. He was as pleased as I was with the result. The poor kitten had finally become anal retentive.

Four surgeries and hospital care had me holding my breath for the bill. Fifty dollars was all he charged, just to partially cover cost of medicines. That man saved so many of my rescues in just such a manner. I do love him for all he did. I have a select group of heroes and he is one.

Zipper, as I named him (Jim had threatened to put a zipper in his butt as he had to operate so often) was placed in a wonderful home with a stay at home widow. I think Zipper willed himself into good health just so he would never have to go back to see Jim. As a result, Zipper enjoyed remarkable health and a long life.


  1. This is a new one for me. I had never heard of this problem before. It shows you how much a person needs to learn in one lifetime.

    Thanks for the comment about the squirrel.

  2. Isn't it interesting that animal dysfunctional parts often mirror human dilemmas?

    Humans can have this problem, too. Sometime out the anus, or in the cases women who have birthed multiple times, a similar prolapse into the lower urinary tract--don't think I will go into detail, my sister had this. It is usually a minor surgical procedure.

    However, solutions may not be as simple. However, the story reminds me not to be too impatient when a physcian's first solution fails and I have to return.

    I agree I need reminding it is call the "practice of medicine."

  3. Another fasinating story. We had a real Manx cat once tbat looked a lot like the one in the pictue. I'm a cat lover

  4. My male cat is pat Manx but has a tale - that's Binky. I have heard they can have intestional problems and when he defecates, he does have to get into a strange more upright position, but he's 10 so I guess he's doing ok with it, but I never heard of this severe a problem, another wonderful cat rescued.

  5. New to me. I came in from NitWit1. Glad to meet you and your saved Kitty.

  6. you know Patty no one has ever called me to come save a cat and I am sure no one ever will..

  7. Abe,
    It was new to me also and thankfully, I have never seen it again. Life is just one long learning process.

    Oh, did not know that coud happen to a human but then why not. Eeww. I know cows can have a uterine prolapse and that is a bear to get back in.
    If at first we don't succeed.....

    Manx is a really neat looking animal. Never had one but at one time they were hugely popular.

    Linda Starr,
    Two Lindas, two Manx--interesting.
    I guess the prolapse can happen any time. It is good to make sure they are not constipated and have to strain. Did not know Binky was a Manx. Being only part Manx is probably to his benefit.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Welcome to TNS. You came from a good site.

    4th sister,
    Not a cat lover, I can tell. I promise to take you off my call list. Pinky swear.

  8. I'm surprised and glad your little manx survived. It really had quite an ordeal. As always, a lucky animal to have crossed your path, patti.

  9. I learn something new everytime I read one of your posts :-)

  10. What a wonderful Vet and story about Zipper.

    About my blog, I went in and made note that yes, my sister passed away on May 28, 1983 at the age of 42, from breast cancer. I do believe if she had gotten it in this day and age she would still be alive.

    Have a wonderful evening.I want to see Dancing With The Stars to see which two couples will get kicked off.

  11. Patti, I think you must have a special place in Heaven reserved for you and only you! What an angel you are.

  12. Wonderful thing you did Patti...and probably it won't be the last!

  13. I like the name Zipper, Patti, but I thought you might have named him Lipstick!!!! ha ... What a neat story. That kitty did have nine lives didn't he???? At least, you and the doctors gave him a much longer life. What a story. I've never even heard of cats without tails.


  14. What a great story. I'm so glad you found that sweet baby and that he is okay.

  15. Wow. This is news to me. Enjoyed your bit by bit narration. Zipper sure got lucky! :) I'm realizing how vast learning potentials are through blogging.

    Good Job Patti. Oh, I've a whole lot of your posts to read - last 1 week. Yippee..

  16. robin,
    It pays to have a bunch of lives in you account. Jim was the hero here.

    I hope this is information you never have to use. If you do, just don't give up.

    I am so sorry about your sister especially since you are right. Had it happened today, the outcome would have been different . We have come a long way.

    Not really Judy, I just picked them up, Jim put them back together and lovely people took them into their lives. Those are the special ones.

    Well I have retired from rescue now. I do try to support those to do the work today.

    I didn't think of that. Lipstick would have been approprate. Breeders now have hairless cats. Breeders do funny things with animals when they have too much time on their hands.

    Janie B
    He was a love and took all the misery we heaped on him with great good nature.

    Thanks so much. I too learn from the posts I visit. Yours in particular.

  17. Oh my gosh. What an amazing story and how sweet of you to help and adopt Zipper. Zipper is very lucky!

  18. What a beautiful shot and nicely mentioned words...Great

  19. Cheffie Mom,
    Zipper owes his life to Jim and the nice lady that adopted him. I so respect those willing to take a chance on a stray and making them a part of their families.

    Unseen Rajasthan
    Thank you so much for stopping by. I checked out your blog and it is very interesting and informative.

  20. Patti-

    Great and, er, descriptive story. Reminds me of some of the situations I have been in with my vet. Thankfully not that many situations, but all memorable.

    My vet is wonderful and I have known him for 18 or so years since the days when he was still working out of his car. He treats me and my critters very well.

  21. Thanks Barry,
    I so hope you didn't have food on your plate for this post.
    So glad you too have a neat vet. I worked with mine for many years also. Good vets aren't hard to find but a really great one is a joy to find. We were both lucky.

  22. You are an angel rescuing all animals in need! What would they do without you! The story is well written. I hope that you collect all your stories and write a book.

  23. Thank you Wil but the vet and the people who took my strays into their families were my angles.

  24. Zipper is a beautiful and appropriate name for the poor little fellow. I am touched by this story because I have cats. I have just given up six wonderful lovable and adorable kittens which I am still grieving for having to give them away for reason that I cannot afford to keep them all which I wish I could. Plus this trip coming in three more days actually.

    I would like to say thank you for responding to my comment left in your latest blog and for revealing my true name in that confidential communique.

    I hope the old widow will find pleasure in the company of Zipper as my beautiful kitties do in their new homes and kind owners.

    And to your kind vet, Jim, may he progress in his work for helping kind folks like you.

  25. This is exactly what happened to the kitten I found. We thought it was the stump from his tail and in the end it was the prolapsed rectum. I have been using the medicine that the vet sold me and no great results, I can't keep him forever and a vet tech friend told me that he wouldn't ever get better more than likely, she said the humane thing would be to put him to sleep. I still don't know what I am going to do, my vet won't give me a price break and I can't pay for a surgery that might not work for a cat I can't keep. Suggestions? -Anna