I was dropping a kitten off for castration by our local rescue vet Julie (Trixie’s savior!) and was introduced to Cindy. I had no intention of adopting a sixth cat, my hands were full with the new and extremely shy kitten, Little Leo Leon. However, it was obvious that Cindy needed some long term care and Julie did not have enough space for her.

Found on the street local rescue vets saved her.

Cindy was a ‘teenage’ kitten when she was found severely underweight and injured. Once her eye was removed it and she stabilized her tummy started to grow. As I mentioned previously rural vets in Paraguay can’t afford many of the gadgets taken for granted elsewhere, especially not an animal rescue vet who is just starting out and donates much of her time to saving and sterilizing unwanted animals. So we all assumed Cindy’s swelling belly was due to pregnancy… wrong!!

She was painfully thin, it was like stroking a sack of bones, but her condition hid it.

Once I brought her home I set up the bathroom for her and her future kittens. She’d spend a few hours each morning in the sun lounge. At first I was picking her up and placing her in the cat carrier to move her (she wasn’t ready to be integrated with the other cats), that soon stopped after a few painful attacks by her. Something wasn’t right.

Cindy had three problems.

One, she craves attention and affection, she’s like a puppy following me around. But, like many kittens prematurely separated from their mother, a little bit of affection overstimulates her and she does a bite and scratch attack. Two seconds later she’s craving affection again. This is hard to deal with, it’s painful, frustrating and it takes time for the behaviour to soften and then stop.

Two, she was obviously in increasing physical distress. Something was not right about that belly, it suddenly got dramatically worse. Three, I was inexperienced and out of my depth. I’ve never had a pregnant cat or dog – I’ve always sterilized ASAP.

Suddenly her condition got dramatically worse.

An emergency plan was put into place, she was to go to a specialist vet 4.5 hours away in Asuncion. He confirmed she was not pregnant but had a distended belly that was increasingly retaining fluid… no wonder touching it got such a nasty reaction, it was painful.

Today, a couple of months later, she has gained weight and her belly is still a bit rotund but normalizing. Her energy levels are high, when she started to play it was a great relief to us all. Yesterday I caught her chasing her tail!! She’s enjoying her second kitten-hood and despite a few bumps in the road, she’s steadily integrating into our indoor cat family.

As I type this post she is winding down and sitting on the back of my chair. Soon she’ll head off to my side of the bed and have a proper nap in the spot where she sleeps most of the night.

Cindy getting ready for a real Christmas!