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My First Neuter & My Last Bowl of Clam Chowder.

Have you ever seen something, then couldn't erase the image from your mind? This often happens during a tragic, high-stress event, like seeing your dad naked (by accident, of course!) or when you see a woman on the subway wearing stretchy leggings. She has a REALLY BIG BUTT. She's tired, standing in the subway car, so she leans her back against a metal support pole. Her huge buttcheeks part slightly, as she presses against the pole, which forces the metal support into her butt-crack! (This is why I avoid touching ANYTHING on the subway). I'm sure some scientist could describe why our memories lock down certain events, but all I can say is I just witnessed a kitten being neutered and now I can't unsee what I saw!

The event keeps looping over and over in my head. After all the cats I've had neutered over the years, I finally got to see it done. After the shock of watching it wore off a bit, I realized, WHY DO VETS CHARGE SO MUCH FOR THIS? It took all of a MINUTE to do the surgery! SHAME ON VETS FOR CHARGING MORE THAN $50.00 for this procedure!

Connie and I arrived at the Vet's office nice and early. She brought all five kittens, even though only the three boys were going to be neutered. Neither of us were positive we HAD three boys so better to bring them oll, just in case-plus they all needed a booster FVRCP shot, so now was a good time.

It was really lovely to see the kittens again. It'd been only a few days since they went to Aunt Connie's but I was missing them. They all sat serenely in their cat carrier, wondering what was going on, no doubt. I blurted out; “You're gettin' your balls cut off soon!” and the Vet tech scolded me for letting the “cat out of the bag.” She hissed; “Don't say that out loud! You'll upset them!” The kittens gave me a dirty look. I just shrugged and tried to look innocent.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The gang just before surgery time.

Dr. M came out and said hello. Connie and I looked at each other. I knew what she was thinking. She didn't want to go in the back room. Neither did I. My heart started to race and my hands got cold. This wouldn't be so bad. We didn't have to watch. We just had to help a bit, then wait for the Vet to do his part, then we would help the kittens as they woke up.

We were taken into a long room that was a combination of shelved storage-a stockpile of drugs, syringes and other things. I mostly kept my head down, afraid to look around. The room was worn, the building was fairly old and this back room needed an update. There was a small, elevated table with a towel over it at the end of the room, parallel to the shelves. The Vet indicated that we could put the cat carrier on the table. I thought this was the prep area and that we'd be going into a surgical suite with a stainless steel operating table with bottles of magic knockout gas nearby.

Dr. M took one of the kittens out of the carrier-Ruby, the boy cat with the girl name. The Dr. weighed him, then made some notes. He opened a safe and took out a small vial. He drew some of the contents into the syringe. Then he told Connie to hold Ruby down tightly and to “karate chop” the cat's back leg to keep it down and force the vein to appear. Then we both realized he was going to do the neutering RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE ON THE TABLE. Did he wash his hands first? I had just put hand sanitizer on my hands, but what the heck? Connie looked like she was going to panic and I didn't blame her a bit. We both thought we didn't HAVE TO SEE the surgery and here we were about to SEE THE SURGERY! We couldn't RUN AWAY! This was the agreement. We help the Vet, he gives us a big disount.

Connie turned away. Dr. M injected the fluid into Ruby's vein. The kitten quickly went limp, his tongue hung out of his mouth. I petted him and said it was going to be OK. Then before I could turn away, Dr. M made a tiny incision across Ruby's scrotum, then pulled the fur down, exposing his tiny little testicles. At first I was amazed at seeing them, but then, he grabbed one of them and gave it a TUG. It stretched out on a flesh colored tether about FOUR INCHES LONG! He twisted it around. Did he put a knot in it? I felt woozy. Then, just as quickly, he took an object out of a sealed package and sliced the tether at its' base. WOAH! One nut down, one to go.

I held my hand up to help cover Connie's eyes. I didn't realize I was talking until Connie told me later, but apparently I was saying; “WOW! Look at that! Oh my GOD! Connie, it's not that bad, but WOAH! WOW! I will NEVER EAT CLAM CHOWDER AGAIN!”

Dr. M quickly repeated the procedure on the other testicle. In a few seconds he was done. Connie let go of Ruby and I picked him up. I began to gently rock him and pet him. In a few moments he began to wake up. His tongue hung out of his mouth and Connie said he drooled. He felt so limp in my arms. It reminded me of the day Bob died. I didn't want to cry. I just focused on Ruby. He was ok, but WOW...I did not think I could help do this two more times!

Ruby Baby.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Ruby, who may be renamed Inky.

It turns out we didn't have to watch two more times because we have THREE GIRLS and TWO BOYS! The girls got their booster shot and Spot was the only other male. Sadly, Spot was very difficult to knock out. Dr. M had to try a few things-finally we had to bring him into the surgical suite and I had to hold a tiny gas mask over Spot's face until his body went limp in my hands. It was very unnerving. Dr. M. went to work quickly and in a few moments Spot was done, too. I was told it would take a lot longer for him to wake up, so I just held him so he could breathe easily and tried not to freak out over him being so very limp in my arms.

Ruby was still weak, but awake. Then Dr. M said he was interested in ADOPTING a kitten! He had two cats and one died a few months ago. He had plans to adopt another cat, but it didn't work out. He was looking for another black and white cat! BINGO! We had THREE! He asked which one was the most outgoing? Friendly? Sweet? They all were great, but he focused on Ruby, though it was tough to know how friendly he was based on him being wobbly and out-of-it. Then I showed him photos from my blog post about the Flying Zombie Kittens. He LOVED the photos and when he realized Spot was jumping more often than the others, his attention turned to him.

In the end he decided to let both kittens recover in his office, then he'd take them both home and see how they did with his two kids and his other cat! We said we would take back the one he didn't want, then he said he'd probably end up with both since each kid would probably want their own cat.

Spot On.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spot before his surgery.

We didn't ask him to fill out any application. We didn't do a home visit. We didn't even ask how old his kids were! We just numbly nodded our heads, yes. We were both in a trance. I kept seeing tiny testicles getting chopped off and Connie was focusing on remaining cool even though I found out later that blood freaks her out! I was a bit jealous that my guys didn't get adopted, but I was really GLAD these two had a good chance. My goodness-a VET for an adopter? Does it get any better?

As we walked out of the office, Dr. M. said thanks for helping him neuter HIS cats! Geez, maybe he could have decided to adopt them BEFORE we had to see him do the surgery? Now my brain hurts and I'm really glad Sam didn't see that surgery! He better keep in mind that now I know HOW to do a neuter so he better shape up.

As for Connie, she never wants to do this again! I can't say I blame her one bit, but I know I'll be back. The price is too good and Dr. M is two hours closer than the low cost S/N clinic. I hope I don't have to see him do a spay surgery, but I have this feeling it will be the next thing I see that will be featured in my “greatest hits of stuff that freaks me out that I've seen and can't unsee.”


Guess all of those zoology labs I took helped when I was a vet tech. Neuters are quick, simple & yes, over in a couple of minutes. So simple. Spays of non-pregnant cats aren't that bad. Small incision, crochet hook to pull out uterus/fallopian tubes & snip, snip. Stitches or glue & it's done. The intubation is the toughest part. Not much blood. But, the absolute worst? Ear cropping of a dog. The surgical room looks like a slaughterhouse afterwards. Ear cropping is criminal and unnecessary.

OMG - I am trying hard not to laugh, but it isn't working....I just have this video in my head of the two of you at the vet's office....and then him casually saying "oh and I want to adopt them too". I know it wasn't fun for either of you and I applaud you sticking it out....but you laid out quite a visual and now I have the snickers....

Good thing my coffee was gone! That was hysterical, Robin! Those kittens are just adorable!

You two are very brave ladies!!
I probably would have been on the floor, don't care much to watch skin being cut open.
Glad you 'got 'er done'!! :-)

Wow, graphic description of how neutering is done, don't know if i could watch little girl kitties having it done, though. I did laugh when you blabbed what was going to happen to the kittens though, something i would do! (though i tend to call "them", goolies) I took photos of my boys' bits before and after in case they ever wondered if they had them when they were all grown up. Oh, I just wanted to say as a mum who feeds her cats raw, i wouldn't completely fall for the vet saying that was part of Nicki's problem. (and he has no...? omg, i would be astounded if he didn't get infections!) You could give him olive leaf extract and propolis tincture and...anyway. Oh, commiserations for Bob, i still get all teary trying to read of his final days. To have to live it must have been like trying to swim to the surface of a molasses sea. My boy Niles was the same only i helped him go. on his last day he weighed only 3.5 kilos and i couldn't bare to watch him fade away. Oh, finally, those zombie kittens are gorgeous! post them to me in australia :)

You need some kind of civilian medal of honor for making through that!

You're an awesome writer. My favorite part, though, is the doc deciding to take home two new kitties. Best ending, ever.

Robin, although I have never withnessed this particular spectacle, I've seen similar and if it helps at all, try to maintain the semi-detached my-isn't-this-facinating attitude (because it is!) and avoid the he-just-cut-open-my-furry-baby approach. This ia a glimpse into the miracles & wonders inside! Does make you wonder how they charge sooo much, even with overhead and all. Still - can't help but wish there was a camera to catch both your expressions! You did good, woman, and it will become easier - all worth it for the break in price.

Thank you for the touching, sweet, funny comments. Yes, it was fascinating, and I agree..I need to remain detached. I think I can do this. We'll see how it goes with the spays! Hugs to you all!

Thank you for sharing that! What a wonderful story and such a great ending too! Yeah! I laughed at the comment about Sam now knowing you! hahahaha

Hi Robin,

I am writing all the way from London and have just discovered your excellent blog, I have been in stitches reading this post, you have such a way with words.  I think I am going to be a regular visitor here.  You are doing exactly what I hope to achieve when I have my own home, keep up the good work and so nice to have discovered you!

All the best to you and all the cats,


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