Bobby and How I learned about Spina Bifida
WARNING; Heartbreaker Ahead.
This story is a hard one to share. It is almost six yrs old and still hurts like it was yesterday. But I think I should share it because maybe there are others out there who, like me, may think Manx cats are adorable and may desire one, never having heard of Spina Bifida before. So this is for them.
One day as mom and I were walking into the store, I was stopped in my tracks by the sound of a kitten meowing. I looked all over the small parking lot, and finally spotted the tiny orange kitten sitting by the front tire under the big Pepsi diesel. I called it to me, and it came willingly, meowing the whole way. It had quite a distinctive meow...kind of like "meaa". "Mom, its a Manx!" i could tell right away as it got closer, by the adorable way in which it walked and it's tailessness that it was a Manx kitten. I scooped the little kitten up and we went into the store. We asked Betty, the cashier if she knew who it belonged to. She didn't. We decided that whoever owned it did not care enough to protect it from harm, so we would keep it. We bought some litter and kitten food and a jug of water, as we were heading out to work on our new trailer and planned on being there all day. Just as we got finished paying for it, a drunk man walked in. He lives across the road behind the Post Office. He looked at me and said..."That's my kitten". I said, "If that is your kitten what was it doing over here under the Pepsi truck?" He said he didn't know, he guess it must have followed someone. I told him i wanted the kitten, please let me have it. He started to protest when Betty spoke up. She said "They already bought a bunch of stuff for the kitten, you better give it to them" and the way she said it didn't leave much room for protesting. He got the hint and agreed to let me have the kitten.
I named Him Bobby, for obvious reasons. We took him to the trailer with us and he was just a doll. Over the next two days he managed to dig himself a very snug nest in my heart. I wasnt quite aware of how snug until...Well, by the third day, I noticed Bobby seemed to be having problems going to the bathroom. He would cry out as if in pain whenever he would attempt to pass a stool. At first I thought he was constipated. I gave him a little milk...it helped him but only a little and he still cried out. I decided there was something else wrong and I took him to the vet. I was sure it would be something easily remedied. It was a shock...like a punch in the gut, when my vet told me the only humane option was to put him down. that just wasnt right.He told me that Manx kittens are sometimes born with nerves that don't go all the way down the spine to the tip of the tail. eventually they die painful deaths. it interferes with their ability to pass stools...sometimes they can't pass stools at all. it is called Spina Bifida. It is caused by breeders attempting to breed Manx's with shorter tails. The original Manx was a natural mutation...man thought it so cute, he had to go and screw around until he made a cat that can't pass stools and dies a painful death if not put out of its misery before then.
I was so angry. I went home and did some research on the internet, wondering if i made the right choice in agreeing to let the vet put Bobby down. But it was exactly as he said. I felt betrayed...in all the things I had read promoting the Manx breed, I had never read them warning about Spina Bifida.
I also realized, to late, just how big an impression little Bobby made on me. He was such a happy little guy. He loved to talk and play. And i loved to watch him run/hop around. I also learned that the more rabbit like hop they have in their back legs the more likely they are to have spina bifida. I was scared after that to get anywhere near the Manx breed. But then a friend gave me Wooley Baby. He was about six months old. And i realized that he had survived this long because he obviously did not have SB.
- Understanding our pets
This is about how we can understand our pets needs and moods and their behavioral issues by taking certain things into consideration, and by looking at them as though they were no different than we are.
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