The Kitten And The Warble
A few months ago, a friend gave us a kitten.
Not that we needed one, but the sweet little thing couldn’t be friendlier, and had already proven to be a good mouser. She was a stray, and needed a home. So we took her.
About five weeks after we brought her home, we noticed her belly looked awfully swollen. We thought maybe she had worms, so we wormed her. But there was no difference in her appearance.
A week later, my friend who is a midwife came over. As she came to the back door she noticed my kitten. “Oh, your cat’s pregnant!” she exclaimed. Surprised and very doubtful I replied, “Oh no, she can’t be pregnant. She’s just a kitten. There’s no way!” But my friend knelt down and felt the cat’s stomach. “Yep. She’s pregnant all right. If I had my doppler we could hear the heartbeats.” She was positive my kitten was going to have kittens.
Could it be possible?
Two days later, sure enough, we discovered the cat having kittens in a cardboard box. Four were born, three survived.
Great. Like we needed more kittens.
Although, they were super cute. And the kids were thrilled to have them.
Well, several weeks passed and all was well. Until we noticed that something was wrong with the little gray kitten.
There was a hole in his chest. A good sized puncture, that looked to be oozing with white puss.
We couldn’t figure out how that could have happened. Had he fallen on something? I was sure it wasn’t there when he was born.
Other than the wound, he acted perfectly fine and played happily with his siblings. But I knew I couldn’t just leave it to fester.
I decided to pour peroxide on it. And although it bubbled a whole lot, it didn’t make any improvement. Almost a week went by, and it just seemed to get worse.
Then one day I got online and started searching for answers. And I came across some forums with some interesting discussions about kittens with unexplainable holes.
As I read, I came across a possible explanation: a warble.
I’d never in my life heard of a warble before, but this forum poster suggested that it may be the problem, and since nothing else had answered my question I decided to look up warbles.
That’s when this picture appeared on my computer screen…
If you’re squeamish, don’t look.
Alright. There’s my fair warning.
*UPDATE: Due to copyright laws, I’ve deleted the posted photo. But here’s the link if you’re brave enough to check it out!
I know. Nasty, right?
This totally freaked me out.
But after reading more about it, I was fairly confident that this was our problem. I called Jada into the office to take a look at the picture with me. She isn’t the least bit squeamish.
I looked at her and said, “I think this is what’s wrong with our kitten. If I’m going to do this, I’ll need your help.” She answered confidently, “I’ll do it.”
We both slipped on some rubber gloves, I grabbed a pair of long tweezers which I’d rubbed down with alcohol, and a bottle of Betadine, and we stepped onto the back porch where the kittens always play.
Jada’s job was to hold the kitten on its back, while I did the dirty work. She was so helpful, and kept the kitten still as I slowly reached into the wound with the open tweezers. When I felt an object at the end of my tweezers, I blindly pinched it and held my breath as I pulled it out of the hole.
There, at the end of my instrument, was a fat, nasty, white grub worm. A warble. Exactly like the photo had shown. At least an inch long. And I realized that it hadn’t been puss oozing from my kitty’s sore, it had been the worm.
Surprisingly, I was too shocked to be disgusted.
“Look at this thing!” I exclaimed to Jada, who still had the kitten in her lap. “Can you believe that was in our kitty?!”
She laughed and reassured me, “That wasn’t so bad after all!”
After I disposed of the warble, I poured Betadine into the now empty hole in the kitten and it was off to play again.
I have to admit, that felt pretty darn good. I’d been able to treat the kitten myself, and I knew I probably saved its life.
It has been about a week and a half since I removed the warble. The kitten’s wound is healing nicely, and he’s doing great! He has some goopy eye problems, but other than that he’s as spunky as can be. We’ll probably end up keeping him.
I was grateful to have Jada’s help. She was fascinated by the entire thing, truly. And it was a good lesson for both of us.
Sometimes, you just have to do what it takes, whether you like it or not.