A near-death experience for Siamese cat Ava was heartbreaking but miraculous.
It is believed she fell pregnant when a tomcat entered the Shepparton home of Amanda Robertson.
It was touch and go for Ava during the birth of the kittens three weeks ago.
Ms Robertson said Ava nearly died and it was tough figuring out what to do.
As she collects disability benefits, Ms Robertson could not afford the entire vet bill.
“I went to the vet and was told we had to get the kittens out,” she said.
“They gave her a shot of oxytocin to dilate. At first it was $1400 to do the caesarean but I don't have that sort of money so the other option was to put her down.
“Even when they could do $700 it was still out of my budget. The only two options were the birth or put her to sleep.
“When we discussed other ways, the last one was contacting Pet Medical Crisis.
“I put $200 towards the operation and they paid the rest so she could have the operation.
“She'd be dead otherwise; a perfectly healthy cat with three or four kittens because I couldn't afford it.”
Unfortunately two of the kittens died but little Louis and Cyrus survived.
Because of the operation, which involved de-sexing, Ava does not show any maternal instincts towards her offspring.
Ms Robertson said Ava had barely acknowledged her two kittens.
“She doesn't go near them, as if she doesn't know them,” she said.
“From what I've been told it's because of the caesarean — they take everything like the hormones.
“She'll end up playing with them but never see them as her baby.”
Louis and Cyrus are in good health but Ms Robertson has taken on the role as mum.
“It was two-hourly feeds in the first weeks, which was horrid, but that's got further apart,” she said.
Ms Robertson said it should serve as a reminder for people to have their pets desexed.
“Ava doesn't leave the property because she is an indoor cat so it's really bad to have a cat come on to the property and impregnate my cat, considering what we've gone through,” she said.
“We were planning on having her de-sexed but the other cat got to her first.
“They do't like to de-sex them when they're on heat because of the bleeding so you have to wait until the end of the season.
“And this was the first time coming into season so you just have to hope she doesn't leave the property.”
Ms Robertson said more people should be aware of Pet Medical Crisis and the help it can give to people struggling to afford vet bills.
“I'm really grateful for them because Ava wouldn't be here,” she said.
For more information visit petmedicalcrisis.com.au
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