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We were on our way to SNIPPET. I had been there before, I remember, when I got my shots and got chipped.

I was sitting in my car seat, watching the countryside go by. The Vet Clinic was way on the other side of Tyler, in a real rural area. It took almost 40 minutes to get there. Tyler is big! It gave me time to see the cattle in the fields. They had these white birds around them pecking away and some were even sitting on their backs. I guess they were eating the bugs stirred up by their hoofs as they grazed.

We passed a car and I noticed some kids in the back seat. One of them saw me and started pointing. The others looked and began laughing as they waved to me as we went by. It was fun watching the expressions of people when they first saw me. It was usually surprise first and a smile afterwards. You’d think I was the only kitten in a car seat!

I started thinking about my first trip to SNIPPET. I was taken there for my initial physical by my foster parent, Miss Sandy. Even though she was so nice her face was starting to fade from me. I still remember my foster-mate, Tina. I wonder whatever happened to her. I hope she found as good a home as I did.

With those thoughts in my mind we pulled into the SPCA’s vet clinic. Miss M’lu undid my seat belt and carried me into the building. I felt so proud because I didn’t need to be put into a pet carrier like all the other animals that were there. I just sat calmly on her lap while I waited my turn to be checked in.

“Hi, Nina! My you’ve grown.” It was Miss Melissa. She was the vet tech who took care of me when I came the first time for a checkup. I remembered her. I liked her.

“Are you sure she’s not too small for this?” Miss M’lu asked her with a worried frown. “She’s barely four months old.”

“She’s fine,” was the answer. “We do spaying and neutering by weight rather than by age. Kittens can be done any time after 10 weeks old or after they weigh 2 lbs. Nina is 14 weeks old and already weighs 4 lbs, so she’s good to go.”

“I know, you’ve told me this before with other fosters I’ve brought in, but I still think Nina is just too little!”

She laughed, “That’s because she’s going to be foster-fail from what I’ve heard and will soon be yours!  Besides, kittens can get impregnated at 4 months old, so the sooner they get spayed the better.”

“Yeah, I know that for sure. We found that out when Friendly walked out of the woods into our life. We decided to keep her so took her to the vet to be spayed and learned she was about 6 months old and at least two months pregnant! Boy, was that a shocker to us!”

Miss Melissa took me into her arms after I got a big hug and kiss on the head from Miss M’lu. She brought me to the back and put me into a cat cage. There were cats on either side and below me. I was on the second ‘floor’.

It wasn’t late yet so she put a container with a few kibbles in it for my supper. I poked my nose into the bowl and smelled them. They smelled okay so I chewed on one. Even though it had an appetizing smell it was dry and actually tasteless. I missed my raw hamburger.

Lights went off at 7:00 and all the food was taken out of the cages so there wasn’t much to do but sleep. At least try to sleep. There were puppies in the other room and they yapped and yowled most of the night. I guess they missed their mommies. We kittens were so much quieter even though every once in a while a mournful mew was uttered.

Morning finally came and the clinic was coming alive.  The staff came along with volunteers who cleaned our litter boxes and gave us fresh water, but no food. I was hungry.

The vet arrived and I saw Miss Melissa going back and forth. I’d see her take a kitten from a cage under me to another room. In a short while she would return with it sound asleep and put it back in the cage. She took a couple of other kittens and the same thing happened. I wondered why they were so sleepy that they didn’t even wake up with all of the noise around.

Before I had time to figure it out Miss Melissa came and got me.

“It’s your turn, Nina,” she said in a calming voice. “We’re going to put you to sleep and when you wake up it will be all over. You’ll be a grownup kitten then.”

She had a syringe in her hand and poked me with it. I hardly felt it. She closed the cage door and left.

‘What is she talking about?’ I thought. ‘I’m not in the least bit sleepy with all this commotion. How will I fall asleep if I don’t want to?’

‘What does she mean I’ll be grownup? This is really all so strange.’

My eyes started to get droopy. I felt my legs get weaker and had to lay down.

‘Why am I so sleepy?’ I wondered.

She returned a short while later and picked up my now limp body and wrapped it in a towel. She took me to another room and put me on a stainless steel table. I could see the doctor bending over a kitten on another table.

I heard this whirring sound when Melissa turned me on my back, tummy up. I could hardly move myself any more. She started shaving my tummy down to my back legs. I could see my pretty black fur piling up. Then she shaved a patch off my arm.

“There, you’re all ready,” she said as she put everything away.

‘Ready for whaaaa…’ I started to think when everything went black.

I heard noises, voices.

“The kittens are starting to come out of it, but the two cats are still under,” a vet tech observed.

I was pretty woozy and didn’t know what was going on. I was conscious of my legs feeling so heavy.  It felt good to lay down on my side. The last thing I remembered I was on a table and now I was in my cage. I wondered how that had happened?

A while later my cage door opened. I felt a hand lift up my head and check my eyes and tongue.

“You’re coming along fine, Nina. You’ll be back on your feet before you know it.” It was Miss Melissa.

I fell asleep again. When I woke I was able to move. I tried to stand up but my legs were wobbly, so I just sat down. Since my head was sort of bobbing I lay down again. It was afternoon by then.

Every so often someone would stop by to check on me to see how I was doing. I was starting to feel cold on my tummy. My fur was gone and there were these stitches there. There was a bowl of water in the corner and I kept going there to drink. I was so thirsty.

As evening came, everyone prepared to leave for the day. We were all given some kibbles for dinner. Not very appetizing. I wasn’t hungry anyway.

“Nite, Nina,” I heard Miss Melissa say as she passed by. She turned off the overhead lights as she left.

I started to feel some pain in the area of my tummy. I had been given a pill in the late afternoon which helped to keep the hurting down. Even though the puppies were acting up and noisy as usual I still managed to sleep through the night.

I felt better when morning came and the staff started arriving. At around 10:00 Miss Melissa came to me and I could see she had my carrier with her. I hardly ever used it.

“Time to go home, Nina! Someone’s out there waiting anxiously for you!” she said.

I could hardly wait! She gently put me into the carrier and took me out to the waiting room. Miss M’lu came right towards us as soon as she saw the door open.

“Oh Nina!” she exclaimed, “Look at you! Are you all right?”

She opened the carrier door and put her hand inside to pet me. I was so excited to see her!

“Mew, Mew-hi!” I said as I happily licked her hand.

“Why is her arm shaved?” Miss M’lu asked.

“That’s where we put the IV to keep her hydrated,” Melissa answered.

“Now remember to keep her quiet and in the carrier for a day or so,” she instructed. She can’t be running around because of the stitches and make sure she doesn’t lick them. Don’t give her too much food because she still may have some lingering anesthesia which could cause her to throw up.”

“I’ll do my best,” Miss M’lu said.

“If there’s any problem let me know right away, but she should be fine. Bring her back in two weeks so we can check out the stitched area and see how she’s doing.”

“Will do, and thanks.” She took me to the car and placed me on the passenger seat facing her. I was so happy to be going home again I even forgot about my tummy hurting even though I didn’t like being in the carrier and would have preferred riding in my car seat.

I heard the garage door open and in a blink we were inside. Miss M’lu got out and came around to get me.

As she was bringing me to her study M’ster Doc passed by.

“How’s she doing?”

“She went through the surgery fine and no problem with the anesthesia. We have to keep her quiet and inactive for a couple of days.”

“Good luck with that,” he laughed.

She put the carrier down in the room. I saw Ringo saunter in.

“Phew, you smell,” he greeted me as he looked through the gate bars.

“What do you mean, ‘Ingo?” I said mortified.

“You smell Vet and chemicals and dog. Yuk!  So, how do you feel anyway?” he asked.

“Okay, just my tummy hurts.”

“Give it some time and the pain will disappear.”

“I’m starving, too.”

As if on cue, Miss M’lu walked in with a couple of bowls.

“Out, Ringo. This is for her and I know you’ll scarf it up if you stay in here.”

With that she shooed him out and closed the door. She let me out of the carrier and I walked to the food mat. There was a bowl of warm goat’s milk and another one with raw turkey burger and a few cut up pieces of chicken.

‘Yum! Real food!’ I thought as I started gulping it down.

I was left alone. After I finished I used the litter box and then settled down for a nap in the sunlight that was streaming through the window.

Miss M’lu quietly came in to take the bowls out. She stooped to pet me before she left again.

“You look so peaceful here, Nina, I’m not going to put you back into the carrier.”

After the door closed I fell into a deep contented sleep.

Later on she came to see me and Ringo was with her.

“How are you doing?” he asked me.

“Better, but my tummy is still hurting.”

“They sure shaved you a lot!’ he noticed. “Good thing it’s summer and you won’t be cold.”

He lay down next to me and started licking my face. It felt so good and soothing. He made me sleepy again and when he stopped we napped together.

“Is Nina doing okay?” M’ster Doc asked.

“She’s doing just great. She ate everything and now she’s sleeping with Ringo.”

“You left them together!”

“They’re quiet.”

He didn’t say anything and shrugging his shoulders went back to watching the golf program.

When it was time for dinner she went to her study to let Ringo out.

She fed him and Friendly in the kitchen and then brought a small snack of chopped chicken to Nina. When she left her study she left the door slightly ajar forgetting to close it all the way.

Later on, as they were finishing their own dinner there was a commotion. Ringo came flying down the hallway, over the couch, back down on the floor and then tore up the 8′ cat tower – with Nina in hot pursuit! The two of them looked down at us with happy faces.

Roland was laughing so hard he sputtered out, “What was that about quiet and inactive!”

Needless to say, Nina never did go back to the carrier nor was she closed up in the study by herself. Her stitches remained intact until they naturally dissolved and two weeks later she passed her vet visit with flying colors.

Nina was now ready for her next adventure.