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We found Muffin one morning, lying in the edge of a mud puddle near an old barn close to my home. There are feral cats there, some semi-tame. Her eyes had just barely opened. We waited around for a few hours, hoping the mother might return, but she never did. We had placed a blanket under her to keep her out of the wet mud. We feared moving her incase the mother came back.

We took her home, and raised her on bottle. As she got bigger and started to run and jump as most kittens do, we began to notice sad things.

I came home from work one day, and she was standing in front of the refrigerator. She was holding up her left front paw and kind of shaking. A trip to the vet would plant a seed in my head as to what was going to be wrong later on.

They x-rayed the leg and kept staring at the film, he bones were so translucent that you could barely see them in places. They decided where they thought a fracture was, and splinted her leg.

That leg got better. I'd notice as she would hop down off of things, that she'd seem to wince. Just small hops of a foot or so seemed to cause pain.

One day I came home and she was no longer walking, she just laid in the floor and rolled over to look at me. I first thought it was a broken back, so I lightly pinched a toe on each back foot and she'd try to draw them back some and stop. I took her to the same vet again.

He squeezed around her back legs and pelvis, said he felt nothing broke, and did nothing else, saying there was no need to x-ray her. Another vet I took her too 40 miles away took some stool samples and said it was probably due to extreme pain and complications from coccidia (spelling?). He gave her a shot of some "pain medicine' and some stuff for coccidia.

The next day she was walking some, then a day later she wouldn't walk. I kept searching for another vet, but took her back to him a few days later. He placed her back end in his hand and showed me she could walk on her front legs. He squeezed her bones in her pelvis and back legs, just as he did the first time, just like the other vet. She cried out in pain, just like she had the last two times. Just like the other guy he said "I could feel it if something was broken, there's nothing wrong"

He said it is most likely a bone deformity or problem with her spine, she needs to have a $1000 bone scan done (he said at least $1000 for them to even speak with me) to look for problems in her spine such as missing vertebrae. I asked, "Won't your x-ray show something that severe, a missing bone or something". It sounded like **** to me to begin with.

He snapped back "YES, BUT I'M BUSY!". I said I'd wait, I had all day. He then made time, told me to leave her and come back in an hour. An hour later I come back. Mind you this has been back and forth between two vets for about two weeks. I had even asked, "Could she have a bone problem, he x-ray before looked very translucent, maybe brittle bones or something?"

He says "Ohh come here, I found the problem". He was smiling so much it kind of disturbed me. He took me in and showed me her x-rays.

Her left rear leg had been broken clean and completely through below the hip and above the knee (two breaks). They had set and healed. Her right side of the pelvis had been sort of crushed in one spot. There were splinters of bone in the muscle. The bone had grown back together, though not perfectly straight and had set. Her sacrum (bone that goes between the pelvis) had been dislocated as well. It had (not sure of the medical term) relocated kind of oddly. He then proceeded to show me on the cat, "See here, you can feel the breaks where they healed." As if he knew it the whole time. I wanted to cave his head in, he'd been squeezing on her with his big meaty hands, moving those sore bones around just like the other guy. I felt so sick.

I took her to a third vet I finally found days later. He was a good vet. I gave him the story and he immediately said, "Yes, cats can have those problems. It's almost always a thyroid issue" He did a bunch of blood work, sadly it all came back perfect. He did every test he could, they all very within normal ranges. He researched, sent blood tests to a university, no one could see what was wrong. He could see that on x-rays that her bones walls were abnormally thin. He said not to give her extra calcium, her blood levels were fine and extra calcium would lead to kidney stones.

She had started walking, and does walk a little odd, but who could blame her. This was all 4 years ago. She's big and strong now, but I still worry about her. If she bites you, it doesn't hurt. Her teeth are about 1/2 to 2/3 as big as my other cats. During the time she couldn't walk, I'd take her to the litter box and sort of support her in the shape they normally take to use the box. She'd do it. After she was better, she'd wait outside the room where their litter boxes are for me to follow her in. She'd do her business and then leave.

She's almost 4 now, she sleeps on my pillow and sucks my fingers until she passes out. If I got to sleep first she'll turn over and look at me, touching my face until I wake up. She'll then turn back over and continue sucking my fingers. She runs and plays with the other cats. No one messes with her, they all respect her and seem scared to mess with her.

When I first saw those x-rays I had a bad feeling. I didn't trust it, I just accepted that when they told me all kitten bones appear this thin because they haven't metabolized enough calcium, was the truth. When she stopped walking, I felt I should have x-rays done, but I didn't. I still kick myself for it. I just trusted the vets.
 

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It sounds like she's been through a lot! Hopefully she'll continue to be healthy and winter get anymore breaks.

We have a Muffin here too, but he's a boy. He sends purrs to his same-name buddy :)
 
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