We spend most of our time on this blog talking about cattle, but at the clinic we see all sorts of other animals as well. 1/3 of our time is spent working with dogs and cats. So we’re going to take a break this week from the bovine world to talk about smaller, furrier critters at the opposite end of the size spectrum–cats.
Now I must confess I am a dog person, but I have found cats to be great to work with as well. Medically I feel they are simpler to treat because unlike dogs there is essentially only one breed of cat we see (Domestic Short Hair), although I do work on the occasional Persian or Pixie Bob. Dosing medication is also easier, since they are all around the same size. Plus most of our feline patients are pretty chill.
I should say, MOST of our feline patients. Every once in a while we will get a cat that has decided the vet clinic is a house of horrors. Their fight or flight response kicks into high gear, and trying to calm them down is a fruitless effort. If fight goes into effect, they will bite and claw their way through your outstretched arm to freedom. If flight takes hold, they will fly out of the carrier up the side of the walls to rest on the highest point away from humans they can find.
The most interesting flight cat we had was a bit of an acrobat. It sprang from the cat carrier before any of us could even get our hands by it. Since we have the rule that the doors to the exam room stay closed on cat appointments, it had little room to hide from us. So it climbed up the door frame and perched on the trim at the top of the door. If you don’t believe a 10 pound cat can rest on 1/2″ of trim, I would like to let you know they sure can do it. If we tried to get close to it, the cat would hiss and snarl. After some coaxing, we were finally able to get a hold of the cat and treat it.
Fortunately this last case is the exception, not the rule. Between vaccinations and sick appointments, I see probably one to two cats on a slow day, and up to six on a busy small animal day. This is quite a bit less than my colleagues in small animal exclusive practice, but enough I need to keep up on feline diseases. It may seem odd for one person to finish pulling a calf out of an angry heifer to walk inside the clinic to figure out why Mr. Cuddlesworth is having more accidents in the house, but for a mixed animal veterinarian it’s all in a day’s work !