Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In celebration of clinic cats, and how to look after a veterinarian if you happen to live with one

Cat longhair
Coco the clinic cat fulfills essential roles in the clinic, in particular performing figure-8s around the legs of anyone approaching the kitchen.
Today's post deals with two very different breeds: the "clinic cat" and the veterinarian. Both have their quirks...

The “clinic cat”, a breed that appears to be in decline, used to be a fixture in every clinic. Every clinic cat has a story: he was a patient whose owner never came to collect him; she was a stray that we found in the chimney/on the doorstep/down a drain; he was brought in to be put to sleep because the owner couldn’t look after him anymore but we agreed to keep him…

Coco lives for his morning "cattaccino" - a small amount of froth from the work coffee machine. Following a drink, he likes to stretch out with his legs akimbo.
Clinic cats may have their medical issues, some are missing legs or ears or have conditions that might be challenging for a single owner to manage (I’ve met clinic cats that require tri-daily manual bladder expression), although this not always the case. They’re usually outgoing, affectionate creatures that wander around the clinic like they own it, getting away with things that other patients aren’t allowed to, stealing food from recently vacated cages and warming their bottoms on expensive machinery.

To prove the point, this is a "catscan" performed by Poppy, the clinic cat at the Ark Animal Hospital
 who likes to sit on the scanner and save scans of her botski to the practice computer.
They’re there when you’re on call, they have a way of making their presence known by rubbing their chin on someone who has just lost their beloved pet, and occasionally they’re a source of excitement when they casually provoke residents in the dog ward.

Post-cattaccino coma, from another angle.
The clinic cat is an institution. So much so that Dermcare has been hosting a “Clinic Cat of the Year” competition. Vet hospitals around Australia have entered photos and stories of their clinic cats (you can see their profiles here).

I don’t currently work alongside a clinic cat, but Phil is sort of an honorary clinic cat, so I entered him in the competition. Impressively, he’s in the running, although I am told that there is a particularly charismatic clinic cat in Western Australia who has a Facebook page with a huge following who is killing it.
So Phil is definitely an underdog. Still if you feel tempted to vote for him, all you need to do is head here, vote and then reply to the email checking if you are a real human being or a spambot.

Meanwhile in other news, one of my colleagues shared a blog post about the Husbandry and Feeding of Veterinarians (For New Owners) which has had me in hysterics, mostly because of its accuracy.

Take point 3:
“It’s hard to starve a veterinarian, but you can definitely induce dietary deficiencies by allowing them to prepare their own food. Left to their own devices, veterinarians eat take out and microwavable food supplemented with cookies and chocolates brought in by appreciative clients.”
And point 6:
“Now that you have a veterinarian, expect it to bring home some companions.”
Read the full post here, but be warned – if you’re a vet you might feel a little worried that the author has been following you. If you cohabit with a veterinarian, you may agree with a few key points (i.e. one through ten).

Fortunately, most clinic cats are fed better than veterinarians.

It’s enough to make you want to run out and whip up some of these ladybug caprese bites.