On Appreciating Veterinarians

Johnny was supposed to write an article for Veterinary Appreciation Day on June 18, also because it’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, but things around Gregg House have skidded sideways and off the road, metaphorically speaking, and now it’s the end of the month, so I’m drafted to write something, anything, and to let you know that we’re extending Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. We will happily let you adopt one or more of the cats living in luxury in our shelter, not to mention the kittens born this spring. We were going to have a big cat adoption celebration, but we’ll do that in July.

It’s completely unlike Johnny to miss any deadline or responsibility, but he had reasons. We were getting ready to take him and our intern Darryl out for a celebratory lunch, because we appreciate the vet staff all to pieces, when Dianne burst into the clinic with her cat Nevada in her arms. Nevada wasn’t eating, she said, and barely moving. So of course Johnny examined her on the spot. 

I’ll spare you the exam, tests, and scans only to say I brought back tacos for him and Darryl to eat on the fly right before they went into surgery. Nevada had a thread wrapped around and cutting her tongue. The thread went deep down into her intestines, and maybe I’d better pause that description too.

tiny flame point Siamese kitten
Nevada’s first photo before her first bath, ©M. R. Dimond

I wouldn’t want you to think Dianne is a careless cat servant. From the day a child brought the little white kitten and her siblings to our grand opening holiday party, Dianne claimed her as her own and named her Nevada, or “Snowy” in Spanish. A few months later she brought the kitten to Johnny because she thought it was sick. Its fur wasn’t white any more, and Dianne couldn’t get it clean. Johnny got this funny look on his face as he said. “She’s a flame point Siamese. Didn’t you know?”

Dianne didn’t. It was news to her and the rest of us that an orange tabby and a traditional seal point Siamese had once found love and created a new cat color that started white and turned golden with dark gold Siamese points as they grew up. Now she tells people who ask that she named Nevada for the state. All to say, she takes Nevada to Johnny for slightest sneeze or any other concern. That was good in this case, because it could have led to serious, even fatal complications.

flame point Siamese with Christmas ornament and hat
Another shot from Nevada‘s attempted Christmas card photo shoot. We used a collage of shelter cats instead.

While Johnny and Darryl scrubbed and prepared for surgery, Dianne and Chantal tried to figure out where Nevada got the thread. They started with Chantal’s room, because Chantal sews most of her and our costumes. Dianne helps, but she hadn’t been near her machine in months. Chantal’s careful with her scraps and threads too, because she has a cat too—You met Godzilla in The Sphynx Who Stole Christmas

They found Chantal’s scrap bag under her bed, with disposable bobbins and empty thread spools scattered around. They claimed Godzilla looked ashamed. 

Apparently it took more than one cat to pry the scrap bag from its hiding place, and one cat at least had gulped down a bunch of thread pieces, yakking up a bunch in the process, but not all of it.

The internet says orange cats have one brain cell they share between them on alternating days. I’m not sure of the math for half-orange cats, whether they have half a brain cell or don’t get to share a whole one as often, and I’m not asking Dianne. She wouldn’t take it well on days her beloved Nevada wasn’t going under the knife.

It took three incisions in her intestines to remove all the thread.

The worst wasn’t over with the last stitch. Johnny and Dianne sat with her all night, alternating naps every few hours while Johnny monitored all her functions, wobbling all over the place and Dianne sat by the recovery cage with her arms around Nevada. She only woke Johnny up twice to check something, and he didn’t mind at all. 

A few days later, Nevada didn’t need constant monitoring, but Dianne stayed up with her at night anyway, with Johnny checking every four hours instead of every two. A week later, her fever had gone down and she didn’t have to be fed liquids, and a week after that, Johnny pronounced the operation a success and removed the e-collar Nevada had unwillingly wore to keep her from tearing open her stitches.

By then it was the end of the month, and here we are. I’m the only one awake; everyone else is exhausted after recent weeks. So I’m here to tell you about new danger to your cat—thread and anything else that will fit in their mouths. Also, veterinary staff are awesome and deserve your appreciation and support. Donuts and lunch too. I think Dianne would marry Johnny if he asked now.

JD Thompson
Attorney at Law, Mediator