Could you tell me the secret of having a long and happy life? I have a great home and want to be with my people forever. A bird told me you are actually a senior but you seem so young. Is it true you are actually in your teens?
Sincerely, Kit N. Kat
Dear Kit N. Kat,
Here is some advice from Mama: We all need LOVE.
Yes, Kit N. Kat, while a lady never reveals her true age, I have sniffed my share of catnip over the years. My people call me Mama (short for Mama Cat). I showed up pregnant at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital in 2001. After my kittens were born and placed in wonderful homes, I began my new career: I was a blood donor, helping other cats to lead long and healthy lives.
Now, I am a happy and healthy “senior” cat and I now hold a different position here at Mountain View: I am the Chief Clinic Cat in Charge of Everything. This is a big responsibility. I must supervise the other clinic cats who have taken over the position of blood donor. I am also in charge of directing the human staff in proper care of, well, me. They must pet me and cuddle me at appropriate intervals, when I want it, not at their silly human whims. They must feed me and keep my potty box clean. I am happy and never complain about anything being wrong with me—it would not be appropriate for a dignified cat to ever show signs of vulnerability or weakness. After all, I love my people and would never cause them an ounce of worry.
Do you want to know a secret? I am not as healthy as I look. Like you, I am very good at hiding what is wrong with me. I have to. I am a cat and it is our nature to be infallible. Despite being purrrfect, I do have heart disease, kidney disease, and arthritis. And, I have had all my teeth pulled. I am a lucky cat because my people all love me soooo much that they do regular exams on me.
On one of my exams, they discovered that my teeth were developing painful sores. I did not complain; after all, it wouldn’t be catlike to tell anyone my teeth hurt. I even ate despite the pain. Over time, all of my teeth were removed and now I am sooo happy because I can eat and groom without any pain at all!
I have some heart problems, too. One of my people listened to me during an exam and said my heart sounded funny. They took pictures of my heart and even called a specialist known as a cardiologist to look inside my heart. They say my heart is a little too big but I don’t need medicine for it yet. But, I have exams every 3 months so they can make sure that my heart is doing ok and I can get medicine as soon as I need it.
During a recent exam, one of my people felt my legs and, while I tried to hide it, I made a tiny wince. I got my picture taken again and they said I had arthritis. Now, I am on some medicine and it makes me feel great. It had been difficult to get out to the main area of the clinic to school the people in proper cat petting techniques. I didn’t tell anyone that I preferred to lay in my bed because my legs hurt (that would not be proper for a cat with my social standing). Now, I come out all the time. I am so happy!
I am getting a new food now that is helpful for my kidneys, which are starting to show signs of aging. My people found this on one of my recent blood tests. (I do not like blood tests but I put up with them so my people can make sure I am healthy. They do not hurt but I am not a fan of holding still for them.) I like the new food and since my kidney disease was found so early, my tummy is not upset and it is not hard for me to make a slow change to a new diet. I know my people will watch my kidneys very closely and give me medicine, if and when I need it.
I am a healthy senior cat. I show no outward signs of disease. I intend to be a healthy older cat, hiding every sign of my various diseases for as long as I can. As cats, we must be strong for our humans and should not worry them when we are ill. Why did I tell you my secret? Why did I let you know I have some problems? To let you know the importance of LOVE. My people love me with all their hearts. They also provide me with LOVE –Lots Of Veterinary Exams. These exams have found problems that were threatening my life and causing me pain. And they found them while my people could still help me and make me comfortable, without my needing to give in and show signs of weakness. Like I said, I am a lucky cat. I get both love and LOVE!
I know your people love you as much as my people love me. Both love and LOVE are an important part of our health.
Should you choose to spay or neuter your pet at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital, your pet will receive a cage or run with a towel or blanket to keep them comfortable. Cats will receive a litter pan and dogs get frequent walks out side. We double leash all walked pets when our caring staff members take them out. A brief physical exam will be done by his or her Doctor on the day of surgery, before any anesthesia. They will get a dose of pain medication according to the Doctor's recommendation. They will also get a dose of antibiotics to help avoid any infection. They will be anesthetized by one of our Licensed Veterinary Technicians with a Doctor supervising. While they are under anesthesia their Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, Blood Pressure and Temperature will be monitored. We use mechanical devices such as Ultrasonic Doppler, Pulse Oximeter, or Electrocardiogram. We monitor and record this information every 10 minutes. The surgery will be performed on a circulating hot water heating pad and supplemental heat is provided with warm towels and hot water bottles to prevent loss of body heat during surgery. Spays and dog neuters are performed in a sterile surgical suite where the doctor will ligate (tie-off) the blood vessels with single use sterile suture material. Cat neuters are performed in our outpatient surgical area. We will monitor your pet throughout the day making sure they are staying warm and that they are comfortable. When the procedure is finished one of our technicians will call you and let you know how your pet did while under anesthesia and let you know when you can come and get your furry friend. We keep all spays over night and most neuters are allowed to go home the same day of surgery.
At MVVH, your pet receives the individual attention you expect, not a place on an assembly line. We care about your pet's health and comfort during its surgery and stay in our hospital because we know They're not just pets….they're family.