Archive from June, 2013

Finding a Veterinarian Worthy of your Cat

Jun 23, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

A wonderful client with whom I had enjoyed a great relationship for a number of years, tearfully told me last week that she was moving across country. Her career had taken a positive turn and a dream job awaited her in North Carolina. We both shared some tears and then started to talk about how we would make the transition as easy for her and her cats as we could.

She had a good plan for moving her cats that took into consideration the stress that this disruption would cause. The cats would stay in her home with all the objects and routine remaining as familiar as possible. Her son, whom the cats all loved, would stay with them while she made several trips back and forth to get the new house ready. She had Feliway plugged in. The carriers were in their spots as part of the furniture in the living room and her son would continue to put treats in the carriers and otherwise keep up the normal routine as much as possible.

Margaret, my client, had found a place to live and would get settled there before moving the cats in an attempt to mimic, again, as much of the normal routine as she could. Her commitment to her beloved Grace and Oscar was touching. We talked about a few more ideas for making travel uneventful as they drove across the country together in a month or so.

Then she asked me a really interesting question. “Can you help me find a veterinarian that will take as good care of Grace and Oscar as you and your staff have done?” We both got a little choked up again. I said I would do my best.

As it turned out, I could not find a veterinarian in that city with whom I was familiar. There was not a feline exclusive practice there. My go-to resource for reference is www.catvets.com, because I could look for a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners or a veterinary establishment that is a Cat Friendly Practice. I struck out there, too.

The best I could do is a good plan for anyone looking for a new veterinarian:

  • Search the internet for local practices and check websites. There will be a sense of what is important to that group and an emphasis that may guide you;
  • Pick more than two to call and inquire about the practice. Ask questions about their approach to new cat patients. It almost doesn’t matter what you ask, just engage the person who answers the phone and get a sense of their enthusiasm for your conversation;
  • Ask about coming to the practice for a tour. If the answer is an enthusiastic agreement, check that one on your list with a “yes”; and finally,
  • Go by yourself, no cats, and meet some of the people in the practice. Have a tour and see how it feels to you. Have a nice conversation and see how welcome you feel.

Too often, people make an appointment, bring their cat and then don’t like the experience. But there is a sense of being trapped. You have an appointment, implying agreement to service. If it doesn’t feel right, it is hard to extract yourself from the situation without discomfort at best, perhaps embarrassment, even agreeing to some treatment for your beloved cat that doesn’t sit quite right. Better plan is to go alone and if it feels like a good fit, make an appointment before you leave.

Dr Elizabeth Colleran

Diplomate ABVP Specialty in Feline Practice

Dr Colleran attained both her Masters (in Animals and Public Policy) and Doctorate from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She opened Chico Hospital for Cats in 1998 and the Cat Hospital of Portland in 2003. In 2011, she became President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Dr Colleran is a member with: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitionesr.

Chico Hospital for Cats
548 W East Ave,
Chico, CA

Phone: 530-892-2287‎

Website: http://chicocats.com/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

Cat Hospital of Portland
8065 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202

Phone: 503-235-7005
Fax: 503-234-0042

Website: http://portlandcats.net/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions:Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Cast a Spell on Me – Is the Cat a God or the Devil? (Part 1 of 2)

Jun 20, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

Sinister, malevolent, mysterious, spooky—these are all adjectives used to describe the cat.  That image of the self-sufficient, inscrutable feline has been the persistent stereotype, and has led to the tangled history we humans have with America’s favorite pet.

The relationship people have with their dogs is much more straightforward…but there is something about a cat that defies easy acceptance, and that ambivalence can be traced back to when cats and humans first began to interact.

Cats were domesticated more than 10,000 years ago, when wild cats in the Nile Delta and Mesopotamian marshlands began frequenting human encampments and villages, attracted to the easy supply of rodents that were seeking out the humans’ grain stores.  These cats grew more and more habituated to people, and soon began to, as every cat lover knows, domesticate themselves.  These friendlier cats eventually became part of normal village life.  We know they were intimately associated with humans back then thanks to the discovery of a cat skeleton buried with a human in a 12,000-year-old archeological gravesite.

Because cats had a very distinct role in this relationship—consuming mice—and that trait also came naturally to cats, the typical exploitation of certain behaviors did not occur as it normally would during the domestication process.  Most domesticated species go through different steps of fine-tuning a trait that humans found desirable.  Cats, however, have come through the years basically unchanged.

They were looking for food, not friendship, although the friendlier and less fearful cats were able to capitalize on their increased comfort with humans by having greater access to food and shelter.

It’s basically a thousand-year-old variation on that timeless theme of humans doing the bidding of cats and not vice versa.  First we provided an easy supply of mice, now we’re opening those cans of cat food.  This ambivalence cats have about pleasing people has caused our wildly up and down feelings about our favorite species.

In ancient Egypt, cats might have hit their own personal high on the human interaction scale when they were worshipped as gods.  Over time, the cat’s image evolved from the warlike deification of justice and execution into the more feminine deity representing protection, motherhood and fertility.  The respect for cats was so extreme that many were mummified after death, just like their human supplicants.  In fact, there was a discovery in Egypt of more than 300,000 cat mummies, all located in one cemetery devoted exclusively to cats.  Cats were so revered that if a person was convicted of killing a cat, even accidentally, it often meant a death sentence.

When a cat died, Egyptian households would go into mourning just like when a human relative had died, and they’d mark their grief by the same tradition of shaving their eyebrows.

Those were certainly heady days for the cat!  Ancient Romans also held the cat in great reverence.  Cats in the Roman Empire were seen as symbols of liberty.  The Roman army traveled with cats, which were originally imported from Egypt.  In the Far East, cats were once again valued for their mousing skills, rather than being worshipped as gods, but here the value was less for the protection of grain stores but more from stopping rodents from burrowing into the pages of treasured manuscripts.

Fast forward now into the Middle Ages, when cats suffered a serious decline in status and became demonized throughout Europe.  The belief was that cats were in an alliance with witches and the devil.  Cats were enthusiastically hunted and killed in an attempt to ward off the evil that they were believed to embody.

Ironically, many scholars believe that eliminating cats helped to spread the plague, or the Black Death, since the fleas that transmitted the pathogen had many more hosts in the escalating rat population.  This was one more instance where cat’s rodent hunting had a directly positive benefit on the health of humans, just like what happened when cats protected the human grain stores and manuscripts from marauding mice.

And let’s not forget witches and paganism and the pivotal role that black cats, the classical witch’s familiar, played.  A familiar was an animal traditionally given to witches by the devil.  Familiars were small demons that were sent out to do the witch’s bidding.  Many cats—and other animals—were killed during the witch trials because of this association.  Witches were said to be able to shape-change into a cat no more than nine times, and this is probably where the saying that a cat has nine lives came from.

Cats were believed to be clairvoyant, and their body parts, particularly their tails, were used in potions to give humans those powers.  Cats were also thought to be able to forecast and affect the weather.  A sneezing cat meant rain was on the way and a cat who sharpened its claws on furniture meant that the weather was going to change.  Throwing a cat overboard from a boat was believed to cause storms.  There are also quite a few nautical superstitions involving cats, and boating expressions that use “cat” are numerous and range from cat-o-nine tails, catboats and the catwalk.

Public opinion didn’t begin to shift back in favor of the cat until the 1600s, but Old Wives’ Tales about cats were commonplace and consistently anti-cat.  We’ll look at a selection of those next month and see where the truth lies!

Dr Cathy Lund

Cathy Lund, DVM, owns and operates City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, a cat practice located in Providence, RI. She is also the board president and founder of the Companion Animal Foundation, a statewide, veterinary-based nonprofit organization that helps low-income pet owners afford essential veterinary care. She lives in Providence, and serves on several architectural and preservation commissions in the city, and is on the board of directors of WRNI, RI’s own NPR station. But her favorite activity is to promote the countless virtues of the “purr-fect” pet, the cat!

City Kitty
18 Imperial Pl # 1B
Providence, RI 02903-4642

Phone: (401) 831-6369
Email: email@city-kitty.com

Website: http://www.city-kitty.com/
Facebook:
Directions:Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Asthma in Cats

Jun 16, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

One of my former clients has moved to Boston for graduate school.  Her cat has asthma and she is sharing her experiences with her cat. I hope the video is helpful to you.

This video was thoughtfully created and shared by: Hannah Cheng, Sarah Yu and Zahra Hirji.

Dr Dale Rubenstein

Dr. Rubenstein opened the doors of A Cat Clinic, the first all-feline veterinary practice in Montgomery County, in 1986. She earned her BA in Biology from Oberlin College, her MS in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Maryland and her DVM from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She became board certified in feline practice, one of only 80 diplomats in the U.S., through the American Board of Veterinary Practices (ABVP) in 1996 and re-certified in 2006.

Dr. Rubenstein is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Maryland Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), Cornell Feline Health Center, Montgomery County Humane Society Feline Focus Committee, Montgomery County Veterinary Medicine Association, as well as a member of the credentialing committee of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).

A Cat Clinic, Boyds, MD
14200 Clopper Road,
Boyds, MD 20841

Phone: 301-540-7770
Fax: 301-540-2041
Email: messages@acatclinic.us

Website: http://www.acatclinic.us/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Categories

ALL TAGS