Monday, July 18, 2011

506. The cat lady comes to the rescue

In one article I read, it stated that the Y-generation is the Google generation as it searches information via googling instead of asking for advices from the seniors. . It has the following characteristics:

1. It is a generation that does not take instructions as willingly as my baby-boomer generation. When I instruct this generation to do something, it will do anything its own way and therefore I need to watch out. For example, my assistant Min. I told him how to restrain a ferocious cat in a certain way by first placing the crated cat on a table and not from the floor. By placing on a table, the human is in a better and comfortable position to handle the hissing cat. It so happened that we had two hissing cats for spay yesterday as they are stray cats. Usually, Singapore's cats are quite gentle. There is a community of cat lovers who will get stray cats sterilised and released to the wild and manage them and so Toa Payoh Vets do get some of these kind souls.

Yesterday, he would do his style and tried to get the ferocious cat (after spaying) out of the crate by bending down to the floor level where the crate was placed. He would then use a towel trying to get the cat out and risk being scratched. He tried but no way would the cat come out. He would not ask me for help or advice. Min had been bitten on both hands by a dog some months ago and had cat scratches. This is the risk of working in the small animal veterinary practice. But such risks can be dispensed with if Min knows how.

In this situation, Min had asked for the owner to take the cat out. However, the owners (a Malay mother and teenaged boy) who sent the cat for spay stood outside the Surgery as there was a big Golden Retriever in the reception room waiting to be discharged (after being clipped and de-ticked off thousands of small ticks).

The mother waved her hand at her nose indicating that the dog's tick insecticide smell was too much for her and that was why I asked her and the boy to wait outside the Surgery where the air is fresher.

After the Golden Retriever owner left, I asked the boy and later the mother to come into the Animal holding area to get the cat out. They failed to get the cat out to transfer her to their own carrier. Many minutes passed. So what should I do? Dr Vanessa came out to help after vaccinating six stray cats brought in by a lady in her 30s. This lady had specifically made an appointment to see her and I presumed this was a serious cat lady as I did not see her smiling when she came into the receptionist room.

Well, she seemed to be a cat handling expert. I asked her for help and she did. "Put some food on the floor," she said to the Malay woman. "Once the cat comes out, I will be able to catch her and put her in the carrier."

The problem was that no normal cat owner would bring the cat's favourite food with them when they come to take the cat home. Dr Vanessa came to help too as this was the cat she spayed. The dog with the bleeding nostril (now no longer bleeding) was barking till his lungs would burst and I asked Min to quieten him by being near to him and let the cat lady do her job.

No cat food. I asked Min for the cat food from the Surgery. What happened next? Well, the overweight hamster with two large tumours of over 4 cm long and 1 cm wide x 1 cm deep came to take the hamster home. This was around 5.30 pm and so I attended to him as it was I who operated the hamster. I had to advise him how to take care post-operation and to show him the tumour. "It is large," he said. "What's the cause? Is it genetic?" So, I was engaged and did not see how the cat lady take the cat out from the crate. Somewhere I heard about taking the crate up onto the table.....In any case, the cat lady succeeded where Min failed and I was grateful for her help. I will ask Min what happened later today as I was in a rush to to somewhere after spending time with the young hamster owner whose wife found me by googling "hamster tumour" or something.

I asked the husband to stop feeding the hamster too much food. "Is it the melon seeds?" I asked again.

"No," he said. "My wife gives her a lot of bread as the hamster simply loves eating bread." The dwarf hamster was 81 gram in bodyweight as I asked Min to weigh the hamster in the presence of the owner. Her belly was as rounded as a soft toy and she looked really cute. I was surprised she survived the anaesthesia and surgery. I remembered her very well as her spleen came out of the 1-mm thin abdominal wall when I removed the big tumours (likely to be mammary tumour). I had to push back the spleen and sutured the muscle defect with one 5/0 nylon suture. The suture was transparent and so it was quite difficult to see it. However, the gap was stitched up and the hamster was OK some 4 hours when the owner came. As if she had a slimming session with one of those numerous spa operators in Singapore and was active as before when the male owner came.

"No more bread. Target to reduce weight to 65 gram," I said. So I was rather busy myself while Dr Vanessa had to get the cat out of the bag, the crate, I mean. To transfer her to the carrier to go home. She did it as the Malay woman and the boy went home while I was still consulting the owner. I could see the cat lady hailing a cab and put the 4 cat crates in the taxi's boot for the short ride to a cattery. I had no time to thank her as I had to teach the hamster owner how to give antibiotics to the hamster. This hamster squeaked when handled. As I picked her up from the cage with my bare hand to demonstrate, she squeaked suddenly and instinctively I had to let go, for fear of being bitten. I got Min to give me the cotton hand glove to restrain this hamster for demonstration.

Everything ended fine with the hissing cat and the obese dwarf hamster. It was a good evening.

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