The Mysterious Case Of The Night Howlers

, , , , , , , | Working | September 4, 2020

The office I work at has normal daytime hours, then at a certain time switches over to emergencies only for the night, then we close for an hour before the day shift comes in. Night shift doesn’t see day shift except in the evenings. Overnight, we run with a skeleton crew: one tech, one front desk, and one doctor. I work night shift.

One night, I’m helping a patient in from the parking lot when we hear an ungodly scream. It sounds like the loudest, angriest cat scream I have ever heard. I turn around, and sitting in the middle of the parking lot is a tiny kitten, eight weeks old at the most. While I watch, it screams again.

I keep pushing the hurt dog on his stretcher to get him in the door, and then I let the front desk know there is a kitten outside, so let’s leave the door open and see if it comes inside. We can’t go out and get it because if you try and chase them they might run into the road or get scared and run off to who knows where.

A few hours later, we hear screaming from the side of the building. The kitten is sitting in the window staring into the treatment room. We open the window and it bolts.

Around midnight, I’m taking the trash out the back door and there is the kitten, sitting just out of reach and screaming. I set a feral cat trap in the back lot and put a note on the treatment board to check the trap for success every hour.

There’s no sign of it after midnight, and the next evening, when I come in for the day shift, I ask and they tell me they think the kitten ran off, because none of them saw any sign of it. As soon as the day shift leaves, we hear the screaming again.

This goes on for almost a week. Everyone on night shift low key hates this little jerk of a cat and the day shift thinks we are all crazy because they haven’t seen any trace of it. Finally, our medical director gives us permission to actively try and catch it since the screaming is bothering clients; if it runs away and never comes back, so be it.

The next night, our tech brings a bucket outside with her when she takes out the trash and throws it over the kitten. We finally got the jerk! We throw him, still screaming, into a kennel and label the cage “Howler Kitten.” We’ll do an exam and vaccines and everything we need to do to get Howler adopted later. Due to emergencies, we don’t get a chance to do anything to him that night.

The next evening, I come in and the first thing I do is go check on the prisoner. Somebody has drawn a line through “Howler” and written in “Sweetie”. I talk to the day shift and they explain that he hasn’t screamed all day, he’s the sweetest little thing, and they don’t understand why we were so annoyed with his meows; they are so soft and cute. He never screams again the whole time he is with us up until we find him his forever home. Night shift still low-key hates this cat for making us look like liars.

Six months later, it’s a slow night and I’m raking the parking lot and I hear the same scream. My first thought is, “Dang it, he ran away from his new home and came back to torture us again.” I turn, and deja vu, there’s a kitten the same color that looks eight weeks old. My next thought is, “We are not doing this again!”

I drop the rake and charge towards the kitten. I chase it down the street until it darts under a parked car and screams again. I reach into the wheel well and grab it by the scruff, and then I take my hissing, screaming captive back to the office. We put her in the kennel, and this time we take a video of her screaming at the food we gave her… while she is eating it. I did not know it was possible to scream and swallow at the same time, but she does it.  

Night shift names the new kitten Alouatta, the genus that howler monkeys belong to; we looked it up. The next evening, her name has been changed to Pickles, but they change it back after I show them the video. 

We are convinced they are half-siblings at least, and that somewhere out there is a feral cat telling her kittens that the easy way to get food is to “go to the humans and scream” while neglecting to mention that after screaming you have to get close to the humans. Neither of them ever made that scream sound again. We are still waiting to see if another sibling shows up; it’s been a year now so maybe there won’t be any more.

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Unfiltered Story #205717

, | Unfiltered | August 19, 2020

(An owner comes in with a cat that has been trowing up now and then for a month or so)

Vet: So, when does he trow up?

Owner: Well, he is fine during the week, but he seems to trow up a lot in the weekend.

Vet: What kind of food do you give him? Is there something you´re giving him before he trows up?

Owner: Oh, I only give him dry cat food. But in the weekend he gets wet food.

Vet: *gives the owner a ¨think about what you just said¨-look*

Owner: Oooooh, right.. I should probably stop giving him wet food.

Unfiltered Story #205683

, , , | Unfiltered | August 17, 2020

(It is fairly unusual for us to still have openings on whatever day it is. Also, we close for lunch at 11:30)

*Phone rings at 11:27*

Me: “[Clinic], this is [my name], how can I help you?”
Client: “Hi, this is [client’s name]. [Cat] has been throwing up all morning, when is the soonest you could see him?”
Me: “Well, we actually have an opening this afternoon. Would you be able to bring him in for an appointment at 2:30?”
Client: “Oh, don’t you have anything sooner?”

Unfiltered Story #205581

, | Unfiltered | August 12, 2020

I have the after hours emergency phone for my clinic. Our clinic day time phone number is only one digit different from the human hospital, so during the day it is not uncommon to get calls for the human hospital. Normally these callers don’t cause an issue afterhours as they deterred by our message bank which gives our clinic name, my name and title and says veterinarian about four times.
Me: veterinary hospital after hours, this is (my name)
Caller: Hi, its Name, i had a line put in my heart yesterday and now its really itchy.
Me: at this point I’m frantically trying to remember if we sent any patients for heart surgery recently. I see and where was the procedure performed?
Caller: over in (nearby large town)
Me: I see…sorry did you say into your heart?
Caller: yeah and its really itchy.
Me: sir you’ve called the veterianary hospital, you need the human hospital. Their number is (number). I think you need to talk to them.
Caller: sounding very subduded. Oh, ok. Hangs up.

About an hour later. The phone rings again.
Me: veterinary hospital after hours, this is (my name)
Caller: hey, the line in my heart is still itchy.
Me: sir you have again called the veterinary hospital. You need to call the human hospital, there is nothing i can do for you.
Caller: after a long moment of silence. But it is really itchy, its kind of burning now.
Me: sir please, the phone number you are looking for is (number). Please call it and talk to the human doctor.
Caller: are you sure?
Me: yes sir, i am a veterinarian, i can only treat animals. Please call the human hospital. Do you need me to repeat the number?
Caller: no thats ok. Thanks anyway.
His number was blocked so I couldn’t check back with him in the morning, but I do have to wonder what drugs he was on to keep calling the vet for help with his heart condition.

Unfiltered Story #203748

, , | Unfiltered | August 3, 2020

(I’m a receptionist at a vet clinic. If someone wants to pay remotely, we need a scan or photo of their card and I.D., along with something saying how much we are allowed to charge to the card, sent to the clinic’s email. The email causes trouble with some people, but this exchange takes the cake – the customer was trying to charge out and one of the techs had written our email down on a post-it for her, but had either misspelled or not clearly written it.)
Customer: I need to settle the bill, can I use my mother’s credit card if I don’t have it with me?
Me: Yes ma’am, our policy is that she scan or photograph it, along with a form of I.D. so we can make sure to have that information on file.
Customer: Alright, she doesn’t know how to do that, but she can send the photo to me and then I’ll forward it to you. Will that work?
Me: Yes that should work.
(A few minutes later, she receives the photo.)
Customer: Alright, I’ll send it to you. The email is [email protected](company) right?
Me: No ma’am, it’s [email protected](company) With an S at the end of vet.
Customer: Alright, you should have it in your inbox.
Me: *checks inbox* I don’t see it ma’am. Did you make sure to put an S at the end of vets when you typed it in? Happens all the time!
Customer: No… I sent it to [email protected](company) *eyes go wide* Does this mean I’ve sent my mother’s financial information to some random email??
Me: *quickly searches (company)* I don’t see an actual website there, so I don’t believe anyone will be able to receive what you sent. Please resend it to [email protected](company) With an S.
Customer: *in a daze, distracted* Alright, [email protected](company) right?
Me: No, [email protected](company) With an S at the end of vets.
Customer: *muttering to herself* info…. @….. (company)…. vet….. .com.
Me: With an S at the end!
Customer: *finally making eye contact again* Okay, I resent it.
Me: I don’t have it. (company) right?
Customer: Oh! There’s an S at the end of the email address?
Me: Yes ma’am, the email is [email protected](company) With an S at the end, like plural vets, as in more than one vet.
(I finally got it the email and I was able to get things sorted out. But the fact that this customer was paying so little attention to where she was sending financial information made me want to face-palm!)