The Cat’s Last Meow

| Right | December 30, 2015

(Our small animal clinic opens an hour before the doctor comes in, during which time our grooming appointments, boarding appointments, etc. can come in, as well as customers looking for medication or food. We also receive a few calls. Because things are usually quiet, I am the only one answering phones.)

Caller: “Hi, um, I have a cat? It’s having some trouble.”

Me: “What seems to be going on?”

Caller: “Well, is there a reason a cat wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom?”

Me: “Is he having trouble urinating or defecating?”

Caller: “I’m not sure; he’s straining in the litter box.”

Me: “Well, potty problems can be caused by a lot of things in cats. If he’s not going poo, that could be constipation. If he’s not urinating, that could be something more serious, like a UTI or a urinary blockage, which would require immediate attention.”

Caller: “Can I bring him in right now?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we do not have a doctor here right now. If you do feel this is an emergency, I would recommend Local Emergency Vet #1 or Local Emergency Vet #2. Would you like either of their numbers?”

Caller: “Well, he’s actually a pretty old cat, and I don’t want to spend that kind of money. Can I just bring him in and you look at him?”

Me: “I am not licensed to practice veterinary medicine, ma’am. I’m afraid only a vet can provide medical advice.”

Caller: “Well, I’m not going to have any time later today. Do you have any appointments tomorrow?”

Me: *wondering if she’s heard the part where I said this is definitely an emergency* “Yes?”

(We make the appointment, and she asks to make a grooming appointment for her cat immediately following his examination, which I reluctantly book.)

Me: “And again, if he continues showing signs of pain, do consider calling back or taking him to an emergency vet.”

(The cat did make it to the appointment the next day — by a thread. The vet ended up referring him to the emergency vet for surgical intervention, which they cheerfully accepted.)

Caller: “Nah, he’s old. If he can’t tough it out, he’s had a good life!”

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