A New King of the House

Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone for the first time, perhaps at a social event, and clicking with them immediately?  It can happen for me with people or animals, and I suspect it happens between animals as well.  I recently had the “we are meant to be together” feeling when a wonderful animal caregiver and client brought an older, abandoned cat to Pond Point Animal Hospital.  She was asking us to scan for a microchip on the slim chance he was ‘chipped and got lost.  If no microchip was found, she asked that we give him a Rabies vaccine and she would start the process of trying to place him, since he was clearly not a feral cat.  She opened the top of the carrier and a big orange head popped right out. “Mmmrrrpp?” he said as he head-butted everyone.

He was clearly not a young cat – dental disease and iris pigment changes showed that.  But he was confident and friendly and I was cat-less.  “I’ll take him” I said.  I think she was surprised, but likely also relieved.  It isn’t easy to find homes for adult cats.

So this is “Roamin”.  He has been in our house since mid-November and completely rules the place.  He and Jasper, our dog, got along from the beginning.  He is picking away at my mouse problem (I live in a very old house) and reporting to me on the progress every step of the way.  What a talker!  Yesterday morning, as I was making coffee in the kitchen, I heard him giving a long-winded accounting of my failings as a mouse-catcher.  “Mrrworr-rowr-rowr”.  It started in the basement, came up the basement stairs and through the cat door, then through the living room and on up the stairs to the second floor.  It was accompanied by intermittent knocking and banging sounds.  Curious, I followed him up to my bedroom, where I found him gloating over a mouse caught in a large black plastic rat trap 4 x 6 inches.  I was very impressed – first that he was monitoring my efforts so closely, and second that he was able to drag that thing all the way up to the second floor!  Sorry mice, but I suspect you have met your match.


Dr. Bedarf’s mischievous cat Bruiser


I have two cats.  They are both about 10 years old, which means they are getting old *cringe*.  Generally that means they start “slowing down”.  I can tell that both of them are starting to suffer from arthritis and are a little lazier than usual due to the pain.  I find myself buying more and more “old age” medications to ease their transition into becoming geriatric cats and keep them comfortable.  That being said, my three-legged cat, Bruiser, is still as clever as he was at the age of 2.  He is, after all, the great food scavenger.  Last week, I had a box with some wrapping in it that I had unpacked since moving to a new apartment.  It laid in my kitchen untouched for exactly 3 days before Bruiser decided there must be something in it that he HAD to have.  I was greeted by the remnants of his version of a Pinata, shredded packing material strewn all over my kitchen.  Needless to say I think he had a good time.  Unfortunately, his mother had less of a good time cleaning up his mess.  At the age of 10 this is hardly his first destructive act.  Bruiser has a nasty habit of tearing into anything that he thinks could hold food, smells like food or actually holds food.  I have come home to oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, bread, soup packets and rice to name a few spread all over my house.  I once came home to corn nuts and his corn nut vomitus all over my living room.  While I was at an externship in California, my cat sitter had to clean up an entire 5lb bag of flour that my cat tore into and then proceeded to spread all over my house.  He even moved a large mound into his water bowl because that made a fun clay like consistency that he could use to make kitty paw prints around the house.  To my chagrin, that cat sitter wouldn’t watch Bruiser again after that catastrophe even though I paid her double for the hassle.  The worst and scariest thing he has ever eaten was ½ of a chocolate cupcake.  While that wouldn’t be a toxic dose of chocolate for a dog that size, my cat spiked a high fever, started tremoring non-stop and kept me up all night worrying sick that I was going to have one of the only recorded cats to die from chocolate toxicity.  Luckily, he lived.  I however, developed another ulcer and more white hairs from the stress.   Over the years I’ve gotten smarter.   Early on I realized that food could not be kept in cabinets along the floor.  Alas Bruiser learned how to open them from the counter.  After that, I moved on to putting things up on high shelves in the cabinets.  Well my wonder cat learned how to scale shelves.  This led me to putting standard child safety locks on my cabinets.  After this I thought that I was saved!  No such luck… he chewed threw the plastic part that kept the cabinet from unlatching.  After years of cleaning up after my fur baby, I’m pretty sure that I have found the answer… MAGNETIC CHILD LOCKS!  These wonderful locks have kept my food safe and sound.  Well… at least for now they have.  God knows I love the little beast for the good and the bad, but I must say my house is happier when Bruiser the great scavenger is kept at bay.  God love him.  ~ Dr. Ashley Bedarf

Dog Days

This is Jasper.  He loves summer and the water but is not crazy about the sailboat.  This is a rare
 moment of relaxation on a sailboat.  I want to be able to take him with us on weekends but I can't 
seem to train him to go to the bathroom on the boat or overcome his fear of high winds and waves.  I think I am experiencing something many dog owners experience - a desire to include my dog in 
many parts of life, even if he doesn't enjoy it.  I sometimes see dogs at events such as festivals that 
don't look like they are having a good time either.  Maybe I need to stop trying to get Jasper to do 
what I want to do, and spend more time doing the things he enjoys; running in the woods, swimming and kayaking.  But if any of you know how to train a dog to go to the bathroom on a sailboat, please 
let me know.

Pets and Diets

Today a client whose pet has a medical condition requiring special dietary modification to survive refused prescription food because they feed a grain-free raw diet.  We run into this regularly and have a few less than optimal options for those pet owners, including referring these clients to the “Balance It” website for home cooked diets and supplementation for special pet medical needs, or refer them to a board certified veterinary nutritionist.  Because there is no science or even fact in deciding to feed your pet a raw diet or a grain free diet, just hype and current fads.

While cats are truly obligate carnivores, unable to manufacture the amino acid taurine themselves and so forced to get it from animal tissue, dogs are omnivores just like us.  They are no more wild than you and I.  A National Geographic article about the origins of dogs documented archeological evidence of dogs living in human settlements roughly 3,000 years ago.  In a quote from Energy Times, the health food magazine, Dr. Khalsa (a veterinary nutritionist)  states that “contrary to some advertising claims, today’s dogs and cats are not wolves and lions – and shouldn’t be fed like their wild relatives.  – dogs are not like wolves as they have digestive enzymes that digest carbohydrates – Dogs evolved alongside us for a long, long time.  They ate what we ate.”  Dr. Khalsa goes on to point out that raw or mostly raw protein-based diets are a problem because they increase the acidity of the body, which has been linked to increased cancer.  So tell your friends to stop feeding their dog a raw diet.

Then maybe we can move on to the fact that coconut oil is just another fat!


First blog post

I do not consider myself a social technologies wiz by any stretch of the imagination.  But daily life in a veterinary clinic is so full of great, sad, tender, funny stories that it seems a shame not to share them.  Often a question from one client makes me wish I could provide that same information for this other client and this one over here.  So after much prompting by our Hospital Manager, Katy, here goes.  I cannot promise to blog daily – heck, I can’t promise to do many things daily – but I hope this provides a format for the ongoing discussion of our favorite topic – your pets, our pets, what we love or don’t about them and all the issues that surround living with another species.    Dr. Julia Carter