I Am A Veterinarian’s Worst Nightmare

This starts off sad, but does have a hopeful/happy ending (depending on who went to the vet I suppose).

Not long ago my mom’s cat, Silver, died. It’s been really hard on her since she loved that cat. He was her cat. The cat she got to replace me, her only child, when I went off to college. And while that cat and I didn’t see eye-to-eye (possibly because I would sneak up behind him, poke his side, and say “Kitty!” really loudly), I was sad he was gone. I was even more heartbroken for my mom. Luckily he went quickly with little pain, but he went so quickly that no one really had the chance to brace themselves (as what sometimes happens in these cases).

Because of the suddenness of Silver’s death I quickly made an appointment for my 10+ year old cat, Arwen. Arwen is my cat. My shadow. My constant companion. When I saw that little black kitten in the shelter’s kitten playpen I had to have her. And thinking about Silver made me worry about losing my cat as well.

There seemed to be nothing wrong with Arwen (besides a stuffed up nose that made her spew snot everywhere when she sneezed), but I wanted a doctor to tell me she was okay. This was the same veterinarian office my mom went to so they understood my worry.

But this also marked a new point in my life because this was the first time I took Arwen to the vet on my own. You may wonder how a person almost 30 years old managed to do that, but it’s mainly because when I did take Arwen I was worried about her and needed the emotional support. My mom had actually been a great buffer while at the vet because I am basically a helicopter parent at the pediatrician. I’m the type of “parent” who asks and prods when it comes to their kids, and the doctor just sits there thinking, “Damn. Stop asking questions.” When my mom went with me before she was able to interrupt me so I wouldn’t spend so much time asking so many freaking questions. Logically I knew she was right about calming down, but this is my baby. (And my emotions always win over my head anyways.)

So, when the vet walked in with his assistant, I picked Arwen up, put her on the table, and launched into this (unprompted) speech:

“So my mom’s cat, Silver, you may know about him, he died last week from cancer. I’m his owner’s daughter. Silver and Arwen weren’t litter mates but they lived together for years, and I just want to make sure Arwen is okay. Not that she could catch cancer from Silver, but I do want her looked over. She seems healthy. She’s pooping and peeing regularly. Poops every other day and pees a lot every day. She doesn’t eat much, never really has been interested in food, but I leave out dry food all the time and give her wet food every night. Most of that is gone by the morning – the wet food, I mean. She’s also had the same personality recently: playing and cuddling all the same. She does seem to get stuffy noses and colds a lot. Her snot ranges from light green to clear, and I know this because when she sneezes snot goes everywhere. These colds and stuffy noses happen once every 1-2 months. But other than the stuffy noses and colds, she seems healthy.”

By the end of my speech I realized that the vet, his assistant, and my cat were all looking at me in shock. Their faces all collectively saying, “Holy shit, what was that?”

“So yeah,” I said, glancing away from them and eyeing the floor, “That’s it. I just need to know she’s not…um, dying. Dying soon.”

It was silent for a moment. It was probably only a second but it felt like 5 minutes. After that second of silence I couldn’t take it anymore and observed, “That was a lot.”

“Well,” the vet said and seemed to be finding the right words to express his thoughts, but all that came out was “…yeah. Let’s…let’s just check Arwen out, okay?”

I watched anxiously as he felt of her body, listened to her heart, and looked in her eyes and ears. All the while I’m wondering What does he see? What does he think? What’s he doing?

But embarrassment kept me silent and when they took her out into the clinic to draw some blood for tests, I thumped my head onto the examination table. I reached for my phone and texted one of my friends who also has cats:

Totally just went helicopter parent at the veterinarian’s office. I think I embarrassed my cat too.

By that time the vet had come back with Arwen I had gotten a text back saying, “Dear god, your mom let you go alone?” My habit of asking too many questions at the doctor is legendary.

But my anxiety bounced back because the vet hadn’t spoken in 5 seconds, so I gasped and asked“Oh my gosh, is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” the vet said slowly, “we just drew some blood, so it’ll be a wek before the results come in.”

The vet began to talk about what he thought was wrong with her in regards to her constant stuffy noses and what he prescribed. He suggested a shot that would help her clear up an infection in the nasal cavity.

“Will it reduce her life and kill her?” I immediately ask.

That was not the question the vet was expecting and did a double take. “What? No. It should help clear up her nose.”

“Okay,” I said brightly, “let’s do it!”

Once he had given her the shot I began my next question:“Any side effects or – ”

“Nope,” he says quickly, obviously done with this appointment, “She’ll just sleep all day.”

When I got back into the car I look over at Arwen, who was in her pink cat carrier on the passenger seat.

“So, that went well,” I say.

She puffed up and glared at me.

I tried to get a picture of her bald spot on her throat (where they shaved her to get a blood sample). She was not amused.

UPDATE: The veterinarian’s office called not that long ago to tell me that all of Arwen’s tests came back fine and she is a healthy kitty. The shot of medicine that she got has done wonders and she no longer sneezes snot balls everywhere.