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Cat farm

We have two new kittens at the cat farm, what I affectionately call our home.  They go to the vet tomorrow to be fixed; I think the proper term is neutered or spayed.  Our daughter is in the last year of vet school at UT in Knoxville so I’d best get these terms right.  Being a vet student has some interesting side lights.  One she discovered early on was that some email filters don’t appreciate the terminology of animal medical practice. For example in vet circles a bitch is a proper term for a female dog.  In other circles it is a derogatory term, for which at least one of her emails was bounced.  I hope this document doesn’t get bounced by Jim Thompson’s filters.

My wife and I have single handedly tried to reduce the feral cat population in our fair city.  Over the years we’ve rescued said cats, had them “fixed” & vaccinated, and then either returned them to their original home grounds or kept them, depending on their ability to tame down.  So we have more than our fair share of vet bills because all are “fixed” and vaccinated.  We likewise keep Pets-Mart in the black.  When we leave town for a short trip, we have redefined the term pet-sitter.  But it’s what we’ve chosen to do and we have such a heart for these animals, there really isn’t a choice.

At one point in the past we let many of the cats outdoors during the day.  We lost a few in this process, probably to local wildlife, and also had some neighborly difficulties.  So we’ve kept them confined for some time now.  We have two large outside “aviaries” so they get outdoors at will without the risks or bother to the neighbors.

The biggest problem we have with our animals is that cats are very stoic and don’t show pain or sickness.  This leads to the situation where a cat is really ill and you can’t tell until it’s almost too late to treat it.  Dehydration and bladder issues can get very serious in just a day or two.  Teeth are next on my list.  A cat’s teeth usually go bad from the inside out, just the opposite of humans’.  So when a cat’s tooth starts looking bad, it’s ready to fall out.  The saving grace is that most cat food can be eaten without the cat chewing much.

The cats you see at the pet stores from the various humane shelters are just the tip of an ice berg of feral animals that pass through their facilities.  Unless you plan to show a cat in a cat fancy association or the like, try rescuing one from the local humane shelter.  Their prices for adoption are so low it’s laughable.  A decent vet can charge $200 + for a female cat for all its shots and spay surgery.  Using a specialized spay/neuter clinic can reduce this cost but still not to the level of most shelter adoption fees.

So do your community a favor.  If you already have cats, be sure they are all “fixed” and at least have rabies shots annually.  If you are looking to get a cat, make your first stop the local humane shelter.  While you are there, join their list of volunteers who work, contribute money, or just supply needed items the keep the place going.  By the way, never throw away an old towel.  Wash it and take it to the shelter.  Trust me on this.

Go Army – Beat Navy.

Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA


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