Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Compliment

Anyone who knows me thinks of me as an "animal person" but not necessarily a "cat person". That being said, I believed that I was violently allergic to cats for many years and subsequently avoided them. Of course, working as a vet tech requires you to handle cats on a daily basis. After cautiously approaching my first hands on cat encounter a year ago, I found that I can handle the fur without incident. Of course, I'm still very respectful of felines, as they have claws, teeth, and a temperament that can change without warning.
While I was doing my externship I had an opportunity to handle 2 Bengal felines. They were gorgeous! I started seeing cats in a new light, and felt more comfortable handling them. When I went back to work at my vet hospital, I brought my new found courage with me. My vet is very understanding of my (sometimes) hesitation to restrain cats and she works in conjunction with me so the client's vet visit is seamless & trouble free.
The other day we had to examine 2 cats from a rescue society. One was feral and the clients expressed their concerns to us, and even suggested sedating this cat so we could draw blood and clip the nails without worrying if we would get bitten or clawed. I suggested to them that we try to handle the cat first, before choosing drugs, to see how "bad" the cat would be.
My vet grabbed a towel, and I turned the trap on end so the kitty would slide out onto our exam table. We rolled the cat up in the towel, so she could still breathe, but her head was covered and we were protected. I restrained the cat while we slowly took each paw and clipped her long claws. We soothed the cat as we worked by talking to her in a gentle voice. She laid there quietly. The clients marveled at how my vet & I worked as a team, without stressing the cat. We were able to pull blood from her and finally she was able to go back into a carrier.
No fur flew, and no felines were harmed in the making of this appointment. Our clients were amazed and thanked my vet profusely for handling her with care. They then turned to me and told me what a good tech I was and that I had a great technique for handling cats.
In my mind I shouted "No! I'm still scared!" even as I thanked the clients for their kind words.

Their words gave me confidence to take with me the next time I have to handle a feral cat. I know that working with my vet sets my mind at ease and we can overcome any problem together.
I always love my job, but I get an extra special feeling when I get to help an animal who might otherwise have had a bad experience at the vet, and it's always good when client notices how hard we work.
It was a good day.

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