One challenging afternoon, we had an appointment to see four cats in one home on the schedule.  The client proved to be completely unprepared for our arrival.  By that, I mean, she ignored my typical advice given beforehand to sequester the cat or cats to a small room, preferable one without beds, closets, or furniture under and in which the cat can hide.  A powder room is the perfect example.  We work in powder rooms on a daily basis with cat appointments.

The reason I prepare the client is to avoid 1) chasing after the cat, and stressing it more than it will already be upon our arrival; 2) potentially not finding the cat after we arrive and spend the better part of an hour lifting couches, beds, boxes…you name it: it has happened before, and thus we prefer to prevent it; and 3) having to charge the client for the home visit and exam that never comes to pass. These clients invariably are the same ones that insist that their kitty “loves everyone”, and “is extremely friendly and will be eagerly awaiting your arrival in the kitchen.”

The awkward collection of house call visit fees does not make for a long-term client.  Thus, with this particular appointment, we made all reasonable attempts to avoid this scenario, only to be met with not just one missing cat but four.

Next, the hunt commenced.  We were dealing with a two-bedroom home, with there of the four cats presumably corralled in the master bedroom.  Specifically, that meant a king-sized bed, a dresser, and an extremely crammed, floor to ceiling closet with bifold metal doors.  My assistant, the client, and I, armed with thick towels, called out the cats’ names.  We heard movement and things crashing to the floor as the cats tried to flee the room.  One cat, which, by my estimations weighed about 15 lb., slammed into the door at eye level, rebounded off the ceiling, and then disappeared under the bed.

This is the part of any visit that I dread.  I do not relish lifting king-sized mattresses and frames.  I had already pulled my back out twice previously, and was reluctant to do it again.  Cleverly, I positioned myself at the head of the bed, and instructed my assistant and the client to lift the bed while I planned to swoop in and somehow grab the now frantic, enormous patient.

They lifted the mattress and I found that between the mattress and the frame was a gun.  I was near the gun; the cat was 6 inches away; and everyone else was at the foot of the bed, holding the mattress up over their heads.

Naturally, I said, “Gee! There’s a gun here,” to which the client responded, “What gun? I don’t have a gun.”

I quickly replied, “Uh, yeah you do, and its right here, under where you would put your head every night.”

Then ensued a seemingly endless banter of back and forth: “You grab it!”, and “No! You grab it; you’re closer!”

My assistant glared at me and shook her head, basically implying, “Don’t do it!  Don’t touch that gun!”

But I really wanted that cat!  And he was within reach.  So, against all reason and judgement, I lifted the gun and the client instructed me to put it on a tiny flimsy shelf above the bed.  I asked her if it was loaded, and, of course, her response was “How would I know?!  I didn’t even know I had a gun!”

Miraculously, I caught, examined, and treated the cat in question.  On to the next two.  We heard more banging in the closet and headed there.  I found it interesting that atop the dresser was an open box of bullets, the presence of which the client also seemed unable to explain.

Ultimately, we caught three of the four cats, and went on our merry way.   I worried I would soon hear a story on the nightly news about a suspicious shooting with my fingerprints linked to the weapon, but it never happened.

Dr. Dawn
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