Humans have telemedicine, but what to do when your pet is sick or injured?
Our two kittens are now adolescents - 7 months old. We call them "The Wrecking Crew" because between the two of them, they create a lot of chaos in this household. (Several photos of their "work" are embedded.) Earlier this week, Van Gogh - known at the shelter as "Crazy Cat" - broke through a screen window to get outside.
The day Van Gogh made his break (he returned within an hour or two), his sister Lily was no where to be found. We assumed she'd also gotten out and was lost, frightened, up a tree or worse. It turned out though she'd been in hiding in the house.
Cat owners know that when a cat is sick or injured, they bring "sheltering in place" to a new level. Lily was finally discovered wrapped in a tight ball in the back of our closet, behind some shoes and hanging sweaters. She winced when we pet her and hadn't eaten all day.
Here's what vet care looks like in the age of Covid: The office is locked. The vet, in a mask, meets me at the backdoor, takes Lily in her carrier, and closes the door. She tells me to go to the side of the building, where I can watch the exam and talk to her through the window.
The photo at the top was taken through the screen. The first thing the vet did was to spray Lily with disinfectant - a diluted bleach solution. Fortunately, as you can see, she is already blonde. After the exam - Lily's back is injured, there are no bite wounds, nothing is broken but she is clearly in pain - she gave Lily two shots (for pain and for inflammation) and then disinfected her again, disinfected her carrier, wiped down the handle again, and met me at the back door to return the cat.
Have I mentioned I love my vet? When her office is open in normal times, it's a menagerie of wandering animals - half blind cats, a dog missing a leg, a turtle whose beak is broken, a weird Siamese with some kind of skin problem. These aren't patients - just animals the vet has taken in. They wander around; occasionally the cats hang out on the desk.
There has never been a time this vet wasn't available to us, and when it was time to put our last cat down, she came to our house to do it. Maddy was put to sleep while she was lying in Mike's lap. Our vet carried her away in her favorite cat bed. ("Why should her last moments be in a place that is stressful for her?" the vet said, about her house call.)
To me, our vet is another health care hero. I'm so grateful to her.
That said, Lily is still cowering under the bed. I think we need to give her time. Which we have.