Most patients that undergo a routine dental cleaning go home the same day. The classic pattern is: fast overnight, drop off first thing in the morning, dental, recovery period, go home. Everything is done in less than 12 hours. But again, Leia is exceptional.
When I call her owner in the afternoon to declare Leia ready to go home, I reach a frantic human. It turns out that Leia’s (human) grandfather has suffered a stroke, and Leia’s (human) mom needs to visit Florida to help out. I offer my best wishes and we agree to board Leia as long as needed. It turns out that time frame stretches into a full month.
Luckily for Leia, she’s a middle-aged, fully vaccinated cat. Lounging around in the boarding area of a veterinary hospital isn’t as risky as hanging out with quarantined sick animals, but it can still be stressful. Stressed systems are classically susceptible to illness. Many stressed cats have flare-ups of feline herpesviral infections. Eyes get goopy. Snotty noses arise. Secondary bacterial infections can be disastrous.
But not Leia. She makes herself at home and lives it up. This is where she entered the world, after all. Then comes her time to check out. Her mom comes in with arms full of cupcakes and donuts. A thank-you card addressed to us all is included, but she wants to make sure she lets us know in person: Leia and her family are moving.
Due to ongoing health problems for her father, Leia’s owner is moving permanently in order to assist in his care. It’s a huge upheaval for the entire family, and my feelings are minimally important in the big picture, but I still appreciate the sentiment. I offer a handout on moving with a cat, and wish Leia’s mom good luck.
One last wobbly head-butt and Leia is gone.
This is my final column for The Times. Sharing information and stories with you, the readers, has been an honor. Remember, preventive care is much cheaper than involved treatment, and all good medicine is based on science. Thank you.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.