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Matthew Sisk: Leia's true personality comes out
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Leia finally visits me for a routine examination and vaccination.

This is, of course, not her habit. She’s an outlier.

Her mother died before she was born. Her brain was attacked before it was fully formed, leaving her wobbly.

She tested positive for a disease whose name strikes fear into the hearts of humans, although it shouldn’t. Then again, she tested negative for that later. She’s ... unique.

So I’m relieved to examine her and find nothing abnormal, save her intention tremors. These are the shaking movements she experiences when attempting small muscle functions.

Her fecal check for parasites is negative as well. She’s a winner and exactly how I want her to be.

And today, she shows me something new: her personality. During the past few weeks, Leia has taught her owners a trick. They tell me the secret.

I say her name, and she looks at me. I lean down and tap my finger on my forehead. Then Leia leaps up on her back feet and head-butts me before turning her cheek and marking me as she slides down the side of my face.

Cats have scent glands in their cheeks for such friendly behavior. Luckily, her owners warned me to remove my glasses.

Then I hurt Leia’s feelings. She receives her second and final kitten combination vaccine under the skin on the outside edge of her right elbow. Her first yearly rabies vaccine is administered under the skin on the outside of her right knee.

These specific locations are used in cat vaccines. It help if in the future, the cat develops a reaction (including cancer) at one of the sites, then we may have a better idea of which vaccine might be involved.

Leia has not received a vaccine for Feline Leukemia because she is not at risk for the disease. Not that she couldn’t get the disease, just her lifestyle as an indoor-only, one-cat household doesn’t put her at risk.

Leia is dispensed preventive medication for internal and external parasites.

We schedule her spay in approximately two months.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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