Leia lives an uneventful life for a couple of years. At least relative to health issues, it is uneventful. She visits our office yearly, receiving updates to her vaccinations as her lifestyle necessitates. Parasite prevention is dispensed regularly, and she passes from young adult cat to full-fledged adult, and eventually she reaches middle age.
Living as an indoor cat, she has a much less risky lifestyle than your average alley cat or farm cat. It’s the good life.
Two more trips, this time to foreign soil, highlight her years. No complications occur.
Until a warm summer day in Leia’s seventh year thrusts her into the local news. I am unaware of her pending local celebrity when I see her for bite wounds. Bite wounds are a common trauma for cats that frequent outdoors, or that live with a housemate with whom disagreements arise. But given Leia’s lifestyle, I’m curious about her assailant’s identity. When I walk into the exam room, I know immediately.
Leia has had a run-in with a skunk. The odor is unmistakable. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Her wounds aren’t devastating, but there is concern. Most skunks don’t frequent areas where domesticated animals congregate. In Leia’s case, the skunk actually broke into her screened-in back porch. Normal skunks don’t do that. The behavior sounds almost downright ... mad.
And there’s the concern. While an average skunk shouldn’t do that, a rabid one might. We are obligated to report the bites to the local authorities, as the skunk may represent a public health threat. A newspaper story results.
Long story short, a lot of innocent skunks get killed. Maybe the offender, as well, but I doubt the act was a crowd effort. None are found to be rabid.
It turns out that Leia’s neighbor likes skunks, and has been feeding a wild family from her own back porch. Skunks love cat food. But when she didn’t keep up their desired rations, they showed their emboldened spirit, and began to scavenge. Friction with Leia ensued.
Luckily, she recovered uneventfully. The dozen exterminated skunks did not fare as well.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.