The Things We Do For Our Pets

Have you given thanks for your pets lately?

Yesterday’s To-Do list included a lot of routine stuff – get groceries, do laundry, squeeze cat. The things we do for our pets…

So maybe your cat doesn’t need squeezing, but I bet she has you doing other special stuff such as hoarding cardboard boxes that are just the right fit for her to play in or driving miles out of your way to buy the only flavour of food she’ll eat this week. You who hates to see more than one pair of shoes in the hallway, don’t you litter the livingroom with squeaky toys for your little doggie companions?
How many cat owners out there have forgotten what it means to sleep-in? Kitty alarm clocks go off early, it seems their batteries never run down and they have not heard of daylight savings time. It’s breakfast time right here, right now, no matter what the stupid sun is doing.

And what about all that fur? We battle it with vacuums, brushes and Furminators, but mostly we live with it, offering sticky lint rollers to departing guests. Even some normally fastidious people can overlook the cloud of hair left in the wake of their favourite four-footed friends.

Pets affect our travel plans. We might patronize only pet-friendly hotels or buy RVs so the furries can ride right along. Many of us just choose to stay home working on our To-Do lists and looking for cardboard boxes.

Pets affect our vehicle choices. Although the kids have moved out, we still need six seats in the car.

Pets affect our budgets. According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, dog ownership costs about $2000 a year. Cats ring in at $1500 annually. I can believe it. Even as a veterinarian, the annual bill for my two large breed dogs is about $4500.

Pets affect our lifestyles. Did you know there are hundreds of diabetic dogs and cats in this area whose owners faithfully provide injections of insulin on schedule, twice a day – for years? There are households like little Palo’s where the furniture was not moved an inch in the last years the dog was alive for fear he’d run into it. Palo was blinded by glaucoma and his family not only paid for surgery and treated him constantly with eyedrops, towards the end of his life, they got him a little buddy as a seeing-eye dog!

Back to my own To-Do list – the cat that needs squeezing is our clinic’s mascot Clinck who was left with nerve damage following a car accident. Twice a day for years we’ve been helping him pee and he’s been mostly putting up with it along with the diapers he wears. Otherwise he’s a normal cat, demanding attention, hating any disruption in routine, eating my plants and getting onto or into everything he shouldn’t, especially if it is shaped like a box.

It was those two little words on the reminder – “squeeze cat” – that made me pause to marvel at all the hassles, costs, and lost-opportunities that seem such a small price to pay for head butts and waggy tails.

Dr. Fiona Gilchrist
Hillcrest Animal Hospital – Trenton/Quinte West, Ontario
October 2013