On those busy days in the veterinary clinic when every staff member is racing around the clinic trying to get everything done that seems to be needed instantly, we often glance longingly at the small furry creature curled up in her favorite spot in the sun, oblivious to the chaos rushing around her, and think, “Oh to be a clinic cat!”
Meet Tibby. She is a petite calico cat who came to Mission Ridge Animal Hospital 8 years ago as a kitten with a broken leg. She came too close to the farm dog’s food dish and quickly paid for her mistake. Her owner was unwilling to treat her, so Dr Boisvert took her in and fixed her leg. She has been here ever since.
Tibby’s day consists of an almost flexible routine. In the morning when the first staff member walks in the door she puts on a show like she’s never eaten a meal in her life! A small meal of canned food is all it takes for her to forget you exist and you can be on your merry way. For the rest of the day you can often find her on top of the blood test machine where it is nice and warm and she can keep an eye on the action between naps. It is also in close proximity to the sink where hours of fun can be had to catch that elusive drip. Staff members have trained extensively to learn how to produce the perfectly timed drip: slow enough to build anticipation, and fast enough so she doesn’t lose interest. Many a co-worker has walked away discouraged by their failure. Not all of the staff have mastered this skill yet.
There comes a time in Tibby’s day when she takes a break from napping. It usually falls around the lunch hour when business has slowed down and she knows someone is available to play. It usually begins when I round the corner into the pharmacy area and see Tibby standing there: ears flat against her head, back arched like a Halloween cat, staring and taunting me. All it takes is for me to widen my eyes and raise my arms and she takes off! The chase is on! We usually don’t go far before she is hiding behind an open door in an exam room, peering through the spaces between the hinges. A well placed bunnyhug (Hoodie!) string or wand toy has her little white paws jutting out to catch them. Sliding around on the leather chairs is also great fun as she leaps and flips and does whatever it takes to defeat that toy!
Tibby often gets a bad rap as a clinic cat because of her sassy calico attitude. Those who have met Tibby know that she doesn’t take kindly to just anyone. Sitting high on the reception desk during the day she may give you a firm swat if you try to pet her. She feels superior to you in her own cat way as if to say, “how dare you touch me you lowly human!” Some have suggested that she would have a British accent if she could speak, like the royalty she (and likely all cats) thinks she is. Not many see her soft or playful side, which she often exhibits among her special people. I hope you get the chance to meet Tibby if you haven’t already, but try not to take it personally if the meeting is less than friendly. Some of us take longer than others to warm up to strangers.