Yesterday we went to a new vet, since our old vet - who we dearly loved - moved out of state. The new vet came recommended by friends, so we packed up the cat, got a grip, came equipped, grabbed our proton packs off our backs...
No, sorry, that's the Ghostbusters rap.
Um, so we brought our cat Lily to the new vet.
Inside the little building we were hit with a wall of stinky animal smell, and greeted by various fish tanks and cages and dilapidated furniture. It was a very...lived in...look. The ladies greeting us were sweet, though, and quickly dispensed with paperwork and ushered us into an examination room.
Here the smell was so overwhelming we nearly turned around and left. Only a concern for Lily's health (she's been losing weight recently) kept us waiting and breathing through our mouths. In the room was a large tank, half-filled with water, with several turtles in it. You could barely see the rest of the counter for the clutter of bottles, cleaning supplies, ads for flea medication, plastic heart models, and assorted flotsam. It looked like someone was planning a garage sale in there, right down to the old antique couch shoved up against one wall.
While I paced the three square feet we were afforded between the exam table and couch, John peeked through the window of the door we'd just come through.
"Jen," he said, "You've got to see this."
"Just look through here."
Craning my neck to see through the high window, all I could see were stacks of wire cages in the hallway outside.
"What am I looking at?"
Now on tiptoes, I craned further.
"Is that a...raccoon?"
"Snuggling with a rabbit?"
At this point the doctor arrived. He had the congenial look of a brilliant yet absent-minded professor, right down to the neat white beard and tiny spectacles. His hands bore several livid scratches, and there were at least two obvious blood stains on his button-down dress shirt.
He went straight to Lily, exclaiming over how pretty she was, and it was immediately apparent that this was a man who, quite simply, loves animals. I've never seen my cat so at ease with a vet before, and she readily sat through his gentle prodding and poking and checking her teeth and eyes. When he was done, he continued petting her while he talked with us.
After going over her case pretty thoroughly, the doctor shoved over some of the flotsam on the counter, hopped up to take a seat, and chatted with us about the animals in the building. Some are being boarded, but the rest are rescues that he hasn't the heart to turn away.
John brought up the raccoon.
"She was dropped off on the doorstep in a Cheerios box when she was only a few days old," the vet said.
"And she likes...rabbits?"
"Oh, well, she kept crawling away from the heating element, and she needed to stay warm, so I said, well, just throw her in with the bunny!"
(This is the statement that cracked us up. "Hey, just throw her in with the bunny!" Ok, so maybe you had to be there.)
The cage with the rabbit and raccoon was just a few feet away from the check-out counter, so as we were walking out with the vet John asked - rather incredulously - something like, "Can you pet her?"
"Oh, yeah!" was the reply, and the next thing I knew I had a baby raccoon thrust in my face, all questing fingers and beady little eyes and adorable little ears and...
Ok. So maybe I fell a *little* in love. You can't prove it.
The little thing immediately grabbed first my hand, and then my sunglasses. As John would later remark, it's really strange to interact with an animal who has hands. After we wrested my sunglasses out of her grasp, she seized my arm in both paws and began licking it enthusiastically while I scratched behind her ears. I'm not sure how old she was, but she was about the same size as Lily, so...8 or 10 pounds? She wasn't soft - more bristly like a dog - but her little hands! And her wriggly little nose! Ack! So cute.
So, enter my dilemma: we need to keep an eye on Lily's weight, which means monthly check-ins. So, do we go back to a vet who clearly loves animals, comes highly recommended, seems to know his job well, but has an office building that would make Niecy Nash run screaming?
Or do we cave and go to some big impersonal chain store clinic? (Ug.)
And if we do go back, how will I know I'm not just there to visit the raccoon?
(In the car later I bemoaned the fact that I didn't have John take a picture. Why do I never think of these things at the time?! Well, if we do go back, I promise I'll get one.)
Since I don't have a picture of me being mauled by a baby raccoon (wouldn't that be a fun photo series? "Jen being mauled by exotic animals." Hey, I've already got the flamingo!), here's one of Lily and Tonks:
If looks could kill, right? And at this rate we'll have to rename Tonks Jabba. Heh. How *do* you feed two cats when one's too fat and one's too thin, anyway?
Oh, and for my fellow animal lovers who might be concerned: as far as we know, Lily is fine. Her blood work looks good, and apparently her losing two pounds has put her at her ideal healthy weight - although eight pounds seems insanely thin to us, what with Tonks clocking in at a chunky fourteen pounds. If Lily loses any more, though, we'll have to do more tests.
UPDATE: Part 2 with baby raccoon pics here.
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