Featured List

Saturday Afternoon at the Wild Kingdom

Sunday, June 26, 2011

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."

"What?"

"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?"

"Look down."

Now on tiptoes, I craned further.

"Is that a...raccoon?"

"Yep."

"Snuggling with a rabbit?"

"Uh-huh."

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.

Posted by Jen at 1:33 PM Labels:

160 comments:

  1. i would keep going to the vet that loves anomals... and if you have free time, maybe ask to volunteer an hour or two a week if you have time and help clean cages.... cant tell you how much a good vet, that honestly cares about animals means to me

    ReplyDelete
  2. i too have one fat cat and one thin cat, and we find we have to lock the fat one in the bathroom so he can eat more. but he never does! he seems to be doing okay. also, we keep the cat food on top of the dryer, so if the fat one can't jump up there, she can't eat. a self policing action!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The vet office we took our dog to was like that, smelled terrible and looked like a dump, but the vets and people were so nice, that we kept going back. I almost wonder if it was the fact that they were so busy with the animals all of the time, they didn't have extra time to clean?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jen - do NOT go to the big box store vet...our eldest cat went to one for YEARS & about 6 years ago began losing a pound a year. They never did thyroid testing on him, but once he lost half his body weight they became "concerned", of course each year they dismissed my concerns when I would bring it up. Then wanted us to fork out $125 for a feline leukemia test...when they'd vaccinated him for that all along. Combine that with the staff who could only follow the corporations default instructions on their computers (which the vet had said we were not going to follow b/c of high liver & kidney levels) and the ignoring of various other symptoms which should've clued he had an over-active thyroid.
    We found a fabulous local cat-only vet who did more testing and truly looked out for his needs. We only had him two more years, but at least he was in better care and made it to 18.5 yrs. As unappealing the stench is at the dr. doolittle vet is, the level of care you described and the fact your cat was relaxed with him is HUGE! Pluuus, a baby raccoon office mascot? *swoon!*

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aw Lily and Tonks are gorgeous! I'd say definitely go back to the crazy vet if you're comfortable with how he treated your pet.

    I moved house and so registered my rabbit Barbarella (who alas doesn't have a raccoon as a wee pal) with a new local vet. I went for the initial check up and while he was pleasant and seemed efficient and organised, he was also really unsure when handling Babs. She hates being lifted (rabbits usually do) so he refused to trim her claws or do anything because he couldn't turn her upside down without her struggling (and turning them upside down is no longer a recommended practice for handling rabbits anyway).

    I ended up not going back and now just travel further across the city to take her to her original vet. I took her in to get spayed and immediately knew I'd made the right decision. The vet there was a slightly eccentric lady but she was so confident in handling Babs and very good at putting me and my bunny at ease. As I left the practice she was taking Barbarella to the back room and I could hear her talking away to her saying, "Now don't worry, your mummy will be back tomorrow and I'll look after you. Ok you're not talking to me. Oh, I see, you don't care..."

    It both made me giggle and reassured me that it was worth the fact I had to get a taxi instead of walking to a local practice because I knew she was in the hands of someone who really loved taking care of her! Go with your instinct!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I vote for Doc Brown-Doolittle!

    If Lily is comfortable with him, that's all you need. My vet is in serious need of a good soak and dunk but oh, how she loves our cat, Georgianna Milton. Our cat hates everyone (she generally tries to rip apart anyone who touches her). But when it comes to the vet, she actually allows this woman to touch her.

    Here's a tip -- rub some yummy essential oil under your nose before you walk through the door and look only at the cute animals, not the debris.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm definately on the Team Baby-Raccoon-Vet. A vet who genuininely cares about animals, AND knows what they're doing, is a hard find. If you're truly concerned, just look at the other animals/people going in and out. That will tell you more about the place than any smell or appearance. My only concern would be if the areas your animals come into contact with are highly unsanitary.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I vote for the vet who clearly loves the animals - mostly because Lily was so comfortable ... getting to see the raccoon is just a bonus!
    And yes - I know what you mean - we have four cats - one is a cotton ball, one is a butter ball, the other two are just right. How to feed them? I like darla's suggestion - put the food up where the butter ball can't get to it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh my goodness that vet sounds perfect, lol. I have the same fat-and-skinny cat issue so if you find a solution let me know! I love raccoons, I wish I *could* have seen that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. While it sounds like the vet's office was a mess, it sounds like the vet himself was anything but. So, I recommend sticking with a man who knows and cares about animals.

    However, don't get too attached to the raccoon. Wild animals are difficult at best, even raised from infancy. Female raccoons, however, are known for becoming incredibly mean and feral as they mature. Yes, they are absolutely adorable, but they don't mature into pets well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Go to the vet with the raccoon - he obviously CARES about the animals, and as long as the mess doesn't become a health hazard for the animals, what's the issue?

    ReplyDelete
  12. ::sigh:: I remember my encounter with a baby raccoon. I was volunteering with a vet one year when I was a teen, and a gal who did DOW rescue was bringing in a fawn to get checked out when she got a call that a mama raccoon had been hit by a car and the baby was hanging out nearby. She picked up the baby on her way in and asked me to hold it while she dealt with the deer.

    I remember that the baby let me tickle her little paws, then she crawled up to my shoulder, nuzzled into my hair, and purred like a kitten. ::sigh::

    (I'd stick with the stinky vet that loves animals, for what it's worth!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Keep this vet. And NEVER go to the big chain store vets! Not only do they charge out their rears, there's a reason they're working at a chain store instead of their own offices or with other vets....

    ReplyDelete
  14. I vote for the vet that loves animals. I have never...never...been to a chain vet and I never will. Growing up in the midwest, we had to take our pets on a 45 minute drive to a clinic that was so very filthy. Yet that vet took very loving care of our pets. Now living in the east, I still travel a bit further to a clinic that is a bit run-down, but the doctor is so wonderful with my 3 furs. Plus...racoons that snuggle with bunnies? It's a no brainer!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A vet who can keep your cat relaxed is a true gift. I had a cat who would go INSANE at the vet, and when I found one who was so gentle that my cat would just sit there quietly and let him do whatever he wanted to him, I stayed with him. I wouldn't have cared WHAT his place smelled like -- although I do agree with Anon. who suggested offering to go an hour or two a week to help clean cages. Plus, bonus, that gets you more raccoon time! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'd definitely continue to go to the vet who loves animals. He might have a horrifically messy/dirty office, but at least you know he's there for the animals. I'd definitely trust a doctor like that over one who charges $300 just to look at your pet. This way you know he has your cat's best interest at heart.

    I have 2 cats, myself. One is 9 years old, and the other is 2 1/2, and they're both about 14 pounds each, lol. The weird thing is, I've never overfed them, they're just chubby babies, but I love them to death. However, now, I want a baby raccoon, cause the "having an animal with hands" thing sounds so freakin' awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I would definitely pick the vet that loves, not just animals, but cats. I have three cats and the doctor that was recommended to me was WONDERFUL with them. A couple of other visits I saw some of the other vets in his office. They acted like they were afraid of my cats, who were cringing on the table trembling. Needless to say, I would only see my preferred doctor after that. He was so sweet, he even called to offer condolences when my oldest cat passed away. Sadly, he has now retired and I am back to looking for a new vet.
    Good luck with your choice and prayers for Lily.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Go with the smelly vet. Ours is a rural vet-well, his office isn't really smelly, but it's cluttered and he usually has cow stuff on his jeans, or shirt, or both. My animals love him. And we love him. I could tell you the horror stories of the days we used a local, hoity-toity office vet, but it would be a long, long post, so I'll just tell about the good, smelly vet.

    Our rescue had to have heartworm treatment, which involved an overnight stay. With heartworm treatment, they have to be kept completely calm and can't get excited. PD is terrified of storms--seriously terrified. I was going to postpone the treatment because there were some bad storms predicted, but they convinced me to go ahead, they would sedate him or something. Do you know what Doc did? When he saw that the storm was going to hit, he got out of bed, drove to the clinic and sat in the floor with PD to keep him calm. Even though it is a 45 minute drive from our house, no other vet will ever touch my animals if I can help it!!!

    He has a parrot-uncaged-- in his back examining room. And a dog.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Go to the one you know loves his job. It makes a huge difference in the end. My vets office is the same way. The vet is 82 years old and is just NOW phasing himself out to be an administrator of the practice. The practice itself is run out of a house built in 1919 that was converted. They know us by name (my mother and I, between the two of us have brought well over 50... yes, FIFTY... cats to their practice, not to mention dogs. My mom rescues). It makes all the difference in the world. Ask Lily, she'll tell you which one she prefers. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. My cat used to be overweight (according to the vet) but then recently it seemed like she was always hungry but was losing weight and it turned out that she has a thyroid condition. So make sure they check for that.

    And you should go to the person who makes your cat at ease. Drs. visits stress everyone out.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My sister's boyfriend has a hamster called Jabba! She's so cute and fat :) I'd go back there if I were you, actually, for a minute there I thought you were going to say you ended up taking the raccoon home with you!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, the teeny tiny hands!
    This is one reason I have pet rats...those teeny tiny human like hands that will take food out of your hands, or move something that gets in their way or, *sigh* wrap around your finger when they are snuggled in your arms!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree with the commenter who said stay away from the Big Box Chains. We had a stray bring one of her babies to us and leave it on our front mat. She did well for a week or two, but then had bad, um, tummy issues and lost a lot of weight. We took her to the big chain and they gave her meds for worms and sent us home. A day later she stopped eating and drinking and I force bed her kitten formula and water over night. We took her to our regular vet the next day on an emergency visit (we couldn't get an appointment with him that week for the kitten-hence the big box chain). Turns out she had some kind of intestinal parasite and even with the meds they gave us we were told she'd have a 50% chance of surviving. And she did. And we adore all five pounds of her. (She won't gain any more weight due to the scarring on her intestines from the parasite.) But, she's happy, healthy and ours to love. And our regular vet? Sounds a lot like the one you were recommended. His office stinks, is old, has countertops for benches in the waiting room, concrete floors and the Doc is always disheveled. Yet, he radiates kindness with the animals. Give the new Doc a chance, please.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I always go to homey vets - seems like they are the ones doing it for love.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Our cats are drastically different in size, so we took a large box, like a printer box, and cut a hole just big enough for the little cat to get into in one corner, and put in it a dry food bowl and extra wet food, and then fed the fat cat a measured amount out in the open every day.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh, I would so keep Dr. Doolittle. In theory it's great if you can find one that's middle road between a little eccentric and chain store...but if you can't? I go for a little eccentric every time.

    As for the raccoon...oh, raccoons. So cute when little...such menaces as they get older. My mom did wildlife rehab when I was a kid. We lived on a forest preserve, dad was a forest ranger, mom was a naturalist. We weren't nearly as crunchy as you might think---but there were almost always ducks in the bathtub or birds of prey in the spare room.

    Anyway, enter Smoke. Baby raccoon orphaned in a barn fire. Cute as the dickens when just a few weeks old. I had the fantastic job of taking him on daily walks. Ever walked something on a leash when it can go up a tree---any tree--- at will? Yeah. Suddenly makes a leash tangled around your legs seem easy.

    He was obnoxious, but generally endearing. He also had a bad habit of tormenting the resident screech owl. Raccoons will eat small owls if they get the opportunity. And while Smoke did not seem to know this and was caged well enough it wasn't an issue, the screech owl was well aware of raccoon snacking habits and became a little avian houdini. We were never able to get the bird to stay in his cage again and he took up living on the curtain rods.

    We kept Smoke until we found an animal sanctuary that didn't laugh at us when we requested space for a raccoon. Thank goodness they took him when they did. Because although his habit of washing EVERYTHING in the dog's dish was hilarious, he had become a little, hairy, biting ninja. Jumping out at you while you reclined on the couch, taking a nibble from an appendage and running away.

    I can almost guarantee you that the next time you see that raccoon, he will still be cute, but not nearly as sweet. You saw him at a good time and maybe the vet will have something new for you to play with!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Jen,
    As a member of the behind-the-scenes team at a veterinary office I need to tell you - stench or no stench, a good, caring doctor is a rarity and a treasure. If you are confident in his care, and he is knowledgeable and kind, don't give that up. I agree with another commenter that you could volunteer your services to help clean, or simply make a careful and kind statement to the office - anonymously if you want- about the smell. Trust me, they want you to be a happy client because a happy client comes back and a happy client recommends your office to their friends!

    ReplyDelete
  28. As a vet and self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, I know how special it is when I have a client that is happy with my services and how I handled their pet. I try to do a lot of exams on cats and puppies on my lap. I spend a lot of time cuddling animals too! I'm pretty sure every dog in our practice has throughly licked my face!
    Anyway, it's great when you can make an animal feel comfortable but as you mentioned this guy had several scratches so please realize that when the vet has a tech hold your animal, scruff your cat or muzzle your dog, it's for the animals protection as much as their own. I have a handful of dogs that are known biters that have become very comfortable, even friendly with me...but a muzzle isn't far away if its not already on them. My hands are my most used tool. I can't afford to take risks. A muzzle or firm restraint isn't a failure on anyone's part. It's safety for all.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would definitely recommend keeping with the vet that loves animals. I think that makes all the difference in the world to a pet being brought somewhere they don't know, that has a thousand different smells that they can't identify, and being thrust into the hands of people they don't know. The pets can definitely sense that in a person.

    Also to your feeding question. You really need to moderate -how much- the cat is eating, don't just toss some in a bowl for them and leave it there all day (That would be like tossing us in a buffet with no time limit haha). I have to separate my two cats when eating (one is in the living room, the other shut up in the second bedroom), they each get a little less than 1/4 cup of food twice a day, and if they don't finish in about twenty-thirty minutes then they'll just have to wait until the next time to eat c: I would maybe also recommend switching your chunky-monkey one to a weight control type food if she's really bad. The last thing you want is to end up with a cat who has diabetes and needs insulin shots every day, that's hard enough on a human who understands the concept behind them, but to a cat you're just poking them with a needle and they don't know why.

    And I'm not saying you feed them a mountain of food everyday or anything, just giving some advice x: One of my cats probably -would- weigh a hundred pounds because he likes to eat, but the other just eats what he needs, cats are so funny sometimes.

    And raccoon? HOW CUTE OMG. c:

    ReplyDelete
  30. Definitely Dr. Doolittle. Who cares if the practice is a little wacky? If he loves animals, that's the important part.

    Also, I must laugh at Tonks being chunky at 14. I just weighed mine for curiosity (using the time honored "me on the scale then me and wiggly cat on the scale" method) and mine are 14 and 18 pounds. And the 18 lb cat isn't overweight. He's just huge.

    ReplyDelete
  31. So are you convinced yet as to who we think you should see for your vet? Our male cat has 3 red stars on his chart at the vet which is supposed to mean that he's a biter and requires additional help for shots and other treatment. Turns out our vet wasn't the one who had seen him and the vet who had seen him was filling in and left the practice soon after. I was never sure if that was their choice to leave or if they were "asked" to leave. The cat's been no trouble since.

    Baby raccoons are very cute - and can be very hard on cats! My friend had a baby raccoon she rescued who would eat the cat's food from his bowl. The cat would get mad and come hiss and take a swing at the raccoon. Since the raccoon has hands, it would grab the cat by the scruff of the neck and then hit it on the head - WHAM, WHAM, WHAM. When the raccoon let go, the cat would just sit there, shaking it's head and trying to get it's vision straightened out again. Hilarious to watch but probably not good for the poor cat! She had to release the raccoon to the wild once it was old enough.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Our cat feeding solution:
    Both cats get food at the same time, but in different rooms. Fat cat doesn't get to go into the other room until the other cat leaves (so not to bother her away from the food)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have the same problem with my two cats. Mookie Jackson, black persian, is very good about eating right. Bruce, black mut cat, is gargantuan.

    I have an idea for a food bowl that has two food chambers. The chambers would have little covers that would only open if activated. Kind of like garage door action. The two chambers would each have a matching collar that would only trigger that cat's side. I just don't have any idea on how to accomplish this. It could even be as simple as using magnets, I don't know.

    I wish my grandpa was still alive. He invented so many things, I'm sure he could've helped me. He could've at least been kind enough to pass down some genius my way so I would know how to make it myself! LOL. :))

    p.s. I'd find another vet. I'm sure there is one with a decent office and isn't impersonal. I just wouldn't be able to handle that kind of environment, even if they had a raccoon. That's my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I say stay with this one. A note on the smell, if they are keeping a lot and a large amount of fresh water fish tanks, with turtles and local fish species it will smell if they are not right on top of keeping the tanks clean, and even if they are, there will be a slight smell. We had them where I went to school and cleaned them twice a week while we were using them in the spring semesters. They always smelled like an over ripe pond :-p

    ReplyDelete
  35. About feeding the cats. My big fat male runs any other cat we have away from the food so we have to be creative. If you are free feeding, stop. If you can't stop, then confine the skinny cat with her high calorie food. Put out the portion of low cal food for the fattie. You can also buy some high calorie supplement paste and smear it on her paw or nose everyday. Now if I could only get someone to come over and hide food from ME!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I now have that "Smelly Cat" song from Friends going thru my head. Just change it to Smelly Vet and you'll see what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Your cats are so lovely. :D I'd say that your new vet sounds brilliant, and if you've got nothing to lose by sticking with them, it might be the best option.

    I am SO jealous over the raccoon-interaction, though. I have many raccoon friends who come to my deck every night (and bring their babies), but I'm wary of disease - and they are wild animals - so I can't snuggle with them or anything. D: It is so, so tempting. PICTURES PLEASE. C:

    ReplyDelete
  38. If you and your kitty are uncomfortable with this vet, by all means find another one, but PLEASE don't go to the big chain store vets. My kitty did this weird thing where she'd crouch down and make a distressed growling noise and we took her to the chain vet. They took blood and ex-rays, and said she had arthritis. She started losing weight and we took her back, and after spending over $500 they still insisted it was arthritis. When we took her to a different (non-chain) vet and found out she had intestinal cancer it was too late and we lost her. Over a year later, after phone calls, letters and e-mails, I STILL can't get that big chain vet to stop sending me reminders for her yearly shots.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am going with the consensus and say stay with the vet who makes Lily at ease. I also agree with the see if you can volunteer to help with clutter.

    I have a similar situation with my cats and eating. George was a stray and eats all his food at once and very quickly. Grover is a grazer when he eats. When I first got my guys, I had to stay in the kitchen and watch George since he would finish his food and then try to move on to Grover's.

    I am now to the point where I don't need to watch over George in the same room and he knows to leave Grover's dish alone. I give Grover a minimum of a half hour to eat and then I put the food away. This has worked well for me for the 4 years I've had my guys.

    I did try putting Grover's food on a counter since George typically doesn't jump up on things. Food won over the dislike of high places, so my alternate solution is no longer.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Stay with the kooky animal-loving vet. You obviously can tell he loves his job, and if Lily's so comfortable with him, it's worth the unexpected atmosphere.

    And if you wanna here about a fat cat, lemme tell you. A few months ago, my mom took over caring a family friend's cat after she passed away unexpectedly. Vader is huge--29 lbs. I met him last weekend when I went home, and I had to use both arms if I wanted to hold him. He's sweet though and does let you pet him sometimes. But yeah, Tonks is just fine compared to Vader.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It ALMOST sounds like a hoarding situation to me... In which, yes, they love the animals, but they love them a little TOO much. As long as the living situation is not to the animals' detriment, then I don't see why you can't keep patronizing that vet. The suggestion to come help clean is a good one, or you could even discuss advertising for a volunteer or two. A lot of students love working with animals while they're out for the summer.

    Definitely do not go to a Banfield clinic, I have not heard good things about them.

    I rescued a cat recently that became the "alpha" over the cat I already had. My older girl (Sushi) has always just eaten what she needed, but the younger (Cassette) eats like it's her last meal almost every day, and she's not much of a jumper. I try to keep her active with the laser pointer and make sure that Sushi always gets her turn at the bowl. I have also heard that you can lock them in separate rooms during feeding time if you're worried your thinner cat isn't eating enough.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Glad Lily seems to be alright but also glad you are keeping an eye on it. My Beatrice was the overweight one at 18 pounds and she dropped a lot of weight when she became sick. She is on medication now and regained some and is now at 12.

    Our other cat was always the thin one at 10-11 pounds (looked thin on him) but has gained some with the excess food we have to feed Bea because of her illness.

    It is hard when some cats are just naturally prone to weight issues. Just keep doing what you have been doing--be attentive, feed them, and if you can sneak extra treats to the thin one, do it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Keep Dr. Raccoon. He knows his stuff, loves your kitty, and he can always hire a custodian. The other stuff can't be hired.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Jen, your kitties are adorable. :)

    I would stay with the vet who loves what he does. Sounds like a real-life Dr. Dolittle. :)

    Do not be tempted to see a vet at a big chain. In my experience, the vets who do this because they love the animals will give you the best care. Sad to say, the vets at big chains seem like they're just doing what they do for a paycheck.

    If your cat is happy and comfortable with the stinky place, then that's all that matters. :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'll add my vote to the overwhelming majority (unanimous?) group saying stay with the oddball doctor. I had a very.... vocal kittie who her vet wouldn't handle unless she was sedated. I finally couldn't deal with the ordeal it caused everytime she just needed shots and such. Finally, I took her to my old family vet who is in his 80's and has a very "no-frills" office. My little girl cat took one look at him and hissed and started to launch into her routine of ferocious fright, when the doctor just picked her up by the scruff of her neck and stared in her eyes. She melted into little happy mews and let him to anything he wanted to. She never was a problem again. You cannot put a price on someone who is truly gifted with animals. And like lots of gifted people, they often have other areas in which they are *not* so gifted.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Stay with this vet! He's a treasure and a half. You think 8 pounds seems tiny for Lily? I have two cats who weigh 11.5 pounds together. One is about 2 and the other is about 1.5 years old.

    ReplyDelete
  47. It must be something about kitties named Tonks--mine is around 16 pounds. I'd share a picture if the comments would let me.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love the sound of that vet - stick with him!

    As for the fat cat/thin cat problem, I've been dealing with that myself. My problem is a bit different, since the thin cat is at her ideal weight but inhales her food like it'll disappear any moment, and the fat one is WAY overweight but prefers to graze slowly over the course of a day. Managing food in my household involves separate dishes in separate rooms - and often I have to police fat cat's bowl to make sure only he eats from it! But my solution has been just that - separate bowls and strictly monitored feeding regimens. Thin cat is maintaining and fat cat is slowly losing weight.

    Keep an eye on the water dishes. The last time thin cat lost a bunch of weight she was also drinking a ton of water. Kitty diabetes is amazing in that it can go away, but awful in that no cat likes to get stuck with needles twice a day.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I might be the lone dissenter here, but is there another option besides chain vet and messy vet? I know my vet works in a private clinic where they are neurotic about cleanliness (to a crazy point, actually) but they are also completely comfortable handling my 'exotic' pets (parrots, rabbits) and know what they're doing.

    It's not a healthy environment if you can smell it that strongly. A vet clinic should be SUPER strict about cleaning cages because it's a place full of disease and the way to prevent that spreading is to clean. I'd even be a bit worried that Lily might be exposed to something there. The vet sounds great but the dirtiness worries me - what if you had to board Lily there at some point? If she has to recover from something, would you want her to recover in an unclean environment?

    This is an extreme example, but I work with an animal shelter and there are a lot of people who love animals and work great with animals, but then we find out their animals are living in unhygenic environments. I mean, I'm sloppy too but at a point, animals' health starts to suffer. It's important to have a vet that loves animals, but it's also important to have a vet that adheres to veterinary practice, like keeping their office clean.

    Anyway that's my $0.02! Hope Lily continues to do ok! She is gorgeous, btw :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. OH I forgot - a friend of mine had an obese cat and a skinny cat. The vet gave her strict instructions to raise the skinny one's weight and put the fat one on a diet. So she got a plastic storage bin and cut a hole in the side that was big enough for the skinny one and too small for the fat one. They placed the skinny cat's food in there and it worked perfectly! Although the fat one did try to get in once, got stuck and ended up running around the house with a box on his back. So it was also good entertainment!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I've got a friend who has two cats that are in the same situation as yours. Boris is pretty chubby and will eat until he pops, and Natosha (under a huge amount of fluff) is quite thin. I think they've got Boris on one of those food dispensers that only puts out a certain amount of food at certain times, and since Natosha isn't very assertive (and therefore used to miss out on food since Boris would eat hers as well), she gets her food put in a large dog crate so that Boris can't get in. I'm not sure if they let her into the crate or if she can get in on her own, but I'm thinking that rigging something up with one of those pet doors (you know, the ones with the corresponding collar with the sensor in it?) would be awesome.

    Also, ThinkGeek just listed a new product which looks interesting and might be useful for your larger cat - http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/pets/e96a/

    ReplyDelete
  52. I vote for the vet that loves animals. I take my kids to a pediatrician who adores them, despite the fact that his office is old and crowded and not at all updated. I'd rather be cared for by a person who loves us, than an impersonal chain any day.

    ReplyDelete
  53. The only thing that worries me is that we once had a vet like that. Most of the time he was great. I still remember the linoleum tile remnants in the waiting room were mismatched and gouged. However, when we had our last rescue fixed he offered to just drop her off after the office closed, since she'd be mostly awake and he'd be driving by our house. Thinking this was very sweet of him we said yes. He pulled up in front of our home in a well loved pickup truck. The bed of the truck had two large dogs in it. When he opened the cab door there were two more dogs, and our, very groggy and terrified of dogs, cat. The vet explained that she was still sleepy and didn't need to be crated for the car ride. I still have visions of her trying to escape but not being able to stand. We thanked him and he left to take the dogs home. We never went back. That cat did eventually learn to love a special needs dog we adopted, and after a very long life, passed away last year. I have a lot of happy memories of her, but not of the friendly but slightly eccentric vet.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Jen and John, I would always choose to go with the vet who clearly loves animals. You know that he will never steer you wrong or make a decision that is not in your pets' best interest, as opposed to the big chain vet places who are pressured to just make money. If that was the goofy vet's priority, then he would have a fancy office. I actually think his non-fancy office speaks highly of his priorities. Plus, what's wrong with a little absent minded professor vibe? Maybe he's just another geek at heart. :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. I may be the only one to say it, but don't go back.
    A medical facility should smell clean. Kennels (which may be smelly) should be separate from the visitor rooms.
    A vet that allows the public to handle a known rabies vector animal (raccoon) without taking any precautions should also be scrutinized. Clients should never be allowed to handle any animals under the clinic's care other than the ones they brought in. There are too many liability issues.
    He sounds like a great doctor with a horrible office manager. But the doctor is only one part of a team that is seeing to the overall health of your animal. If hospitalized, will the kennel workers provide good cleaning for your cat? Are the vet techs well trained, is the office staff keeping good records? If the answer is no to any of these, you should walk away and find another private clinic that can do it better.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm going to agree with Laura HP here. Find another solution. Whacky Vet may love animals, but there's no reason for a vetinary practice to be that dirty, and you could be exposing your pets to god knows what.

    And raccoons cannot and should not be tamed. If he hasn't passed the animal on to a certified wildlife rehab, you've just got an animal hoarder with a degree.

    ReplyDelete
  57. By all means keep an eye on her weight but it may not be anything bad. I've had two cats (both male) who lost weight every summer and gained it again in winter. Our vet said they gained when it was cold to help keep warm and then lost it again when they didn't need it any more.

    Just thought I'd point that out so you don't stress too much but trust your gut if you continue to think something is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  58. use the vet that loves animals. the chain store vets like petsmart vets price gouge you hard. i used to work at a private vet and we would have clients come over who were switching and their animals had had all kinds of vaccines and xrays and crap that were totally unnecessary but that vet said they were required just so they could do it and charge them for it. if he seems like he knows what he's doing, use him.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Oh boy. If you think 14 pounds is hefty, I should send you a picture of my cat. She's pushing 17 now, and she's super fluffy so she looks HUGE.

    ReplyDelete
  60. If those are really the only two options then I guess you'd have to go with the doctor who loves animals and knows his stuff, but I'd take the lack of cleanliness seriously. I wouldn't want to be treated in a filthy clinic and I wouldn't want my animals treated in one either. It seems unsanitary and I'd be worried about what the lack of organization says about the quality of record-keeping, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  61. My dog went through countless "normal" vets who couldn't help him with the problem he was having, their solutions ranged from chopping off his tail to putting him in a wheel chair. It was a crazy-animal loving vet who had a better report with animals than other people who figured out what was going on and put him on a daily medication regime. Now 6 years later, my dog is happy, has all his parts and can once again wag his tail. Go with the crazy animal loving vet.

    ReplyDelete
  62. One of my favorite parts of having my hamster, Penelope Pancakes, is that she has wee hands and can hold a piece of corn as she snacks on it. It is just too darned CUTE!

    ReplyDelete
  63. How adorable would that have been, the raccoon and rabbit? Awwww. Well, I guess you'd know better than me because you saw it an all. But I imagine it pretty sweet!
    Re: one cat too thin/one too fat... we have that problem too and the vet keeps telling us to feed them at the same time each day, in separate dishes, in separate rooms. We haven't done that yet, since from what we can see, the problem is that thin cat horks up her food as fast as she eats it and fat cat just laps it up and gets 2 meals. Disgusting. You can only prevent this when you are around when it happens. Which might be 60% of the time. Ugh. Yick.

    To answer your question, I'd go back to that vet.

    ReplyDelete
  64. it could well be this vet puts all his resources into helping the animals rather than interior decoration. He really seems to care about the animals in his care rather than what money he can make from their ills. i'd stick with him.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Mess wouldn't bother me that much- depends on the amount of mess- but smell is another matter. With animals smelly means unclean and that's not healthy. Although I (almost) want to go to him myself since he sounds so very "All Creatures Great and Small" I think I'd stay away.

    I took my cat Weasley to the vet last week for his annual and he's now pushing 17 pounds! The vet showed me that he puts on about 2 ounces every year so while he'd like for him to slim down he's not as concerned about it as he would be if it was a large change.

    Your cats are beautiful and I love their names. My daughter is named Lily, too. Sadly I named her after Harry Potter's mother and my cat after his best friend. My two other front runner names for her were Leia and Aeryn (does anyone have the geek cred to tell me where that name comes from?).

    ReplyDelete
  66. As long as he is doing a good job with your animals, keep going back to the vet with the smelly office. Baby racoons are just a bonus.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I don't recommend going to a "big box" vet -- but are those your only 2 options? You could always take Tonks for a routine checkup into another, non-big-box vet just to compare. But it sounds like you have a winner.
    You DO NOT want a raccoon! They grow very large and are way smarter than cats and way more destructive. They shouldn't be kept as pets, in my opinion. Love the picture of your cats!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Both my husband and I agree... Stick with this vet, but make it clear to him and his staff how the facilities upkeep makes you feel. Ask if donations of pine-sol etc might help.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Jen, I don't usually comment, but when I came across a sweepstakes for winning steampunk weapons I thought of you. You can check it out here but I must admit I haven't read ANY of the rules and am unfamiliar with the site so I can't vouch for them at all.

    Also, I'd vote for giving the Vet with the obvious love of animals another shot. Maybe you caught them at a really bad...month?

    Here's the link to the sweepstakes

    ReplyDelete
  70. you should go to which ever vet you feel like you get the best care from. I go to a "chain store" vet and LOVE him. He saved my dog from a rare and hard to diagnose condition... twice.

    as a pet owner and animal lover, you know if a vet is going to be good or not. go with your gut and stick with the guy you like!

    by-the-way, depending on which chain it is, our vet owns the franchise so he calls all the shots anyway, he just has the national name on his clinic.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Many of the big chain vet clinics give bonuses to employess who encourage the most vaccines! Stick with the stinky vet!

    ReplyDelete
  72. I say KEEP THE VET! It's so rare to find a good vet who actually treats your animals like a family member, rather than a patient to make money off of. You are lucky to have him! :)

    And good luck with your cat, I hope she feels better soon!

    Playing It Cooley

    ReplyDelete
  73. Raccoon vet for the win!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. When we were engaged, my husband had a raccon living in his family's cabin with him and he would gripe at me about how it kept him up at night. In our wedding day-after pics, you can see my friends and the raccoon.

    ReplyDelete
  75. When I was a kid my grandmother used to regale me with the (true) story of the raccoon they rescued. She was handfed, adored the kids, would go for walks and used to hide under the lounge room rug and play games with the dog. She ended up in a very nice rescue centre when they moved overseas.

    While the Dr Doolittle vet sounds like he has a very good bedside manner, the fact that the place wasn't clean would be a big black mark for me. I would be too worried about infection, plus to me, cages that aren't clean is a bad sign. I would keep looking around until you find a vet who is good with the cats but also responsible enough to keep the place clean.

    As for the feeding issue, feed the cats in separate rooms and only feed them twice a day instead of allowing them to graze. I know someone who does this with their cats and it works very well (unless someone leaves the door open).

    ReplyDelete
  76. definitely keep the animal-loving vet. also, Lily... great cat name :) That's what I named one of ours, the other is Grommit :) Complete opposite personalities, but they both seem to tolerate our vet.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I have three cats. Two are normal weight, and one is a little fatty. Shes 5 years old and 13 pounds...The problem is one of the normal sized cats became really skinny due to health problems (which have since been fixed) so there needed to be wet food out all the time to help her gain weight. Because of this the tubby cat got to eat more. But we have devised a plan that is working. We now put wet food out when the skinny cat is around, that way it is not always sitting around.

    P.s your cats are ADORABLE!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  78. resources went to care for an abandoned baby racoon....they SHOULD make some attempt to keep the place clean, but in the end, Id say stick with someone the pet is comfortable with and who sees the animal as a person not just another patient.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I think you're right to be a little wary of a vet's office with a lot of mess and odor. He is probably an excellent vet, but there are excellent vets who don't have those issues.

    If you are close to Orlando, you may want to check out Bay Hill Cat Hospital on Della Drive near Universal Studios. We had a great experience there with Dr. Delmain, who successfully diagnosed and treated one of our cats for a persistent infection. We were afraid Lillibelle would lose her foot and you can barely see the scars.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Oh definitely stay with the stinky vet! A vet who cares about your pets is worth more than anything. If you have to you can always put a bit of Vick/Mentholatum under your nose before you go into the vet and the strong mint smell will help to counteract the animal smell. But having a vet that you know has your pet's best interest at heart and is willing to look outside the box to help is pricelss.

    ReplyDelete
  81. I'd go back even if it does smell. That man sounds amazing. I liked one of the suggestions from the first comment too of maybe volunteering if you have time (that would also give you more baby raccoon time).

    ReplyDelete
  82. We have the fat cat/thin cat deliemma too...I just sneak the thin cat extra treats when the fat cat's not looking!

    Go back and get raccoon pic asap please! :)

    ReplyDelete
  83. You're so lucky to have found a vet who truly loves animals and isn't just in it for the money. Don't give up on him because the office smells. He sounds like a character - he'll provide lots of fun stories as a bonus!

    ReplyDelete
  84. I haven't read all the posts, but as a former vet tech, I STRONGLY suggest you find a different vet. He sounds like a wonderful vet, but the big thing here is the sanitary situation. Things like rabies, FIV, and FVRP, among other icky and fatal diseases, live outside the body for a few weeks, and if they have not cleaned the place well there is the risk that your cats can catch one of these diseases.

    Turtles and other reptiles carry salmonella, and cats and dogs are just as susceptible to it as we are. Them being in the same room is fine, but how do you know they aren't allowed to run around on the floor or on the counters when no patients are around?

    Plus, breathing in toxic urine/fecal smells is detrimental to any animal, human or otherwise. If either of your cats had to stay there overnight, there's a HUGE risk that they could get infection in their lungs from breathing in that toxic air.

    Also, raccoons are rabies carriers. There is no test for rabies that does not involve killing the animal, so there is no way that doctor could know if the raccoon is a carrier or not. He is taking a HUGE risk by having it there, and one that could lead to a lawsuit if a curious patient or owner was accidentally bitten by the raccoon.

    Overall, I think it's great the doctor is taking care of the raccoon and that he obviously cares about the animals' well being. But sometimes that's not enough, and he can actually CAUSE illnesses with his clinic not being sanitary.

    I go to a vet who has a small practice. She was a vet I met while I was working at an all-cat hospital--she came in to do some work while the owner/vet was out of town. She is awesome--great with the animals and has great prices. I also don't like going to pet store vets, only because they're not as personal. BUT, I also own 4 cats, 2 dogs and 3 horses, so I MAKE myself known and make sure that my vet always remembers me and knows that I have worked as a vet tech before. To me, your relationship with your vet is just as important as your relationship with your doctor, no matter where you go.

    What I would suggest is that you go to Angie's List or start asking friends who have pets who they go to. Or even hit the streets--go to some small vets around you and walk in and ask questions. Ask for some price sheets if they have them so you can budget for when you need to bring your pets in, or see if they offer payments or Care Credit for emergencies. Some vets are kind enough to give you a tour of the facilities. Look for clean cages, comfortable patients (sometimes they're not happy, but comfortable is acceptable), clean sinks, organized medicines, etc. Are cat litter boxes clean? Has any poo outside when they take the dogs out to go potty been cleaned up? Is the surgery room clean? Things like that. A good vet's office will make time to talk with a potential client as well, so if they are ignoring you or short with their answers, it might be a good ideal to look elsewhere. Or, if they are too busy and are flustered and obviously overworked, then your pet might not get the attention he/she needs.

    Anyway, I'm speaking from experience, so I hope some of that information could help. And your girls are gorgeous. We have already decided that if we get a large brown tabby male cat someday we're going to name him Hagrid! :)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Some of the best doctors and vet's are such because they pay more attention to the patient than their neatness. I say stick with him and wear perfume when you go in haha.

    Shinobi

    ReplyDelete
  86. stick to the vet who loves animals, chain vets want your money.

    Here's my dilemma I have 4 cats, 1 has to eat special food because of kidney problems, now the food wont hurt the other 3 to eat it but it costs more to feed her for a week than it did to feed all 4 for a month. How do you stop the other 3 from eating the food that's more expensive than gold>?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Teresa---Farscape! (I have a friend who has "Winona" and has seen all the shows....and if he ever gets married and has kids, wants to name his daughter Aeryn, lol.....I'm slowly watching them on Netflix, lol)

    ReplyDelete
  88. Love trups cleanliness any day.

    ReplyDelete
  89. I'm with the few that are saying "NO!" I think finding a new vet is the best idea. There is a big difference between simply cluttered and actually dirty. There is no good reason for a medical facility to smell like that...regardless of whether it's for animals or humans. Wouldn't you worry about your elderly relatives if the nursing home they were in smelled of urine and feces? A high level of care is a must when we're talking about our loved ones...human or non-human.

    Disease can run rampant in places like that...it's hard to keep up with certain things like Parvo and other infections...that's why *most* vet clinics are clean and pristine. A dirty clinic is nothing to ignore...regardless of bedside manner.

    I'm with the commenter that says it sounds like a hoarding situation...you can love animals and then you can LOVE animals...so much that you can't say no to anything. I can't believe that #1 he'd keep a raccoon without turning it over to a wildlife rehabber, so he can be released into the wild #2 I can't believe he just let you just hold a wild animal that can carry rabies and #3 I can't believe he would be so flippant about putting the raccoon in with a another species. While it might be "cute", it's really a bad idea to put two completely separate species in a cage together to stay for long periods of time. My cats and dogs and rabbits all love to hang out together, but they have the run of the house and can get away if they feel uncomfortable. My rats and gerbils were both small rodents, but I didn't put them in the same cage, because rats are omnivores and will kill/eat other creatures. My rabbits and guinea pigs were similar, but I didn't put them in together, because rabbits can kick and injure guinea pigs. It's just lazy and irresponsible...even if it comes across as cute.

    I always ask myself...would I want YOUR pets to live in that kind of environment? Dirty and smelly...but with people that love me? Nope...because I can find a vet that cleans and loves my dogs. I have a great clinic that I go to...it's a bit out of my way, and it's nothing fancy. But it's clean and friendly and they treat my animals well. It is possible to find all things.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Go with the vet that you feel most comfortable with! If the dude works in an office reminiscent of a garage sale but offers wonderful care and is genuinely interested in your pet...then so be it.

    I also fight the battle of the bulge with my cats. And dogs. And myself. I just started feeding everyone less. Yes, Frodo is a picker and will often let Boo Bear the Soccer Ball Cat eat most of his food, but I figure that eventually he will get hungry enough to finish off all of his food in one sitting. Frodo is looking fabulous. Boo Bear...well...I'll have to show you a picture sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  91. My husband & I ADORE our vet's office. They've known our cats since they were kittens, love them (they seriously want to KEEP them when we board them! They take FOREVER to bring the cats out from the boarding room because all the techs have to pet them and cuddle them one last time [Like they'll never see them again... NOT! The cats get boarded every 2 years while we're on vacation]), and they are all good at their jobs. Sometimes we have to tell them to scruff Vash (they don't like to scruff adult cats for some reason - but it still works REALLY well with Vash), and to NOT scruff Kairi (it just doesn't work with her), but I never doubt their care for animals. I once watched one of the desk girls nearly burst into tears when someone called to say their dog got into rat poison (the owner brought the dog in right away). BUT if the office/exam rooms smelled that badly, I'd be out of there. If they can't keep the place clean, how can you be sure your animals won't come home with something? I'm incredibly over protective of my two "kids" and I'm horrible with bad smells, so that's a no no for me. YMMV though.

    ReplyDelete
  92. That sounds a lot like our vet, who we kept going to even though we moved and he's about 35 miles away now. It is such a relief to know that my cats won't freak out during their exams. And to know that this vet actually LIKES cats, which is rare in my experience, while not charging unmerciful fees for common services.

    ReplyDelete
  93. My Husband and I have 2 cats as well. His is Hiro Rodimus and mine is Nessa Rose. She is super skinny and he is getting to be a bit of a fatty lol and when we feed them it takes on a lion pride thing where Hiro eats first then Nessa, even though we have 2 bowls for them

    ReplyDelete
  94. To answer your question about feeding a thin cat while dieting a fat one..... we have my thin cat's food in a hide sided laundry basket. For whatever reason my fat cat will not actually jump into the basket even though he has watched the thin cat jump in and out, and even when he sat on a chair that directly looked down into the basket. It works for us and he's lost weight (I think he's about 16 pounds down from 22) and the other cat can free feed to his hearts content.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Tonks is ok...I have a friend who was feeding her cat (Lima, like the capital of Columbia, not the bean) a strict regimen of diet food because she was overweight...the kitty gained 2 pounds. Now Lima is still on diet food, but gets even less!

    I recommend going back, maybe it was cleaning day or something so the place was a little stinky...Also, how often does your cat like your vet, and how often does your vet want to stay and chat!

    As for the food thing...I know it has already been suggested, but feeding them locked in separate rooms, wait a period of time and let them out again, taking the food away to get at the next feeding time (morning and night maybe). They will get the picture that they need to eat their food then and not dilly dally about.

    ReplyDelete
  96. We have three vets. One vet is an older guy who only sees cats and dog, and has a small building not to far from home. He knows all our other vets. The other two vets are exotics that also see cats and dogs. One is a big surgery center that a lot of vets send problem cases to, he's the best vet around for birds. The other is a vet I love who was trained by the previous vet, the catch? He's a PetSmart vet and I'm ok with that. He's awesome, he handles my ferrets like a pro and takes bites like a champ.

    My advice is go in, see what the vet is like. Do they listen to you, or do they talk over your head? Do they show genuine concern, or are they just trying to get to the next patient? There are gems in the chain clinics, just find one that works for you and your pets.

    Cat feeding: Meal feed, I can't recommend it enough. Find out what they're supposed to be eating and adjust it, lower the amounts if you need. Keep them separated when they eat so the one that eats less doesn't poach off the bigger eater's plate.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Keep the vet! We had a husband/wife duo that were wonderful with our dogs and then they moved. So we went with a large, impersonal vet's office. Hated it! When we adopted our guinea pigs, I had to find a vet who accepted them and the expensive vet didn't. I found a much smaller vet that has two office cats that sleep on the counter and we are in the process of switching over with our dogs because we love the vet so much! She was so good with our sick guinea pig and with our hamster who had to be put to sleep. Definitely stick with the vet who loves animals. They will be so much better for your kitties!

    ReplyDelete
  98. Go back to the vet that loves animals. He'll clearly take an almost personal concern with Lily's affairs, meaning better care for her. Besides, if you keep going back to him, he'll get more income, which means he'll eventually be able to remodel his office to be more pleasing for pets and humans alike.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Aww, what an interesting story! That is cute and hilarious. Just uh, I probably wouldn't hold or handle the raccoon once it's grown up (if that chance ever occurs) because they tend to turn mean then (says the girl from Appalachia who's known some folks who's raised them up some baby coons).

    BTW, I have one fat food-crazy cat and one normal (aka skinny) cat, and the way I feed them is to dole them out each a tiny scoop of food in separate bowls several times a day. And sometimes I have to supervise and haul fat cat away before she can snarf both her food and skinny cat's food. :3

    ReplyDelete
  100. We have a fat cat and a thin cat (ours is only 5.5lbs!). The problem with our shrinking cat is her teeth are in bad condition...a couple have to get pulled. I'm glad your cat is ok.

    ReplyDelete
  101. having worked for 2 different vets as a kennel tech, i have to say that a clinic shouldn't have an overwhelming animal smell. it sounds like the vet truely loves animals but sanitary conditions for both animal and human are just as important. seems to me that someone in the kennel staff is dropping the ball. something to consider, is if you were to board your cats there, will they smell like the clinic when you bring them home? and are you ok with that? in the end, go with your gut... you know your pets and how thier needs will be best met.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Put a little Vick's Vaporub under your nose before you go in to the vet & it'll overpower the office smell. It’s a trick EMTs use when there are bodily excretions or unwashed patients in their ambulance.

    ReplyDelete
  103. When I was researching vets, I went with the practice that could offer as many services as possible, such as 24hr emergency service. I didn't want my pooch to have to go to a strange place for special treatments, especially if it were ever in an emergency, since he'd be stressed out enough already.

    You might be able to check out another clinic without booking an appointment. If you don't get a good vibe from the people, stay with the guy you trust. When it comes to your pets' health, I think it pays to shop around.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Stay with the vet who made Lily comfortable!!!!! This one will treat you and her with love and diganty. My vet who did just that( but with a cleaner office) retired to Canada this year. Can not say how massively bummed I am! My Maine Coons loved her! Having 1 fat and 1 not is not half a tough as putting Reilly & Sprite on a diet!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  105. We have three cats and one of them needs a little extra help maintaining a healthy weight. Every morning while I am in the bathroom getting ready I serve him a little dish of wet food. I keep the door closed and the other cat's have no clue.

    I would have some concerns about a vet's office that wasn't clean, but I have to say we love our eccentric vet. He has a way of making our animals feel comfortable and even when I had concerns that any other vet would have brushed off he listened to me. And he didn't bat an eyelash when I said I had promised my dog I wouldn't leave her when she was very very sick, he just nodded and told me they could set up a cot and we could stay the night in the examination room.

    ReplyDelete
  106. I don't have cats, I have a dog and two parrots so I don't know how difficult it is to find a good cat vet. With that said, I would definitely not return to a vet that was not clean. Again, my dog and birds cuddle up to just about anyone, so that wouldn't be a concern for me.

    I would be concerned about bringing my dog to a vet that does not prioritize cleanliness. What if the puppy in the room before you had parvo or even just an infection? I wouldn't want to worry about the health of my pet when I bring them to a medical facility.

    I also think that "love for animals" translates to properly caring for them. If you can't be bothered to keep a cage clean then you probably shouldn't have those animals under your care.

    Do you really only have two options where you live? The raccoon guy and a corporate giant? We do go to a corporate vet, VCA. We tried a couple places when we moved to AZ, but VCA was close for emergencies and we liked the staff. We have never had any issues come up because they are corporate and they charge a fair price for the area.

    Just my two cents!

    My aunt and uncle were licensed for animal rehabilitation. They had 2 raccoons, so I totally understand the draw- they are adorable. Watching them eat is a hoot too.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Julie G. from IowaJune 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    My vet's office is not very modern and they don't put lots of money into the 'decor', but they have everything they need to provide great care to my cats. And what my vet lacks in his beside manner (he's a bit rough around the edges, but a really teddy bear inside) he more than makes up for in his care and knowledge.
    So I would continue to go to 'Doc Brown' for sure! Finding someone that loves my pets almost as much as me is worth enduring a smelly office. And really, how cool is finding a Doc Brown-Dr Doolittle in real life! You get extra geek points for that! :)
    (And we all know you're dying to go visit the baby coon again!)

    ReplyDelete
  108. I love the idea of a "Jen being mauled by animals" series, although it should be by animals both exotic and otherwise. Cute puppies and kitties should count too!

    And I totally understand the appeal of baby raccoons, although I was kinda dumb with mine. We saw a trio of them on a hike and let them wander close enough to us to get some cute pictures. When I got back to where my hubby was fishing I showed him the pics. His first words were, "And where was the mama raccoon?" When I said I didn't know, he replied, "Uh, you need to not do that. Ok?" I know. I was rendered stupid by their cuteness. Lesson learned.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Go to the vet that your cat loved and who loved your cat. Maybe you’ll desensitize to the smell?

    If you want a second opinion, I love my vet and I live in the Central FL area. Lake Emma Animal Hospital in Lake Mary. They’re very sweet and VERY clean.

    ReplyDelete
  110. We also have one fat and one think cat. I have issues with feeding too. I think our fat cat gets fed from multiple homes though and our little petite kitty stays at home.

    Glad your cat is ok. And I'd stay with the stinky cluttered vet. I have done the same. I went from a pristine office that was brand new to an old 70's vintage vet with the smell to go with it. But I love them and won't go back. They understand when I call them crying because my pug is in pain. The know me when I go in every two weeks for more medication for her too. I don't think I'd have gotten the same care from anyone else. One vet actually wanted to manipulate my pug's spine. Chiro on a dog and this was just a few months before we had xrays showing that she had sever arthritis. I don't think any manipulation would have helped her. It could have hurt her even more and they wanted to jump into manipulation before xrays! That is insane to me.

    ok, done venting. :) Enjoy your new vet. I have a feeling you won't go elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Well, this is a real conundrum. My cats and I have finally settled into a really great vet's office, but only after a few change-ups. Our last vet was in a smelly office, like the one you describe. Everyone seemed to love her, they all called her Doc. She was this tiny old woman who seemed to have been around the block with the animals she treated, but we ended up switching to another vet for a couple of pretty good reasons. First, since her office smelled so animal-y, the cat would pick up all kinds of new stinks. If we would bring one of the cats and not the others, the smelly one would be tormented by his siblings upon his return to the house. Also, my Siamese caught a really bad cold when we were there for just a short visit. Second, though they were less expensive in general, they were really quick to recommend expensive procedures and REALLY quick to anesthetize, even for minor things like shots. I don't know for sure, but I think it might have been just because the Doc was older, so it was harder for her to hold down a struggling cat. Anyway, we had an issue with one of the cats, and the Doc recommended some sort of laser surgery. We decided to get a second opinion before we went for the surgery, and I just fell in love with our new vet. They treated the problem successfully without surgery, and it ended up saving me a ton of money. The office was bigger and more accommodating, and MUCH cleaner, and our vet, Dr. Jennifer came highly recommended. The cost of a visit is a little higher than the other place, but I really think that the service I have received from our vet and her staff has been worth every penny. Most importantly, though, all of our cats are happier there, and that is the clincher for me. You will never be happy with a vet that doesn't make your cats comfortable, and if you've found one that does, you just might have a winner. The amount of stress that your cats feel vastly affects their overall health.

    As for the feeding issue, I recommend asking your cats' doctor how much you should be feeding each one and then feed measured amounts in separate bowls. Also, if you establish designated feeding times, that can help. Our cats were pretty overweight, and our vet recommended this system. When we switched to separate bowls, they both lost their excess weight and became much more energetic, and even their fur got shinier! It takes a little bit of effort to teach them not to eat out of the wrong bowl, but it is totally worth it, in my experience.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Well, I think the most important thing is the quality of care you receive at the vet, so unless you're afraid the messiness/dirtiness of the facilities can be harmful to the kittehs (used equipment lying around/"accidents" that haven't been cleaned up), I would recommend going where you feel comfortable with the vet himself and where the cats feel most at ease. Glad there seems to be nothing wrong with Lily!

    ReplyDelete
  113. I would keep going to this vet. If, at any point, it seems unsanitary or unsafe then you can always leave but for now it just seems like a vet that's so in love with his animals that he can't be bothered to organize things. And, as a cat owner, I'd like to point out that when cats say, "I like this human" it's a good thing to stick with it! hahaha my cats attempt to murder the vet every visit (even though they know her).

    I had one okay cat and one fat cat so I changed their eating schedule to once per day (before it was morning and before bed). Now, before bed I give them some food and they eat when they are hungry. They are rarely without food as they know how to make what I give them last (and I put enough that they aren't scraping the crumbles out of the bowls). Also, I tried playing with the fat one more.

    ReplyDelete
  114. seriously go to the animal-loving vet. we've been taking our cats (we've had 7 over the past 20 years, three currently) and the dog we used to have, to such a vet. sure they get a little nervous (one cat my mom rescued from the bushes in front of a bank and scratched us often, and the vet even more often to the point that he wore thick gloves to work with him) but he's always treated them so well and they only flip out when receiving a shot. he's worked with our pets through a 20 year old cat's kidney failure to an 8 year old akita's arthritis. we had a kitten that got pneumonia and even though he died at the vet's (he was already sick to the point of no return :'( ) they took very good care of him. the receptionists there are so sweet to the cats and the vet always strokes them a bunch first before examining them. we had a diabetic cat once and the vet taught us how to inject him with insulin so he'd have the least amount of pain. and, the saddest of all, we had this poor little cat who was basically sick all 8 years she lived and she ended up with feline leukemia. we decided that in order to keep the other three healthy and so she wouldn't have to go through a ton of pain to just euthanize her rather than chemo (we decided that she would be confused and feel abused rather than like she was being helped, it was a sad and hard decision and we actually put off the euthanasia for about six months because she was so sweet we couldn't bear it) so when we finally took her in for the procedure, my mom held her while they petted her a bunch to calm her then injected her with the toxins. and she purred all the way up to the moment her tiny little heart stopped beating. the vet said that he'd never seen that before. and he actually cried a bit too because the poor thing was such a sweety. you want a vet that can create a relationship with your animals, not someone who sees 200 animals a day.

    ReplyDelete
  115. If possible, I'd try for a 3rd option. Others have expressed well the concerns I'd have for the smelly office conditions. However, do NOT go to big box vet either. My daughter took her pet there to be euthanized. They gave it a shot, then walked away and didn't check back. The poor girl was in shock as she watched her beloved pet thrashing around somewhere between life and death and gasping for breath for several minutes. I finally went into the room, saw what was going on, and demanded someone come in and finish the job. Then they had the nerve to charge us $75 because they do a "complete physical" on the animal before euthing it (without telling us ahead of time). I complained to their corporate office, but they didn't care. Hope you can find a solution between the two, but I'd never go to big box vet ever again.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Hairball in her stomach/intestine. She's long-furred, it is shedding season... it happens. Give her some Malto or other hairball med. It won't do her any harm, it will help with the hair, and it will make your fingers (when you put it in her mouth)smell like salmon, which will be a big plus when you go see the racoon again! Love your blogs!

    ReplyDelete
  117. I dunno if it would work for you, but my parents have three cats, two of which are terribly overweight and one that's actually really thin. They solved the feeding issue by having measured amounts of diet food available downstairs (primarily for the fat cats, but the skinny cat eats it too, sometimes) and having some high-calorie food available upstairs in my parents' bathroom. When the skinny cat is upstairs with my mom, she'll close the door and feed the skinny cat her good food, then tuck it away in a cupboard when she's done so that the fat cats can't get to it. Lately, they've taken to leaving a small bowl available all of the time on top of a cupboard, since the skinny cat can jump there but the other two are too fat to jump.

    I have three cats, two of which are boys at a slightly-higher-than-healthy weight (they gained weight after we had them neutered) and their un-spayed and very skinny sister (she hovers barely around 5 pounds). I've tried to address the feeding issue (the boys have some food dominance when there's wet food available) by first feeding the female in the bathroom, and when she's had her fill I'll give the boys the rest of the can. This helps to address the dominance issues as well by making the boys wait to eat until Nala is done.

    Fwiw, I like your vet, but I'd be a bit concerned about cleanliness. If you're comfortable that any needle procedures and such would be sterile, I say go for it. It's great to have a vet that genuinely cares about your pets.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Okay, I don't normally comment, but there are three things I reacted to in this one.

    First, "Just throw her in with the bunny," cracked me up; then I continued reading to see, "This is the statement that cracked us up ... maybe you had to be there." No, you didn't had to be there, but that is where I cracked even further.

    Second, I'd go with the nice man and the icky office over a neat office and impersonal environment, especially since the cat is happy there.

    Finally, I only have one cat, but there are two dogs here. One is disgustingly flabby, and the other is skin, bones, and a lot of fur. So, if you solve that problem, make sure to let us know.

    ReplyDelete
  119. I am taking care of cats for some of my friends and they all seem too small to me. that is probably because my cat is 21 pounnds. the vets are trying to get us to put him on a "Diet" we alreaddy have him on a bit of one and he used to be 25lbs.

    ReplyDelete
  120. I have to say that I would prefer a vet who genuinely and obviously LOVES animals... the ones we have taken our dogs to until we found our current vet seemed... apathetic at best. It might be less pleasing to the eyes and nose, but it's the heart that matters... If his heart is in the right place (and it certainly seems it is) then he will definitely pay attention to your pets needs and your concerns. c:

    ReplyDelete
  121. After reading a majority of the replies to your post I have to agree with almost everyone. Go with the vet that loves your pets and makes your pets feel comfortable, however keep in mind that just because a vet is part of a "big box chain" it doesn't mean that they are a bad vet! I take my three dogs to Banfield/Petsmart and my dogs LOVE going there! They are excited to the see any of the vets or techs that work there and in return get excellent care. While some of the tests are expensive, we have wellness plans for all three dogs that include free vet visits and check-ups and discounted services such as x-rays, etc.

    This being said, I would be warry of any vet that your pet has an aversion to. I would also be warry of the way a vet office smells because that can be dangerous for everyone, animals and humans alike! If commenting on the cleanliness of the office doesn't make a difference then maybe finding one that is clean AND has a great vet.

    ReplyDelete
  122. I would go to the vet who loves animals, even if the office does smell not so pleasant. At the big chains, you don't know who you are going to see. My sister has the same dilemma, one fat cat and one thin one. She put a cat door to her three season porch and puts wet food out there. The fat cat is too fat to fit through the cat door, so the thin one gets all the wet food.

    ReplyDelete
  123. ALWAYS go with your gut when it comes to medical practitioners. Sounds like he's spending his time with the animals, rather than the decor-and probably charging lower prices, so he doesn't have the luxury of a cleaning service. So long as it isn't unsanitary, what's the problem? The same is true for people practitioners-I work in the birth field, and the best caregivers I've encountered practice in humble surroundings.

    ReplyDelete
  124. It never hurts to get a second opinion on kitty matters. With regards to the fat cat vs skinny cat, my suggestion is to get an automatic feeder. We have two cats, and the automatic feeder regulates the total amount of food that both consume. Its also very handy since our fur babies demand to be fed at 4am sharp.

    This is the one we use

    Works like a charm. Both cats get fed regularly, and on time. You can easily adjust how much each are eating at one time by the total amount you give them. I hope this helps, and know I think your cats are beautiful. :) I hope I put the link up right for you.

    ReplyDelete
  125. '(This is the statement that cracked us up. "Hey, just throw her in with the bunny!" Ok, so maybe you had to be there.)'

    Nope. Didn't have to be there. Made me laugh just by reading it! Thank you sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  126. After skimming the comments, I'm gonna be the odd one out and say don't discount Banfield just yet.

    I'll agree that 90-95% of them aren't where you want to take your pets, but they are a franchise.

    That means that if you're lucky they'll have a good vet. We got unbelievably lucky with the Banfield in Arlington, VA which had a vet that my family and our three dogs loved. He helped nurse our beagle with kidney failure back from the brink several times and has never pushed us to run excessive tests.

    The beagle was a rescue who was malnourished to the point of deformity and was given 6-months to live. The vet worked with us to find something he could eat that wouldn't harm him and we got him to a normal weight, normal and active lifestyle, and he made it 18 very happy months.

    That said, he was one of several vets there and we didn't like the others so much. We specifically requested him every time we went in.

    As for price, we had a plan with all three dogs that saved us a bunch compared to the smaller places we'd tried before.

    If the chain doesn't have a vet like that, and the mess in Dr. Racoon's office is too much (for sanitary purposes - which it sounds like it borders on), it may be worth trying out some other vets in the area.

    ReplyDelete
  127. A vet who truly loves animals is a vet the animals trust. That is a win in my book. They'll get better, more thorough care.
    Stinky office be damned!

    as for feeding a fat cat and a thin one.. feed the thin one in a spot the fat one can't jump to/fit in.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Gotta love vet stories! Have you ever read James Herriot books? You simply must. Real vet in the 1940's rural England writing under a pseudonym about his encounters human and animal. Simply a jog to read! All Creatures Great and Small is the first compilation of many.

    ReplyDelete
  129. I've never commented on your blog before (I LOVE your blog!), but I just had to toss in my 2 cents...

    While this vet may have terrific bedside manners, and seem knowledgable, he and his staff are not being kind or knowledgable about keeping animals in poor conditions. If one of your cats gets sick and has to have a hospital stay, don't you want to know that their litterbox is being scooped, that their food is given in a clean bowl? I would not go back to this veterinarian. I also would not go to a chain vet - there is surely another kind vet who actually keeps the animals in his care clean.

    Also, raccoons do carry raccoon round worms, which can be transmitted to people, and which can cause blindness and death. So please be careful about handling the raccoon.

    Sorry to be such a Downer Debbie here, amongst all the opinions in favor of the vet, but I have years' experience working in the industry. Also a side note - there are laws and regulations on the condition of vet clinics, and it sounds like this guy would not pass inspections.

    ReplyDelete
  130. I read all these comments with great interest. It is wonderful to find a vet who loves animals and has such a nice way with them.
    BUT . . .
    You didn't say the place was a little stinky. You said the smell was so overwhelming that you almost left. That to me indicates a major problem. A little bit of animal smell at a vet's office might be expected; an overwhelming stench tells me the place isn't clean enough. There are so many diseases that can be spread from animal to animal, and if the place is so cluttered that you can't even see a horizontal surface because everything is covered with boxes and containers and just junk, it's just not clean enough.

    There HAS to be a happy medium. Are you sure there isn't some other family-friendly, independently run vet's office near you that has equally loving doctors but doesn't smell like it hasn't been cleaned for years?

    I think you'd be doing this wonderful, animal-loving vet a favor if you were honest with him and said that while you love his manner with your cat, you are completely put off by the mess and smell in his office. Maybe he'd allow some volunteers or vet interns to help him clean up. If not, I wouldn't feel comfortable bringing my cats there--or leaving them there if need be. It may be, as someone suggested, an office management problem, or just being too busy. But cleanliness at a health-care facility (animal OR human) isn't an option--it's part of good care.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Is Lilly a Ragdoll?

    ReplyDelete
  132. Hey Jen!

    All the times I've been to that vets office I've never smelled anything except a vets office. Maybe the baby raccoon has added a scent of it's own ;)

    I gave up the big chain vets after they dragged my puppy by the leash across the floor on her belly across the entire vets office instead of using their (God forbid!) hands to pick her up and comfort her. You shouldn't work at a vets office if you're willing to drag animals across the ground.

    Also, the smelly office vet doesn't pressure you into
    Buying things and spending money that isn't absolutely necessary. He sells me heartworm and flea meds in bulk to
    Save me money too.

    I might have to find a reason to take my girls in so I can play with the raccoon!

    ReplyDelete
  133. Hey Jen!!

    As the friend who recommended the office I feel
    Like I have to clarify the office has never been smelly when we visited. It's definitely not up to date but when I had to leave my dog there for four days I wasn't worried about her safety or health (besides what she was there for). Maybe the raccoon stunk up the place ;)

    Also, unlike the chain vets, this vet is less expensive and doesn't pressure you into paying for stuff that isn't absolutely necessary. He even sells me flea meds in bulk to save me major money.

    Give him a second chance! Oh and you should have seen him when he had a full on handlebar mustache.

    ReplyDelete
  134. When we had one fat and one skinny cat, we put a kitty door out to the garage. The skinny cat's food was in the garage, and the fat cat couldn't fit through the door to get to it...

    ReplyDelete
  135. So I have nothing to contribute about cats (don't have any), but can I just say that this post was wonderfully written! I love your descriptions!

    ReplyDelete
  136. Stick with the one that loves animals unless you end up having an actual problem. I know appearances like that can be upsetting, but if your pet is in trouble you'll want someone who cares as much about her welfare as you do. Well, almost as much. And I know you have a busy life and probably don't have time yourself, but sometimes vets accept volunteers to help clean cages and so forth. You could always suggest it to someone you know!

    ReplyDelete
  137. Ooh - I definitely vote for the stinky vet. I have two cats, one fatty and one petite. Be sure that they check your chubster for diabetes and kidney issues. Catching both early is very important! My fatty is elderly with diabetes and kidney failure, and we're making her comfy in her final days, so no restrictions on the food.

    If you want to play with more exotic animals, you drive down here to Naples to the Shy Wolf Sanctuary - they have the sweetest wolves that just love some snuggling, the cutest little fox in the world, and (squeal!) prairie dogs!

    ReplyDelete
  138. So I'm a few days late on reading this post (I was busy getting married this weekend!) but I thought, since my dad is a vet and I've spent a LOT of time at vet clinics, I'd throw in my two cents. Which is much like everyone else's: go to the vet who loves your animals like their own. I've met vets who used to work for the big box clinics, and they were uniformly frustrated with the lack of care for animals displayed by those organizations. Most vets get into the business out of a sincere love for animals. Most big box places could care less about pets - they care about getting kickbacks for selling prescription drugs and charging unnecesary fees, while not doing anything too complicated that might help your pet. Go with a vet who owns his own business and is responsible for all the decisions he makes; who clearly loves animals and will do whatever is best for them, and who will build a relationship with you and your pets. When the people at your vet clinic get to know you and your pets, I promise, you get a level of service you won't find anywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
  139. for feeding, a friend of mine used a crate with a magnetic door latch that the corresponding cat had a fob for on his collar.

    ReplyDelete
  140. If you've found a vet that you like and is wonderful with your animals, stick with them. Yeah, sounds like the decor could use some work, but the fact that you've had a good experience with the vet yourself and that you have other people who have recommended him is great.

    ReplyDelete
  141. keep going to the vet that clearly loves animals, bedside manners are a dieing art!

    As for feeding two cats when one is skinny and one is fat...

    ok I have two cats, Zoe and Zeus. At first Zeus was really heavy, then he started to lose weight and Zoe started gaining... it turns out that Zoe started chasing Zeus off his food bowl!

    SO, I feed mine 2 meals every day of premeasured portions... they eat pretty quickly cause they know the schedule and routine.

    Zeus is fed in a dog kennel with the door closed, but not latched. Zoe always finishes first, but hasn't yet (knock on wood) realized she could pull the door open, and when Zeus is done eating he pushes the door open and lets himself out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  142. One more vote for the vet with the obvious love of animals and not-so-much-love for cleaning! He sounds awesome!

    We also have the one fat, one thin cat issue. Our thin cat wasn't so thin until the fat cat came along - then the first previously fat cat cat lost weight and hasn't ever gained it back. We also were told that he's at an ideal weight, but having had a long string of fat cats, it's taking some time to get used to that idea!

    Best to you and your furries!

    ReplyDelete
  143. It's super-awesome that the vet interacted well with your kitteh, but clinics shouldn't smell so bad you have to breathe through your mouth. What if one of the cats gets ill enough to need surgery and/or an extended hospital stay - do you really want them recovering in that environment? Cleanliness should be a high priority for all medical types - if the place is dysfunctional to the point that it's that messy, what other dysfunction is there that you're not seeing?

    I think you should keep looking until you find a vet who is both good with cats and keeps her clinic presentable. They do exist. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  144. I recommend constructing some sort of structure (or cut a hole in a Rubbermaid tub) with an opening big enough for your skinny cat only. That way, skinny kitty has a 24-hour buffet, and Jaba is restricted to a set amount. Amazon.com/etc also sell "treat balls" (usually for dogs, but the smallest size will work for kitties) which dispense food as they move it...make Jaba work for her food!

    ReplyDelete
  145. Go to the vet that loves the animals. For the thin cat/fat cat thing, we made an "eating box" for the thin cat that the fat cat couldn't get into.

    We also switched their food to a higher-nutrient food, which helped.

    ReplyDelete
  146. @brownlight - Dr. Herriot's books are amazing! He has written several, one my mom had when we were kids, Moses the Kitten, that was illustrated. Jen, you would love his books!


    As for the vet, I tried out several vets back in Tennessee. One had a pristine office with expensive furnishings, and the prices he charged reflected that. One, (the one I ended up keeping) had a worn office, with a bit of a smell, and a mess out in the back, but he loved animals and he was always willing to help us out when money was an issue.

    ReplyDelete
  147. I'm sure you already know this, but you can check reviews of the vet and see what others say. I recently went through a similar process and even though the one vet was very nice, personable and great with the animals, I wasn't too sure about cleanliness and I got a funny feeling about him. Looked him up online and asked around to other pet owners (dog trainer, doggy day care, other cat owners [we have both canine and feline members of the household] etc.) and found out that the vet we were seeing had several staff members quit because of unsanitary and negligent care and conditions. Do your research, ask around and find alternatives, and good luck. You probably can find someone who loves cats AND is clean. Or it can turn out that the reviews of this guy are nothing but wonderful and his surgery is spotless. Good luck! (And your cats are gorgeous.)

    ReplyDelete
  148. Go with the guy who loves animals and doesn't mind spending time talking to you and your cat!!

    ReplyDelete
  149. As for feeding...good luck!!! We have an old dog...an old crippled gramma dog. And we have a new puppy, a bouncy, active, needs to be fed 3 times a day puppy. We have food for the old dog, and puppy food for the...well you get it. We fed the old dog in the kitchen, the puppy in the dining room. They traded places, so the old dog would eat the puppy food and the puppy would eat the old dog food. So we started putting the puppy food in the kitchen and the old dog food in the dining room. They traded places again! So now we feed them both the same food, the puppy eats in the dining room, the old dog in the kitchen. I have no idea how to feed them properly seperately!!

    ReplyDelete
  150. Keep the stinky vet!!

    My best friend had a family of cats living under her deck and one night a coyote killed the mommy and 3 out of 5 of the 9 day old babies. We took the survivors to a big box vet who told us they were too small and sick to survive the night, but he did offer to put them down for $250 each! We took them home and found our own "stinky vet" a few miles away. He took wonderful care of the kittens and 6 years later Obi Wan and Yoda are my happy 22 pound babies!!

    ReplyDelete
  151. Go to the vet that loves animals. I work at a vet clinic and I can tell you those doctors are the best types. The large chains frequently charge far too much and care far too little. Ignore the smell and go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  152. Why does everyone say "go to the vet that loves animals" as if this is the only vet in the area that actually cares for it's patients? Despite what you may think, vets are not as highly paid as their schooling should dictate and it's a true labor of love. You can have both: a good vet with great bedside manner AND a vet who has a sanitary practice. And I know of several in the Orlando area. Keep looking. You can do better.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Please go for door #3: there have to be more vet practices in the tri-county area, and there should be good vets with a clean practices. Call them. Talk about treatment philosophies and pay structures. Ask how they make sure overnight visitors have room but don't get each other sick.

    An awesome bedside manner in a horrifying office is no better than a horrifying bedside manner in an awesome facility. Did he wash his hands between your patient and the rescue? That's bad sanitation and asking to spread disease. I'd call the office staff and express your concerns, then let them react.

    wv: loings--I loings for when the internets don't eat my posts

    ReplyDelete
  154. My vet has a no frills office. Very old building that looks like it could be condemned - but - after taking my dog to three different "highly recommended" big box vets she was the one that correctly diagnosed chirrosis of the liver for my dog. Five years later Chloe is doing excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  155. I have an older cat named Killer who is on a diet. I also got a kitten last spring, DG. In order to keep the big gyuy out of the kitten chow, I purchased a large clear plastic container. With a Dremel and an Exacto, we added airholes and a doorway big enough for the kitten but too small for Killer. Voila, a Kitten Feeder! At meal times, she would come running for the box, and we'd open the lid to put food in her dish. As she got bigger, we enlarged the door. It turns out she's fairly small full-grown, so the setup still works! Killer has been on an automatic feeder for a while. It regulates his food and is really nice if we go out of town for the weekend. So we got another automatic feeder for DG. We cut a new hole in the box so the feeder slides right into the end opposite the doorway. So she still gets her meals in the box. A few minutes later, Killer's dinner comes. That way she is already eating and doesn't try to eat his food.

    ReplyDelete
  156. My concern with this vet would be, what happens if your animal has to have some sort of surgery? Is the surgical room kept clean? I can appreciate that he loves animals and can't stand to turn them away, but cleanliness is very important.

    ReplyDelete
  157. I would keep going to the vet who loves animals and mouth breath the whole time. Finding a vet who loves animals and knows how to show it is priceless.

    Yeah can't help you with feeding a skinny and a fat cat at the same time. Mostly we fail and the fat cat stays fat and the skinny cat stays skinny and well yeah. The vet has yet to come up with a satisfactory solution.

    ReplyDelete
  158. A lot of older practices develop that smell. I've worked for several vets in 16 years, so sadly I know the smell. I feed one of my cats in his carrier. Because I don't want overweight cats who develop diabetes, I do not free feed and the pig cat eats in his carrier so the older, slower girls can eat in peace. He runs to the carrier at meal time. And, because the carrier is out at all times, they aren't afraid of it when its time to go with me to work.

    ReplyDelete
  159. I was in the same situation as you. We moved to a new town about 2 hours away from our old vet, and had to find a new one. The first time we took one of our cats, Amber, to the vet we picked I walked in and thought we had made a big mistake. The smell was strong, and it had second hand furniture. But the moment we met the vet I knew Dr. Deb was the one for us. She was so intuitive and loving towards our animals. To me, that was worth not having the hospital vibe vet office. I haven't regretted it, and I don't think you will either.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Crazy vets are the best. Especially if you can tell he loves animals, so much that he rescues and can't turn down the chance to help them. My vet's office is clean smelling, but my vet has like 9 rottweilers who are always running about, several cats who live in the vets office and chill wherever, a giant pit in the middle of the lobby with big tortoises in it. For the cleanliness, who knows what prevents it besides maybe just a lack of time in the day? My vet spends a lot of time working with rescues, and he is the vet for the local zoo. He only has a clean office because I'm pretty sure his staff works overtime to clean. =P

    As for the feeding thing, I have four cats of my own and two of them are massive beasts, including one who is over three feet long and his healthy perfect weight is 15 pounds. I use a variety of techniques to maintain their weights, as two are itty bitty petite girl cats, and the other are the big massive boys. One is to feed them in different rooms. A pain in the ass, yes, but it works. The other is like what other people have recommended: put the food up high and make chunky monkey kitty work for it. With Hades, the biggest cat, to make sure he doesnt get overweight, I put his food on the top level of a six foot cat tower. He has to exercise to get to it.

    Good luck though, and keep an eye out for diabetes in the little cat. Beeties cats can live long wonderful lives, but it tends to manifest in eating less, losing weight, and drinking a lot.

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>

Related Posts with Thumbnails