Veterinary Moral Superiority

This is really a story about people, not about animals.  You know how I feel about pet stories.

I love animals.  With a few caveats.  I don’t love birds very much.  I don’t love animals with more than 4 legs.  My dislike increases as the number of legs increases, with the possible exception of octopuses, (octopum, octopae, octopi).  I don’t like the wet parts of animals, no matter how many furry feet they have.  This turns out to be hard to explain to dogs. But I digress.

I like animals so much that I have living in my house right now four cats and 3 birds.  Two of those birds are sitting on a clutch of eggs.  It’s too many animals, not even legal.  But we manage.  And they make us laugh.  To my mind, an animal pays the rent by either becoming food, making food, killing rodents, lowering my blood pressure, warming my lap or my feet, purring in my ear at night, making me laugh, alerting me to trouble or helping me break the ice with strangers.

It’s gotten to the point where I feel real dread going to the vet with my animals.  I can’t take the judgment.  The vet yesterday was classic.  I should have known it was going to be bad the day I made the appointment.  I decided I could save some time and trouble by scheduling two kitties one right after the other.  What have I always said about feeling clever?  Feeling clever is the first warning sign of impending humiliation.

Babykitty is our fat cat.  She’s morbidly obese, bus-stop fat.  Grossly overweight.  But not altogether stupid.  She completely outsmarted me.  She hid her plus-sized self somewhere in the house, and didn’t even come when I poured food noisily into the food dishes.  I didn’t find her until I returned from the appointment.  By that point she was lounging casually on the third floor. No I am not clever.

Although I did avoid having to explain to the vet that I understand the health risks of having an overweight pet and that I knew her life expectancy was shortened.  Also I didn’t have to decline tooth cleaning for the cat and feel like a negligent pet owner and listen to a lecture about gingival health in cats.  I didn’t have to explain that we bought immunizations in Wisconsin (except for Rabies) and for 40 bucks had already done the distemper and other annual shots for 4 cats.

It’s not just that I’m cheap, and it’s not that I can’t afford to have the vet give the shots and clean her teeth.  It’s that the 4 hundred bucks seems like it is so much better spent on feeding the poor or clothing the naked than on immunizing and cleaning the teeth of a domestic animal whose only real purpose is to amuse me.  World peace?  Global warming?  Overpopulation?

When did there start being a moral imperative to do weight control and dental care on cats in addition to birth control, palliative care and contagious disease prevention?


2 thoughts on “Veterinary Moral Superiority

  1. Maggie says:

    Three in a row that I have something to say about!

    After seven years and several ruined pieces of furniture, last winter we brought out two cats in to be declawed. First we had to endure the lectures about what a terrible abuse it is to declaw cats, nevermind that these are EXCLUSIVELY indoor cats.

    Before the surgery, they have to get up to date on all of their shots. Fine. They also have to have urine tests to see if they are diabetic. What? What am I going to do with that information? Am I going to inject my cats with insulin every day if they need it? No, I am not.

    Then, since they’re going to be under anyway, we might as well get their teeth cleaned. Now, Lisa, just between you and me, I don’t always even do such a great job of getting my own teeth or the teeth of my human children cleaned. But fine, we’ll do that, too.

    Two thousand dollars, we have two declawed cats with four fewer teeth. Jeez.

  2. lisa says:

    Oh yes, The de-claw. One of those ethically fuzzy areas for me. I did it once and decided I’d never do it to a cat again. Although now they have better ways to do it. Used to be they’d just take the paw off just beyond the first knuckle. I won’t do it again myself, but I have to admit if I was going to the humane society to look for a cat, I’d think of a declawed cat as sort of like a used car with an extra nice stereo. Bonus!

    And if it’s so terrible, why don’t the vets just stop doing it? I think they like to make pet owners feel guilty. Then we buy the teeth cleaning just to assuage our guilt.

    And wait a minute! for that money they TOOK teeth? For that kind of dough I want extra teeth implanted.
    I think it has become a pharmaceutically driven money grab.

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