Louisville Medicine Volume 65, Issue 8 - Page 25

FEATURE PAT the Cat David Seligson, MD T his year is important. My semi-ses- quicentennial birthday was at hand. I was about to be three quarters of a century old. On the way back home from the farm, we stopped at the feed store in the next town. The place was an old-time country store with an emphasis on domestic animals and pets. The shelves contained tack, bridles and bits but also dog and cat food. I buy baby chicks and ducks there in Spring, or when a raccoon starts to depopulate my chicken coop at home. There is also an animal shelter operation with dozens of cats and a few dogs. Actually, we have two cats at home, one tabby who likes to feed on bits of meat or fish on the dinner table and a much smaller two-year-old tuxedo who visits exclusively with me when no one else is around. As we usually do, we went to look at the animals in the rescue section. One large black cat with a smooth black well-kept coat paced in his cage. Each animal has a placard on the front of its cage with a name and explanation. One young dog’s owner never returned from Afghanistan. Another couple split up so their kittens were up for adoption. “Oh, he answers to his name,” said the lady minding the cages. Sure enough, Pat bounded up to the bars and rubbed his face and half open mouth on the inside of the cage. “Are you interested?” she asked. ‘I’ll think it over.’ “Well here are the papers to fill out and send in.” It was a complicated form asking not only about ourselves and our pets but other unrelated issues. The form was as complicated as a mortgage or car loan application. Pat, the placard said, belonged to a senior citizen who had to leave his home for an assisted living situation. No, we could not just take Pat, we had to be “approved.” The form languished in my briefcase over the week. We filled it out and mailed it in. Next Saturday after work I drove back out. No, the worker responsible for Pat was not there. We got her on the phone, she would be in tomorrow, and she asked if I had noticed that a “donation” was expected. We had dealt with Draconian so-called animal rescue services before. When our original Vermont cat with four white paws and a white tip to her tail was run off by aggressive blue jays, we found a new kitten at the local animal rescue service – the city pound. After all of the formalities and references – including a voucher-form from the city Alderperson, we were about to get our kitten when the keeper asked about vet visits. ‘No,’ my buddy asserted, ‘our pets either sink or swim – they never go to the vet.’ This killed the deal. JANUARY 2018 23