It’s been a while since we’ve done a herding cats post, mostly because nothing much has been happening with them. They sleep, they wander, they eat, they poop, they meow (with Aussie accents? not yet), they chase bugs…just normal cat life. What isn’t normal for our cats, however, is that they haven’t left home for almost 10 weeks; in Edmonton, we traveled so much that there was seldom a 10 week stretch where we didn’t load them into the car and shuttle them off to Calico Hills for a night or two or seven. Or take them to the vet for some reason. Here, we’re not traveling as often (not too many overnight trips together, at least) and when we do, we have someone come in. So, no boarding.
We had both, separately, had discussions with people about cat boarding in Wagga. But, given that cats aren’t really treated the same here (well, some of them are…it’s hard to explain), there aren’t any cat only facilities, which is what we would want. So one day before we had to go to Bathurst for work, Dan goes online and looks for pet sitting in Wagga. He came up with the only one: Woof N Meow at Home. He emails them, says we are new to Wagga and in need of their services. The proprietor, Sarah, responds, says she would be happy to meet us and our kitties, and a few days later comes over. She’s a registered vet tech whose partner is in defense and based in Wagga; when he got posted here, she decided that rather than look for a job she would start a pet sitting company…there wasn’t one previously. Fortunately, we liked her, she liked our cats, so we hired her for that trip. She comes in twice a day, feeds them, pets them, scoops their poop, etc.
While in Bathurst, we mentioned to one of Lisa’s colleagues who was also there that we were using this company and she also has Sarah look after her dogs, and gave her a glowing review. Yay! And when we got home, everyone seemed happy so we have used her services again since then, and will again in the future.
Which means they don’t ever leave the house…until the day of doom…
A couple of weeks ago, the Whitemud Creek Vet Clinic’s automatic emailer sends Dan a note saying that it is time for us to bring the family in for shots (well, just the cats; Dan doesn’t like to get his shots). Funny, you would think that since the last entry for us in their system was “final check up before export to Australia” they would know we’re not coming back, but we got it anyway. So we book them in at the Wagga Wagga Veterinary Hospital, which is where we have been buying their T/D (dental) food. The WWVH is also the veterinary teaching hospital affiliated with the CSU vet program; we reckon that it is probably the best in town (maybe one of the best in Australia…cats probably aren’t their priority; but if your prize ewe is sick, or your kelpie gets bitten by a snake…they’d be the ones to call). In fact, a dog who was bitten by a snake was recovering when we were in to pick up food recently. Good to know… we suppose… though a bit scary.
This past weekend, it was their big day out. We dug out the carriers we had bought for their trip home from the airport (the carriers have since been locked away in one of our many spare bedrooms), loaded everyone into the car, and set off to meet the new doctor. The appointment was for 11 am on Saturday morning. It was kind of a ‘rush around’ morning, because we were having dinner guests, so preparing a middle eastern feast, cleaning, running errands, etc. Lisa went out, did some shopping; Dan did some cleaning and cooking. When Lisa got home we corralled the kitties into their carriers (not that hard…they don’t recognize them!) and loaded them into the car at 10:40. Dan was stressed, running around like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland (“we’re late! we’re late! for a very important date!”)… Lisa was calm, wondering what was up with that! As it turns out, Dan was forgetting that this is Wagga… we got to the vet at 10:50. We often struggle to get places on time, rather than way too early! But, fortunately, they weren’t busy so they took us in immediately. Gotta love Wagga – no waiting!
It was an interesting appointment. The new vet, Lou, loved our kitties (who doesn’t!?). The treatment part was bizarre, yet in a way really good. She first asked us why we were there, which we thought would have been explained on the charts (we sent in all their records from WMVC), that they needed annual vaccinations. It seemed like she was expecting us to be having some problems…but no, just a check up. Which we’re not sure if most people do here…at least for their cats. Maybe their dogs, definitely their horses. Cats…they’ve got nine lives, so why bother with doctors?
Once we told the basic history – Ellie is perfectly healthy, Lester has a runny eye and a heart palpitation, Malachi gets the sneezes once in a while – we grabbed a carrier at random…out comes Lester for the first check up. He is, 99.999% of the time, the sweetest and most docile cat on the planet. That other 0.001% (which equates exactly to the amount of time he spends at the vet), he is a fracking terror. He hissed and hissed and hissed…and when Dan warned her that he had drawn blood at WMVC on previous visits, she decided that he looked pretty healthy and she would forgo sticking the thermometer up his butt. Probably a good choice. Quick listen to his heart…palpitations, ‘she’ll be right mate’…needle, next kittie. Ellie, thermo up butt (that’s what you get for being so sweet), quick look at teeth, needle, bring on Malachi…repeat performance, no worries. Oh yes, and weight checks; all kitties are in tip-top shape!
What was quite interesting about the visit was that they only got one shot. They don’t have rabies here (the reason for the lengthy and involved quarantine procedure!); we didn’t bring it with us, and have documentation to prove it. And feline leukemia is so uncommon they don’t bother with that either. Interestingly, they do the shot in the neck – a practice that Canadian vets abandoned years ago, as one of the stabilization agents in the leukemia vaccine can cause injection site tumours (sadly, we have first-hand experience with this, with our first kitty, Dexter).
Most of the actual visit was spent chatting with the vet about Wagga and the surrounding area. She recommended going to a national forest near Tumabarumba for a great hike (“maybe wait a few months until the snakes are sleeping, though”); she told us where to get the best cup of coffee in both Tumbarumba and Adelong. She also assured us that spider bites aren’t an issue and that if the cats do get outside, we should know that cats are very resilient when it comes to snake bites. Ick! Hope we don’t find that out. Oh yes – and we learned that if the mouse plague returns to Wagga and we set bait out, that it will take 10 poisoned mice, per cat, to make a feline sick. So if they decide to share, we should be ‘right. We were out of there quite quickly, and because there are fewer vaccinations, very inexpensively, too!
Overall, a very painless experience – moreso for Lester than the other two, who had their temperatures taken 😯