Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Great Orange Hunter

My first cat was a beautiful big orange tabby named Gideon.  He was a very talkative cat, and he would greet me each evening with the full mewing story of his day.  (I still miss that.)  One night, I was awakened by this strange ululating cry.  I shot out of bed and found Gideon crouched excitedly in the middle of the living room with his paws hiding something.  When I finally coaxed him into reluctantly moving his paws, something tiny and grey shot across the living room and into the bathroom.  Realizing it was a mouse, I grabbed a plastic bowl and lid to try to catch it.  After a session of squeaking and jumping back (the mouse was twitchy, too), I finally caught it and took it down the three flights of stairs from my apartment to release it outside.  Then, a very disappointed Gideon and I went back to bed.

At the time, this simply made me look at my sweet boy a little differently now that I saw him as the great orange hunter.  Now that I’m a veterinary technician, this episode always reminds me of the reasons we recommend year-round parasite prevention for all our patients, even indoor-only cats like Gideon.  Apparently, outdoor critters can even get into third-floor apartments.  What Gideon saw as a fabulous toy looks to me like a vector (carrier agent) for fleas, tapeworms, and intestinal parasites.  Now that the weather is getting colder, our basements are looking more inviting to all of nature’s tiny furry inhabitants.  I love to see them outside, but I’m going to make sure I protect my furry family members from anything they might be bringing into my home.

Kelley Wagner, C.V.T.

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