Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Vet Experience

I am not a great fan of vets on the whole, and I have good reason, I can assure you. So it was with trepidation that I went to collect Ulysse from his stay with the vet to clear out his stuffy nose with inhalations. He has been ill with mucky eyes, sneezing and runny poo - all a leftover from the pound.

His initial round of antibiotics cured his eyes, but not his nose so I took him back to the vet for Round 2. She decided to keep him in for inhalations (rather her than me!), and he stayed for 2 nights which I'm sure he hated.

I went to collect him this morning wondering what the damage would be (financially) and found him much better and having made a fan of the vet who thought he was a lovely cat. She's right. Obviously a sound vet! Some 63Eur lighter, I left with a worried kitty who was ecstatic to find himself back in his own home again. I'm sure he must have wondered if he'd run out of luck and that we'd taken him back to a pound, albeit a different one. Poor little cherub.

He is now asleep on his own bed (mine) and recovering from the Vet Experience. A reasonable one, too in fact, which goes some way to rehabilitate my attitude towards vets.

My annoyance with them came about from a certain vet who practices in Montpellier. At the time, around 1992 we had two Burmese cats; a mother, Titania and her daughter Portia. We had rescued them from a centre in the UK and brought them back to live in France. They had been thrown out because they were 'dirty'.

It turned out that yes they were, piddling all over the place; that nasty greasy smelly piddle that never comes out of carpets or wallpaper. So began the trips to the vet.

He suggested this medicine, and that medicine. He suggested garlic perles which made Titania's fur stink to high heaven and gave her a permanently soggy look as she tried in vain to wash out the smell. We spent a fortune at that vet's because nothing worked and they were as naughty as ever.

Finally, one day my mother gave me a book 'Do cats need shrinks?' by someone whose name escapes me, and in it there was a case study of two Burmese cats who kept piddling everywhere, that nasty smelly greasy piddle. The solution? To separate them. That was the only solution as both wanted to be only cats and certainly did not want to compete for territory with the other.

This came as rather a blow, but I put an ad in town and found a nice retired British diplomat and his wife who wanted a cat as their kittens kept getting stolen (for what I dare not think...). He was in a wheelchair which suited Portia just fine as she was very much a lap cat.

We decided to give her away as she was the younger and cuter of the two, and because Titania had been very mistreated in her past and had had a tendancy to be aggressive, so we didn't want to inflict that on new owners.

From the moment they were separated we had no more problems with Titania piddling. It was a totally successful operation. The next time I went to the vet, I told him the story, of how we had seen that they should be separated, had done so and that Titania was now totally clean. Do you know what he said? He said "I know." He had known right from the start that the only thing to do was to separate them, but had led us a song and dance, spending a fortune on useless medicines and preparations.

I call that cynical exploitation of the punters, and from that day I never went back to that vet and only took Titania back one more time, to someone else, some years later when she was very poorly. I was reminded of garage mechanics who know you don't what on earth they are talking about and do (or say they do) all sorts of work on the car which is completely unnecessary and make you pay through the nose for it.

So, it is with some aversion that I took Ulysse, confidently expecting to be thrown onto the never-ending conveyor belt of inevitable vet expenses. Once on, you never get off.

I hope, this time, I can place all my confidence, without being ripped off, for the well-being of my little cherub, Ulysse.

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