My parents have taught me many valuable lessons about life, but the most valuable lesson I’ve learned thus far was just taught to me by my cat Gandalf. Our cat is eleven, in human years, and if any of you have a pet you’ll know for a cat that’s not so old. Consider Gandalf to be about sixty-two. Imagine, if you will, that Gandalf is your parents’ ages. I ask you to do this because in cat years that’s just about how old my parents are.
I want you to suspend your reality for a minute and pretend Gandalf is a person, perhaps your mom or your dad. One day you notice that your mom or you dad is getting thinner, too thin, so you mention it to them, and go with them to see the doctor. After two weeks of extensive testing the doctor tells your parent, I’ll choose my mom, that she has a fat absorption problem, and that she must, for the rest of her life, mix a powder with her food in order to get the nutrients she needs from her food.
Your mom has gotten really weak at this point, so you take her home and assume the responsibility of feeding her. Stubborn mom, won’t eat! She’s that one-in-a-million person who can smell the powder in her food. After a week of coaxing, begging, and watching your mom drop more weight, you call the doctor again because now you are seeing your mom’s bones actually protruding from her face. The doctor stubbornly says it can’t be the powder, but you, being the person who has mixed it for your ailing mother for a week, assures the doctor it is. The doctor gives you a test to give your mom some food without the powder, and if your mom eats that food, then the doctor will believe you.
Your mom gobbles that powder free food up and you call the doctor and tell them. The doctor has an odd tone, as if she’s none to pleased to have been proven wrong by a commoner-a non-doctor! Then the doctor tells you and your mom that she has NO choice. She has to have that powder or she will die. You listen and nod to the doctor then politely explain, again, that your mom is starving to death because she won’t eat food with the powder in it. The doctor tells you to try another type of food, so you do. You try ALL different types, but the food is not the special diet food and it makes your mom sick, plus she can STILL smell the powder.
This goes on for another week and now you can plainly see your mother is starving to death. You take her into the doctor, and the doctor takes one look at your mother and instead of trying anything else to help your mom the doctor coldly states you must put your mom to sleep.
Stop! Come back from imaginary land. This is exactly what happened with my cat last week. As I stood in my vet’s office crying, I couldn’t gather the strength, at that moment, to put my cat down. Instead, I went home and called my mom who used to be in the business of animal rescuing. I told her about my cat, and she told me I needed a second opinion. Why hadn’t I thought of that?
My mom drove to my house and took my cat with her to her vet that very day. At that point, my cat had gone from nine pounds to four. He was, in fact, starving to death. That was last Friday. Yesterday, my mom called, she lives four hours away, and told me that tomorrow my cat could come home with her. You see, Gandalf is doing much better. This new vet tried a different powder that my cat wasn’t as finicky about eating. I had asked my old vet if there was another medicine, and she had told me no. This new vet also fed Gandalf special fluids to hydrate him until he would eat again. My old vet took one look at my starving, dehydrated cat and told me to put him to sleep.
Here comes the valuable lessons my cat just taught me. Doctors are not God. They make mistakes. Some doctors are better than others. Most importantly though, second opinions are a must. I’m glad I’ve had these lessons hammered into me now, before I made the mistake of listening to a doctor who gave me the wrong advice. I’m just sorry that I didn’t seek a second opinion for my poor cat sooner. I’m proud to report though that my new vet has told me Gandalf is a fighter, and he thinks he will survive. I can tell you that my two young boys, me and even my husband, who has always loved to grumble about the cat, are so glad to hear Gandalf is doing better and will be coming home to us soon!
Have you ever had a valuable lesson taught to you by your pet?
Have a great day,
The Marchioness Of Mayhem