Reader Letters

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Second Opinion May Not Have Helped
The question posed in “Second Opinion” in your July 2007 issue brought to mind a similar incident that occurred years ago with my cat, Sammy. We lived in Amarillo, Texas at the time and I noticed a significant weight loss in Sammy. On Friday, the veterinarian drew blood for analysis and gave Sammy a full exam. She expressed her concern about my pet’s weight loss, as well as anemia. She scheduled a more intensive workup for the following Monday. I watched Sammy during the weekend, but saw no remarkable symptoms. As he sat on the top of my wing-backed chair, he seemed to convey to me, “I’m going to die.” I stroked his head and said, “No, Sammy, you’re not going to die. We’ll find out what’s wrong with you on Monday. You’ll be fine.” With that, he rose up and put his paws around my neck and hugged me. Sammy was a hugger from kitten-hood.

I awoke early the following Monday morning to get ready for work. Sammy followed me into the kitchen and lay down at my feet. His pupils were dilated and his belly extended and his breathing was labored with panting. I called the emergency number for the veterinarian. Sammy had been the first cat to survive an urothrostomy seven years prior to this, and I thought this might be a relapse or uremia. It never occurred to me that these symptoms could be related to his anemia and weight loss. Sammy died in my arms on the way to the emergency clinic. A post-mortem exam showed that he had a tumor in his spleen that had grown so fast it caused it to rupture. The placement of the tumor in his spleen made it impossible for the veterinarian to feel it on palpitation.

Sammy had survived uremia, when other cats did not, and later, a tumor in his ear of so foreign a material that the pathologist couldn’t identify it. He was a tough little guy and fought hard to survive these health issues. The only battle he lost was the surprise attack on his spleen. As I grieved the loss of my “first love” of fifteen years, I reminded myself to be grateful for the years I shared with him. A second opinion would, most probably, not have proved beneficial to Sammy’s case. I never doubted the doctor’s ability or concern in caring for my precious pet.

Janet. L. Rockey
Tampa, Fla.

Give Pet Sitters a Chance
Having been a professional pet sitter for the last seven years, I was highly disturbed to read a quote in an article in the July issue of CAT FANCY titled “Home Alone.”

I cannot believe that any “expert” would agree that “a responsible friend or relative with whom the cat is familiar actually is a better choice than a professional sitter.” Your article makes it sound like a professional isn’t as reliable and isn’t really going to like the animals they sit for!

That cannot be further from the truth, and this type of comment does a real disservice to those of us dedicated to promoting the pet sitting industry and all of the benefits professional pet sitting offers the pets and their owners.

I have done over 15,000 pet sits in seven years, and each and every one of the cats I sit for knows me and likes me because of the amount of time I have spent with them!

Some cats are shyer than others, but in seven years, every kitty I have watched has become less shy and actually greets me at the door when I arrive. My customers have gotten to know me better than they know some of their own family members, as I have been there for them and their pets in personal emergencies and difficult times. I consider my customers my extended family and love their pets as my own.

What makes the article even worse is that you don’t mention organizations like Pet Sitters International or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters exist, so that owners who wish to use a professional could do so by visiting web sites and locating an insured, trained pet sitter for their location. Pet sitters belonging to these organizations adhere to a code of ethics, training and a level of professionalism that I do not believe the neighbor next door would possess.

I cannot believe in this day and age that people still feel that an unreliable neighbor or teenage kid would be the better choice, when professional pet sitting is one of the fastest growing industries around.

Fran C. Stump
Lusby, Md.


Honoring a Cat’s Memory
Galli, age five, died today after a short battle with renal lymphoma. I helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge this morning, and buried him beneath a tree in my mother’s yard. You can see pictures of his short but lovely life on my website.

Someone asked me today if there was anything they could do to help. The answer is emphatically, “Yes!” Donate to animal cancer research and treatment. It is easy, and any amount can help. You can go directly to the Animal Cancer Research Foundation’s donation page by visiting the organization’s website.

Anything you give will honor Galli and help to keep other animals alive. Thank you.

Kelly D. Affannato, M.S. Ed., Esq.

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Reader Comments

karen    bayport, NY

12/14/2007 10:12:10 AM

"To Pill a Cat"
A highly successful method of pilling a cat that I use is to put the pill--either intact for small pills, or cut in half with a pill cutter (available over the counter at your pharmacy)--into a small blob of Petromalt or other hairball product that you have put on your center finger. Then open the cat's mouth with your other hand under its chin. Then quickly tuck the blob back into the very side of the cat's mouth with your finger. The cat will automatically swallow it, and your pilling anxieties will be gone for good!
Karen Petersen
Bayport, N.Y.

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