There are many times when you work in an animal hospital (let alone a CATS ONLY hospital) where you simply cannot keep a straight face in front of a client.
A client perceives you as a total professional; hell we’ve had clients lift their shirts up at us asking if the lesion they have on THEM they got from the cat. They feel they can tell you secrets and you will NEVER say a word.
Well, they think you don’t say anything. What actually happens is you skip to the back room and let out a big sigh and start rattling off all the weird shit the client is doing to their cat. Half the time the staff looks at you like you’re nuts. Until they see it for themselves. We even HIDE from clients that we do not want to work with. We each have our own problem children.
Today, well today, let’s call ‘special’.
I had a client, an older lady (say, older than sixty, younger than, oh hell, hundred and twenty) with two cats she got in Greece. She obviously works for the State Department* and proceeds to tell me the ENTIRE history of these cats. All I wanted was the routine: is your cat, vomiting, has diarrhea, is coughing, sneezing, eating/drinking/peeing/pooping.. anything out of the ORDINARY!?! Most of the time you get, “why no, nothing is wrong, we’re just here for our yearly exam.” OR you get “MY CAT IS DYING!! WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING!?!” Meanwhile the cat is sitting on the table grooming itself. *I HAZ A FLAVOR*
I always ask about diet. To me it’s a super important subject… but in a Jacque Cousteau sort of way… “Izh hyour cat eating—“
“Do you know my cats like to eat lamb?” *sound of record needle being pulled out of its groove* … very short pause…
“Really? I’m sure that’s quite a treat!”
“NO, they LOVE lamb, you just don’t get it. They were Greek street cats, that’s all they ate before I took their poor souls in.”
I’m watching this woman act this scenario out in a very dramatic way in front of me. All I could think of was the movie ‘My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding’ and Windex.
“Ok, great! I’m sure they love you for it!” Does she give them mint sauce too?
Her, in that voice: “Don’t you love those lamby wambies my honey bunnies? Yes you do, yes you do!”
Then it happened. Something that has never happened before.
No really, she began to bleat like a sheep. No. Not the cat. The owner.
“BAAAA! BAAA!!! You LOVE the lammies! They so tasty! Don’t you love the lambs!? Oh god, I am in hell. Why did I end up with that woman?
And then, I don’t know, I guess the cat wasn’t responding. She actually changed the baa
Myeahh… myeahhh… myeahh… Tasty tasty lambies!!! MYEAHH!!!!!”
Please god, kill me now.
All I could do was look down at my papers and try not to crack up.
“Ok,” as professionally as I could say at the moment, “let me fill the doctor in on what’s going on and he’ll be right in.”
As I leave, she’s still sheep talking to her cats. In, like, various dialogue and stuff.
As I round the corner to the back treatment area, I have 4 other people staring at me wondering what the hell happened to me.
It’s at that point all you can do is hand the doctor the chart and hope he gets the same story.
* How do I know this? Well, put it this way: when your hospital pumps out over 15 international pet health certificates per month, most going to the same place, or they TELL you what city the Embassy they worked for is in, you know they are State Department. Oh and we mark it on the charts too. Hi! My Name is Ellen. I Work Inside the Beltway!