I have a reputation at work of being a bit of a cat whisperer when it comes to blood draws. It started when one of the techs adopted a sick cat who they were afraid to restrain for bloodwork because she had breathing problems. I held her and kissed her on the nose at one point. This flummoxed the staff and they compared it alligator wrestling. I believe this is the type of image they had in mind.
Since that day I have occasionally been asked to alligator wrestle a cat for a blood draw. I hope clients don’t hear them say that. They would probably think of a fight to the death instead of me cuddling a kitty and kissing them on the nose.
So, the other day, they wanted me to hold this cat. They grabbed me while I was on my way to the next appointment. It was a 15 year old cat but he didn’t look his age. One tech assured me that he almost broke her wrist when they tried to restrain him. I’m not entirely sure how that is possible but ok. I went in the room and he was laying on the table as relaxed as can be.
I said, “What’s the matter, Chief? Are these awful people being mean to you?” Scoffing all around from the four people in the room – 2 techs, one tech student, and an assistant. I cuddled the kitty and said ok. They assured me that he would soon blow. “Is that true, Chiefy?” I murmured. They located the vein and prepared to insert the needle.
“Seriously, he hasn’t shown his true self yet. Are you ready?” I was asked.
I nuzzled the top of his head. “He’s a good Wittle Chiefy.”
The blood was pulled and Wittle Chiefy never even flicked a whisker. I picked him up and hugged him and told him he was the best Wittle Chiefy ever while the staff made gagging noises, told me that they hated me, and told the student all the ways that what I had just done was so entirely wrong and liable to get someone killed someday.
I smiled beatifically at them all and left. I was surprised he was so good too but never miss the opportunity to have the staff think you are magical.
I went to the next appointment – a dog named Chief. Um…. When I finished I went back to the people who had been in room with the cat. “Hey, you guys let me call that cat Chief the entire time and that was the name of the next patient – not his.”
“Yeah, we knew that but it was working for you.”
From this I can deduce a few things:
- Either that cat had always wanted to be called Chief and was glad that someone had finally recognized that, or
- He figured I was a crazy person because I called him the correct name during his exam with his owner but as soon as he was in the back I was renaming him so he’d better just go with the flow.
That cat will always and forever be known now as Wittle Chiefy no matter what his given name is.