As most of you probably know, I am currently in school to become a Veterinary Technician. You may or may not also know at my university we run a wellness clinic which, among other things, works with the Humane Society to rescue cats from the three metro-area pounds when their alloted time has expired. I like to think of us as a halfway house between the pound and the Humane Society. What usually happens is the Humane Society evaluates the animals in the pound for adoptability, and pulls those cats it has room to house. Many of the cats that can’t be housed at the Humane Society come to stay with us at Robinson Hall until a spot becomes available at the shelter. During their time with us, we vaccinate them, do a complete physical exam, run a blood test for Feline Leukemia and FIV (two incurable diseases which are very contagious among cats), spay or neuter them (if needed), and microchip them so if they are ever lost again the owner can be identified and located. Also while they are with us, each cat is assigned to one of the Vet Tech students who does a weekly phsyical exam, cleans the cat’s ears, brushes its teeth, trims its nails, combs its fur, etc. In other words, we rescue them from death row, shower them with affection, and make them healthy so they can go on to be adopted into permanent homes. In turn, they help us learn to do our jobs so that when we graduate, we are ready to give our future clients’ animals the best possible nursing care.
Sometimes a student will fall completely in love with one of our cats and adopt him/her (I suppose it probably happens at least once every semester – there are some students who have several cats from our program, and some who have gotten all of their cats from us). It is generally considered a great feat of self-restraint if you are able to graduate the program without adopting anyone. Some of our cats are so darned loveable that it’s a wonder I have managed to get through nearly 5 years of school without bringing anyone home, even though we already have two cats and two dogs. I suppose it helps that I made my husband promise not to let me bring home any more cats – there have been many times in the last couple of years when I have tried to convince him why he should let me bring one home. For example, Chong (the huge orange tabby with white patches who looked almost exactly like our beloved departed King Louis) and Tortellini (the unique silvery-colored tortiseshell cat who would only eat when someone was petting her). But I digress. Difficult as it is to fall in love with a cat only to see it go on to be adopted by someone else, I console myself that we are saving hundreds of cats from euthanasia by providing them with a temporary home and nursing them to health.
Usually our cats come in bunches, and we name them all with similar themes. For example, this summer we went through most of the Greek alphabet. We had Mu, Theta, Xi, Upsilon, Psi, Tau, and more. Most of those cats had gone to the Humane Society before Halloween (many of them are still there waiting for new guardians to fall in love with them and bring them home). However, Tau (a handsome black and white cat) and Psi (a very sweet tabby and white cat) stuck around a lot longer than the rest of our greek alphabet cats. Early in the school year, Tau somehow managed to injure one of his toes and had to be moved to the isolation room so his toe could heal without complication. Tau did not appreciate being alone, however, so we moved Psi into the room to keep him company. Just last week Tau was finally deemed all healed, and we moved the cats back in with the rest of the colony. Tau quickly went on to the Humane Society (I think he has been adopted already because the last time I checked the website he was not listed). Psi would probably have been the next to go, but this week something amazing happened – one of the Vet Tech students saw his picture on Craig’s list; his owners have been looking for him since he clawed his way through the window screen and ran off 6 months ago! My classmate thought he looked familiar but wasn’t sure if it was Psi; the next day when she got to school, she saw him in the clinic and was convinced. So this Friday sweet Psi (whose real name is apparently Meow Meow) left the school, not to go to the humane society, but to go directly home to his family.
What is so amazing to me about the whole situation is the number of things that had to happen at just the right time in order to make it possible. If we had not had room for another cat when Psi’s time was up, he may have been euthanized at the pound. If Tau had not hurt his toe and needed company, Psi would have been sent to the Humane Society months ago and would probably have been in a new home already. If my classmate had not decided to visit Craig’s list, or if Psi had not been in the clinic the very next day when she got to school, he would likely have gone to the Humane Society the next time they had room. This is not to mention the many things which could have happened to him out in the world, which thankfully did not happen because he was captured and brought to the pound.
And so it came to pass, thanks to Serendipity, that Meow Meow and his family were reunited on December 6, after 6 months’ separation. How’s that for a Christmas present?