Veterinary Assistant Lacy Failing goes over some tips an training exercises to help your pets have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Spaying and neutering your pet is an important and beneficial thing to do. In this blog, one of our technicians, Cheyanne, answers common questions such as: Why is spaying and neutering important? When should I spay or neuter my pet? What does a surgery day look like? How long does it take to recover from surgery?
You’ve finally fallen asleep and suddenly your little fur ball sounds like an elephant running through the hallways. How does a 7 pound cat manage to make so much noise? Why do your feet turn into play toys?
Most of us think cats are nocturnal creatures, but did you know they are actually crepuscular? This means if your cat sounds like herd of elephants in the dark of evening, you are likely encouraging their behavior.
The last thing you want to do at midnight is pretend like this crazy cat isn’t there, but (unfortunately) that’s the best way to curb this behavior. Getting out of bed and feeding your cat or playing with them only tells your cat that being awake at night is okay.
Here are some tips for keeping your cat asleep at night:
1. Keep them busy during the day. If you can’t stay home with them, there are plenty of battery operated toys available. Be sure to research the safety of these toys before leaving your cat alone with them—you probably do not want to leave your cat with an electronic mouse but a stable toy would be okay.
A general rule of thumb, switch your cat’s toys. Cats can get bored easily. If they have a favorite toy, keep it consistent, but rotate additional toys.
2. Play with your cat when you get home. You are their favorite playmate! Remember, use toys, not your fingers.
3. Feed your cat their biggest meal before bed.
4. As a last resort, close your bedroom door at night.
Bonding--When a cat licks you, they are saying, “I trust you.” They are comfortable getting close to you and giving you the same attention they would give their kitten.
Territorial--Cats lick each other as a means of social bonding. They rely heavily on scent. When they lick you, they are marking you with their smell. In other words, they are saying, “this is my person.”
You might need grooming--If you are one of the lucky people who receive “baths” from your cat, you know their tongues feel like sandpaper. A cat’s tongue is covered with papillae (backward-facing hooks made of keratin) which help them keep things clean. They remove meat from bones and dirt from fur. When your cat licks you, they might be saying, “you need help keeping clean.”
They might like the taste of you--Sweat contains sugar and salts, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. When your sweat evaporates, it can leave sweet or salty residue on your skin that animals can smell and/or taste
Anxiety--Some anxiety can be normal for cats—especially when their environments change—but any time a cat begins licking more excessively than normal, it is best to schedule an appointment with us. Beyond extreme anxiety, medical concerns include:
- Fleas, allergies, and skin infection; pain, excessive stress, to name a few.
- Male cats who excessively lick their genitals may suffer from urinary infection or obstruction—this requires immediate attention.
A Behind the Scenes Story
Whenever I tell people what I do for my job, they always seem to reply with: “Oh, you get to play with animals? That seems fun!” In reality, working as a Kennel Assistant is so much more then playing with your furry friends, so I thought I would tell you what it is like to be a Kennel Assistant.
My day starts off at 5:30 a.m. when I hear the ringing of my alarm, throw on some scrubs and run out the door to be at work by 6:00 a.m. Before I even clock in there are cats and dogs telling me that they are hungry, and of course the dogs who have stayed with us overnight inform me that they need to go potty outside. Although we primarily offer cat boarding, we do occasionally have dogs stay with us that are post-surgery patients, boarding for medical reasons, or have come into our clinic as a stray. The next hour consists of me feeding the animals, including our very own Beverly and Peggy, changing bedding and cleaning kennels, walking dogs, data entry to ensure that medical records stay complete, and providing some kitty play and doggy love. Around 7:00 a.m., my other coworkers start to arrive. For the next couple of hours, I am now tasked with clinic duties: making coffee for staff, assisting techs, re-cleaning litter boxes, restocking rooms, and the never-ending laundry and cleaning up after both humans and animals. There is always a mess to address somewhere!
During the day, there is no need for kennel staff, but at 4:00 p.m. I am back to work, this time to repeat the tasks of the morning and also to clean the entire two-story clinic. The afternoon shift usually includes two Kennel Assistants, as there is a lot more work to be done to ensure the entire clinic gets ready for the end of one day and the beginning of the next. I pick up and clean everything, including the well-used surgery room, bathrooms, lounge area, treatment tables, doctor areas, isolation room, exam rooms, reception, lobby and much more. We assist techs, doctors, and doctor’s assistants, or whoever needs a hand. We are “on call” during this time to bring your pet down from boarding, help take carriers to your car or intake a stray that needs to have some extra TLC. We ensure every area of the clinic is clean, including the exterior of our building. We normally don’t finish until 8:30 p.m.; however, as Kennel staff, we are required to be there as long as work needs to be done, and sometimes that is well past 9:00 p.m.
As Kennel Assistants, we are there for your animals always. We work seven days a week, including holidays, and have learned to adapt to the different personalities of your furry friends. We don’t take snow days, and must ensure coverage for vacations or sick days as the pets in our care won’t understand missing a meal.
Kennel Assistants do enjoy the fun of playing with animals; however, we also experience a combination of sickness, trauma, happiness and loss, and we are usually the ones behind the scenes still giving your fur baby one last snuggle before they cross the Rainbow Bridge. Being a Kennel Assistant is hard work, but the rewards of being a part of a successful team make it all worthwhile.