A Cat & a Gentleman

white cat

Second in a series

My practice was in its infancy in 1978 but we were ready for anything. I had an ECG, x-ray machine, and a full array of surgical instruments – everything but stationery and business cards. The equine veterinarian next door recommended a printer, so I called Mr. Franklin Lancaster. He offered to come by to design my spiffy new letterhead.

When this senior gentleman arrived he cordially greeted Martha at the front desk and waited patiently as I finished with a client who had brought in an duck with diarrhea. That’s right – a duck named Harley (not Donald) who recovered just fine, thank you very much. I washed my hands of feathers and duck droppings and invited Mr. Lancaster into my slightly-bigger-than-a-phonebooth-sized office. Despite being old enough to be my grandfather he treated me with deference. I was struck by his courtly manners. Examples of good behavior can appear any time.

I placed my order and walked Mr. Lancaster to the door. As I turned around I glanced over at Martha behind the counter to find a young woman just bursting with unbridled enthusiasm. She summarily announced the name of our new cat: Mr. Lancaster. Did I mention my tendency to name pets after people? Well, I am not alone.

My initial admonishment to Martha and Amos that this was not our kitten, and most certainly was someone else’s errant pet, had lost all credibility. It was only the previous evening that I had scoured El Pueblo Road for the blue-eye white kitty’s family and, finding no one willing to acknowledge pet parenthood, I had little choice but to acknowledge that we now had a clinic cat. As we came to know our new pet it became clear that if anybody needed an example of good behavior it was Mr. Lancaster – the feline version, that is.

Next week: Mr. Lancaster’s ignominious past
I’ll teach a dog behavior class with plenty of Q & A from 6-7 PM on Tuesday, November 15 at the K9 Resort, 4740 Pan American Fwy NE in Albuquerque. Cost: Free. Please call (505) 596-6872 to RSVP.
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.

Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet behavioral or physical questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.