Last in a 4 part series
Managing Herd Size
Facing down this dual feline epidemic (leukemia virus plus herpes) I felt overwhelmed until I made another visit to the Peabody home. Armed with physical exam findings and test results on each of their 24 cats I again toured the house and yard, this time to strategize.
Eye and nose discharges are little toxic pools of bacteria and virus. I coached Briana and Nettie on gentle handling of each cat (some were fussier than others) for snot removal and medication. Some needed special feeding. Isolation from the symptom-free, leukemia negative cats was a must. Both of these infectious diseases had to be contained.
I really liked these people; I would never be condescending but I needed to be clear. Once we all agreed on housing which cats in which specific rooms and who would stay together inside and keep their distance outside we put the plan in writing. Only strict compliance could save lives.
There had been 2 fatalities near the start of this debacle; Briana and Nettie were committed to the survival of the remaining 24. Every one of them made it. I was delighted but we also needed to look ahead.
How had Briana and Nettie accumulated so darn many cats? They loved kitties and so do I, but maybe my mom was right. Too much of a good thing can lead to trouble. Well, it turned out that many of these inhabitants of the Peabody home were fertile and reproducing quite actively. So, once everybody was hale and hearty, we invited the herd back by the hearse-load for a special day of spaying and neutering. Getting our arms around this burgeoning colony did more than reduce stress in their home. The neighbors were happier with the resultant plateau in the quantity of Tootsie Rolls they found in their planter boxes.
Love is a powerful force, whether it’s shared with other humans or members of other species. In a time of crisis Briana and Nettie also heaped generous doses of faith and hope on their cats. They brought out the best in every life they touched, mine included. If we practice enough kindness we might even save our planet.
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 Facebook Live 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.