One cat's views on the news...
For many years Maggie was an integral part of the family here at the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic.
It was with heavy hearts that we had to farewell Maggie in 2015. But while she is gone, she is by no means forgotten - so feel free to check out Maggie's stories of her up bringing and tales of her antics down below.
My name is Maggie
(but I also go by Lady Margaret)
I like to keep close tabs on what is going on in my vet clinic. Also, I've found that it is a really great place to hang out. If I need attention and treats all I have to do is plonk myself on the appointments diary in reception - thought lately I've been enjoying sleeping on the eftpos machine. Some people think I’m feisty, but the nurses says I’m just misunderstood. If that gets me off the hook for swiping some people with my razor sharp claws then I’m fine with that label. Since moving into the clinic Anna, one of the nurses, has taught me a number of tricks which I happily perform so long as there is a treat involved.
I've agreed to post regular updates (provided that they do not interfere with my tight cat nap/litter box schedule) so that you can all keep up to date with what is going on in my life and around the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic.
Firstly, however, I wanted to introduce myself and tell the story of how I came to be. This prompted me to begin work on my memoirs. They are a work in progress, so check back as I post more...
Meow for now,
24th August 2014
Lady Margaret's Memoirs
Part IV: A Cat Can Act
A lot of people think you can’t teach cats tricks. Whether they mistakenly believe this is because we are less intelligent than dogs, I do not know. But I can categorically state that this is not true. In fact, just to prove you all wrong, I learnt a bunch of tricks. Some of them I was taught by Anna the vet nurse. Some of them you might call “bad behaviour”, but I would have to disagree.
First of all Anna taught me to “Sit” and “Smooch”. Then once I’d gotten a taste for liver treats, I taught myself how to open a jar to help myself. I happen to think that this is my most clever trick, given my lack of opposable thumbs.
Currently my repertoire of tricks includes:
“Hi-five” (while sitting AND while standing)
Using a litter box (I know that this is something that most cats do, and you could argue that it is more of an instinct as opposed to an actual “trick” – but I noticed that the dogs I live with just poop all over the lawn and don’t bother to cover it up, so I feel this is definitely worth a mention)
Anna and I are also working on a new trick called “Stick ‘Em Up”, in which we simulate me being held up at gunpoint by Anna. Anna points a finger-gun at me, and I obligingly hold my front paws up in the air.
Originally we thought that I should be the one to point the finger-gun at Anna while she flung her arms up in horror, but my lack of opposable thumbs turned out to be a bit of an issue here too. As it happens, it is quite difficult for us cats to bend our paws into the shape of a gun. I also struggled a bit with the pronunciation of “Stick ‘Em Up” – so the performance lost its overall effectiveness. Instead of portraying a woman being held up at gunpoint (or paw-point, if you will), it just looked like Anna was throwing her arms up in horror when I meowed at her. On other words, it was a confusing performance. So we’ve switched roles...
We are still working on this act – I like to rehearse many times so that when I deliver my performance to the general public, it is absolutely flawless.
When it is ready I will be sure to post a video here on my blog. Because what is a blog for, if not a place where my many adoring fans can admire my talents?
But I’ve strayed off topic…
My point is that us cats are all capable of learning many things, if only we are given the right incentive. Unfortunately we aren’t as food oriented as dogs, so finding this incentive can be very difficult.
Because of my affinity for liver treats, I am routinely enticed into performing almost my entire repertoire of tricks in the midst of a room full of enthusiastic young canines at Puppy Preschool. But that is a story for another day.
Here is a short video of some of my tricks:
Meow for now,
6th July 2014
Lady Margaret's Memoirs
Part III: Back to the Beginning
Some of my first memories are of being fed and cuddled by the staff at the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic, so it has always been a rather happy place for me. Obviously this excludes yearly vaccination time. Even on the odd occasion, when I have had strong words with the other cats in the neighbourhood and have ended up with abscesses or other bite marks, the vets have always fixed me up and sent me on my way.
I always enjoyed repaying their kindness by stopping in now and then for a visit. And I will admit that teasing the dogs in the waiting room does hold some serious entertainment value.
A few years ago, my visits became more frequent. This may or may not have had something to do with the fact that my visits were rewarded with tasty treats (with or without the knowledge of staff – here is a video of me helping myself).
Eventually it got to the point where I would stay at the clinic all day, only returning to my family home all night. And I would always be the first to arrive in the morning, so I would wait on the doorstep for the nurses to arrive and rush to greet them whenever they sauntered in.
[Editor’s Note: The Welcome Bay Vet Clinic opens every weekday morning at 7.30am. Whether or not this is early enough for Maggie’s liking is entirely a matter of opinion.]
After a while I decided that I would actually like to live at the clinic full time, so I started to put myself to bed in one of the cages at night.
[Editor’s Note: It was entirely Maggie’s decision to start sleeping in a cage – on previous occasions when Maggie had boarded at the clinic she had been decidedly cantankerous about being put in a cage, so the nurses would not have been brave enough to try and force her into one against her will.]
My family miss me dearly throughout the week so I still go home and visit on weekends – even if the clinic staff have to usher me out the door. I should note that there is nothing wrong with my family home – they still treat me nicely, feed me, and pet me. It is just that I also really like my new home – there are always new smells and there is a really nice patch of sunlight out in the waiting area.
Also, now that I don’t hunt as often, sitting on the Eftpos machine is my favourite pastime.
A few years ago I was hit by a car (I’m sure you’ve already read about this on my blog), and the 6 weeks I spent recuperating in my cage also helped cement the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic as my new home.
So that is how I came to live (at least part time) at the clinic.
I will occasionally post updates on my blog – so that you can all keep up to date with what I am doing. I know that you will be most enthused to hear all about what I have been up to.
I cannot promise that my posts will be regular. Sometimes I just have very important things to do, such as taking a catnap. Duties like these are simply unavoidable. Such is a cat’s life.
Meow for now,
4th May, 2014
The Cat Burglar
I was finally caught in the act.
When I'm left to my own devices, I tend to help myself to treat that are not for me. When the nurses started storing all the goodies on the high shelves, I simply learnt to climb the shelf to knock the treats off. Eventually the nurses decided to set up a secret hidden camera to catch me in the act.
Their endeavours turned out to be unnecessary as I did not even wait for them to leave the room before I started to help myself. But nevertheless, here is a short video of my antics for your viewing pleasure.
10th April 2014
Lady Margaret's Memoirs
Part II: The Early Years
And so my tale continues. And so does my actual tail, because I have a lovely, long feline tail. But you are not here to hear about the hair on my tail. You are here to hear the next chapter of my memoirs.
For a long time I lived happily with my new family. The little boy loved me, and his parents adored me just as much. And the older sister became quite fond of me too, even though she was still a touch jealous. Fair enough, I say. Who doesn’t want their own pet cat? We are glorious creatures.
At first the little boy had to bottle feed me, because I was too young to eat on my own. During the daytime when the little boy was at school the staff at the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic would help out with making sure I was fed whenever I was hungry.
Eventually I grew to be an avid hunter, and almost every day I would bring home food to share with my family. They were never as grateful as they should have been. They seemed especially unimpressed whenever I left my prey alive in the bathroom – just to prove that I really was bringing them the freshest of meals. Of course I know they secretly enjoyed my contributions, because they were the most upset when I only left them a tail or a foot. Humans can be so confusing sometimes.
Me and my little boy - how he loves me so!
My favourite place to sleep at home was in the hot water cupboard. I very quickly learnt to open the door to let myself in because the humans insisted on closing it all the time. It was almost as though they were determined to inconvenience me. This also meant that when I let myself in, the door would inevitably be closed by someone, and I would become trapped inside. Usually I would wake up in the middle of the night (because that’s when it was the best time to roam the neighbourhood), and I’d have to rattle the doors to alert my family that I was in need of assistance. Someone would eventually stagger along to let me out – provided I made enough noise to wake them up.
One time I did become really trapped. Not in the hot water cupboard, but in the neighbours’ garage. I found my way in, and couldn’t find my way back out. I was gone for a few days and the little boy was really worried about me. Unfortunately the neighbours were away too. They had house-sitters, but the house-sitters didn’t have a key to the garage. When they heard meowing coming from the garage, they rushed down to the vet clinic to ask for advice. The little boy’s parents knew that I liked to find my way into tight spaces, so they wondered if maybe it was me that was stuck in there. Eventually they called a kind man named “Lock Smith”, and he came and rescued me. I never went to that house again.
Despite all the humans’ oddities, we made it work. And as I said before, for many years I lived happily with my family.
In recent years, however, I have made my own way back to the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic. But this is a story for another day. In the mean time, please enjoy some photographs of my youth...
Meow for now,
3 - 6
30th March, 2014
A Birthday Surprise!!
In my last post, Lady Margaret’s Memoirs – Part I, I complained about the lack of birthday gifts. As a result I helped myself to a shelf-load of cat nip mice. I now admit that I may have been hasty with my complaints (and also with my “theft”, if you must call it that).
It turns out that the nurses has a wee birthday surprise planned for me all along.
I even had a cake and everything.
[Editor's Note: Maggie is actually on a prescription diet for her joints, so she did not have a "cake" as such - instead she was treated to a hearty helping of canned prescription cat food. A rare treat for Maggie. We can assure you that she was thoroughly stoked.]
I just wanted to share with you some of the photographs I had the Nurses take of the occasion…
20th March 2014
Lady Margaret's Memoirs
Part I: Before I Began
A few days ago I celebrated my 13th birthday. Of course, I strutted about the clinic so everyone would get a chance to wish me health and happiness and congratulate me on how fine I look for my age. I was disappointed by the distinct lack of birthday gifts, so I helped myself to a fluffy catnip mouse. The nurses promptly told me off, claiming that I’d helped myself to the entire display. They weren’t wrong – though at that stage they didn’t know that I had stashed them all behind one of the food shelves. So I just stared at the nurses and blinked. Cats are, after all, the masters of witty retorts.
Nevertheless, as you all know, 13 is a pretty decent age for a cat – so I figured it is high time that I began work on my memoirs.
Many of you come into the clinic and are interested to know who I am and how I came to be here, and I am more than happy to regale you all with the tale of my beginning….
My story begins many years before I was even born. It begins with a young boy who had always longed for a little tabby cat. Many times this young boy asked his parents if he could have a tabby cat, and many times his request was denied. His parents thought he was too young to have a cat, and they already had quite a few family pets. But the boy was persistent and he kept on pleading with his parents to let him have a pet cat all of his own. Eventually, his parents promised they would get him a little tabby kitten for his 8th birthday. They thought that because his 8th birthday was still a few years away, the boy would forget all about it before then. But the little boy did not forget. Though he said no more about it, he looked forward to his 8th birthday with great anticipation.
The years passed slowly, as they always do when you are waiting for something to happen. It seemed like an eternity passed, but finally the morning of his 8th birthday dawned bright and early, and the little boy ran from his room to his parents’ and leapt onto their bed. He excitedly told his parents that he was ready for his kitten now. He told them that if it was a boy kitten he was going to call him Magnum, because he liked ice-cream.
The colour drained from the parents’ faces. They had thought that the little boy had forgotten all about their promise, and consequently they too had forgotten. They looked at each other nervously, and quickly told the little boy that his kitten would be waiting for him after school.
At this point the little boy’s older sister became quite indignant and demanded that she should also be allowed a kitten. She was, as usual, ignored.
[Editor’s Note: The older sister was a jealous sort who was frequently making such demands. At this time she was already in possession of multiple pets, all of which her parents cleaned up after.]
So the little boy was bustled off to school where he was so excited he could barely concentrate.
Meanwhile, back at home, the parents were all in an uproar. Where were they going to get a tabby kitten at such short notice? They had no idea and they weren’t looking forward to how disappointed the little boy would be when he got home from school and found they had lied to him. They couldn’t decide what to do, so eventually they gave up and went off to work.
It just so happened that the little boy's parents worked at the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic, and not long after they arrived a farmer walked in through the door. In his hand he held a tiny little tabby kitten. It was only a few days old and somebody had tossed it into a bush near where he lived. The vet took one look at the kitten and knew that it would be perfect for the little boy, so he called the little boy’s mother and she immediately fell in love with the tiny kitten.
And that little kitten was me, Maggie.
If there was one thing that the parents made very clear, it was that Magnum is not a very good name for a dainty little female kitten. I, for one, happen to agree with them
And that concludes the first chapter of my life.
I shall continue with my memoirs at a later date – for now my paws are tired. Unfortunately modern keyboards were not designed with feline fingers in mind.
Meow for now,
20th March 2013
Do Cats Get Arthritis?
As with all females of the human and cat variety, I can be rather sensitive when it comes to the topic of my age. But due to a recent nutritional change I am feeling much better about the changes I am going through and as such, I am finally ready to talk about it.
Currently I am 12 years old, but my 13th birthday is fast approaching. In cat years this is equivalent to me entering my 70's, which is a fairly significant achievement in any cat’s life, whether it is their first life or their 9th.
By the time a cat is 12 years old, the rate of incidence of osteoarthritis has risen from 20% in adult cats to 65%. This means that there is a 65% chance that your 12 year old cat is experiencing some arthritic changes, and all the arthritic pain and discomfort that goes with these changes!
But what is most interesting about us cats is that, unlike dogs, we often won’t show any obvious signs of what we are going through. When it comes to dogs there are a multitude of behavioural and mobility changes that you can look out for.
Unfortunately, when it comes to us cats, we tend to hide any sign that we are in pain. We evolved to hide any signs of pain or weakness because in the wild this could mean we get picked on by other cats or predators. As a result, many cat owners can be completely unaware that we are even experiencing any discomfort at all.
If you know what to look for, there are some subtle indications that arthritic changes may be occurring. Clues that an owner can watch for are:
- Your cat may slow down a little or hesitate before jumping up or down from places that previously would not have
been a problem
- They may spend more time sleeping and less time hunting or playing
- His or her coat may become matted or scruffy looking as it becomes more and more difficult to groom oneself
- They may get their nails caught on the carpet and the claws become longer and the cat becomes more reluctant to
use a scratch pole
- Your cat may also become more intolerant or grumpy with the rest of the human family, or with other feline
companions, and may be more inclined to spending time on its own.
Of course, every cat is different. We may show one or more, all, or even none of these signs. As I mentioned before, some cats don’t show any signs at all, and consequently their owners remain completely unaware that any arthritic changes may be going on. Other cats may have difficulty getting around, and even limp and show the same sort of signs a dog might. Every one of us is different, and we like to keep our owners guessing as to whether or not anything is going on.
Recently my owners started to notice that I was sleeping a lot more, and that I was becoming reluctant to jump down from my bed in the mornings, so they switched me over to Hills’ Prescription Diet J/D.
It comes in both a wet, canned food, and a dry biscuit. I prefer the dry food – the crunchy biscuits help to give my teeth and gums good exercise now that I am not eating as much Hill’s T/D (another prescription diet that is designed to keep teeth and gums healthy and prevent periodontal disease).Hill’s J/D food contains plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin to help nourish my joints and cartilage, controlled phosphorous levels help to maintain kidney health. High levels of carnitine also help to burn fat while maintaining a lean muscle mass, which helps to keep me at my optimum weight. Hill’s J/D is available for both Canines and Felines, and has been shown to ease joint pain and improve quality of live in as little as 21 days.
Two months on, I find that I have significantly less joint pain and a lot more mobility. Even my hips and pelvis feel a lot better, despite my dramatic near death experience last year where I fought a car and lost (read more about my fight for survival here). I’m much more playful and can often be seen running through the clinic hallways playing with my toy mice [Editor’s Note: This may explain the number of toy mice that have suspiciously disappeared off our shelves in the last few months]. My coat even seems to be shinier, and I haven’t taken a swipe at any of the clinic’s customers since switching to the J/D.
Thinking about all this food has really worked up my appetite, so now I must go and rub up against the legs of the clinic staff until they either feed me or trip over.
Stay tuned for more updates on my life as a cat.
Meow for now,
Although these are my (Maggie's) very own mews, we have a new addition to the clinic family. Skye has been welcomed into the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic family with open arms, so I have decided to begrudgingly let her chime in on "Maggie's Mews".
I take my mews page very seriously, but I hope to momentarily distract Skye from trying to chase my tail. So without further ado, please welcome SKYE....
MY SECOND VACCINATION
9 weeks old
Today was my second vaccination. At first I was a little nervous but I got to go the vet clinic which I knew would be fun as that’s where I go for puppy preschool (I’ll tell you more about that next week).
I had my first vaccination when I was still living with all my brothers and sisters (before I came to live with Carol). To be honest, I don’t really remember it. It seems like soooo long ago!!
Dr John checked me all over, from head to toe. He had to open my mouth for me to look at my teeth because I refused to smile and say ‘Aaah’ no matter how many times my mum asked nicely. He listened to my chest with a stethoscope, that was a little cold at first but it’s reassuring to know that I have a healthy heart and lungs.
I won’t tell you where he put the thermometer as that is a little embarrassing, but I was soon distracted by a tasty treat. Before I knew it Dr John was giving me a scratch behind the ears and saying what a good girl I was. I didn’t even feel the needle when i was vaccinated!
So in the end it wasn’t even that bad. I don’t even know why I was nervous! Now I only need one more vaccination in 3 weeks time before I can go to the park and be safe from diseases when I play with my friends. I’m a little tired now, mum says this is normal after a vaccination, so I will talk to you again next week when I tell you about puppy preschool.
MY THIRD VACCINATION
12 weeks old
It’s time for my third and final vaccination booster. I know from my second vaccination that it can actually be quite a fun experience as Dr John gives me loads of treats afterwards, so I wasn’t nervous at all.
Once again Dr John checked me over from head to toe, checked my teeth, and listened to my heart.
Then came time for the vaccination. Just like last time, it didn’t hurt at all! I am such a brave puppy!
I did ask why puppies have to have so many vaccination boosters compared with an adult dog. Dr John explained that it is because I am very young, and young puppies are very vulnerable to illnesses like parvovirus. Many puppies die from parvovirus, and I don’t want that to happen to me. He also explained that when I was a puppy I got a lot of antibodies and immunity in my first drink of milk from my mother and while these antibodies help to keep us safe from some sicknesses while were are only a few months old, they can interfere with the vaccines. That’s why we need more boosters than adult dogs. There is always so much to learn when you come to the vet!
I am very excited to be finished with all my vaccines. Not because I don’t like coming to see Dr John though. I am excited because this means that in a week I will be able to go and play in the park without being scared of getting very, very sick from parvovirus.
21st June 2012
Welcome to the Family!
A new puppy arrives....
Hi I’m Skye!
I’m Carol’s newest family member. I’m currently 8 weeks old and mum says it’s nearly time for my second vaccination. I’m not too sure what that’s all about, but mum says it will be good for me. I’ve already had one vaccination but I don’t remember much about it because i was only 6 weeks old at the time. I’ll post some pics next week and let you know how i got on.
Candy the cat is teaching me good manners, especially how to behave around her and her feline friends. Personally I don’t see what all the fuss is about, all they do is eat and lie around in patches of sunshine, but they seem to get really upset when I race up to them and jump on their tails.
30th April 2012
I shouldn't be alive...
The following account of events is true...
Hi my name is Maggie. I'm an 11 year old domestic short hair cat. I live near the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic, but during the day I’ll often make myself at home inside the clinic. If I need attention and treats all I have to do is plonk myself on the appointments diary in reception. Some people think I’m feisty, but Anna says I’m just misunderstood. If that gets me off the hook for swiping some people with my razor sharp claws then I’m fine with that label.
Recently I did a silly thing.
I tried to cross the busy Welcome Bay Road and misjudged the oncoming traffic. My backside got sideswiped by a car travelling at an estimated 600kph [Editors note: Maggie is prone to exaggeration]
Unable to move my back end and in excruciating pain, I slowly dragged myself onto the grass verge and awaited my rescue. Days passed........dehydration.......in and out of consciousness. A plane flew overhead but failed to spot me [Editor’s note: more exaggeration – Maggie was found within a few hours of the accident]. Finally a person I know walked past me and said “Hello Maggie you silly cat, what are you sleeping out here for” then he walked on. Unbelievable! [Editors note: this bit is regrettably true]
The next person to see me was Gemma from the vet clinic out to get her lunch. I howled out to her. Recognising my distress (unlike the previous plank!) she very gently picked me up and carried me in to the Welcome Bay Vet Clinic.
Dr John stuck a needle into me so I swiped him one – nails and all – for his trouble. As if I wasn’t already in enough pain! [Editors note: John was giving Maggie pain relief]. Strangely enough I felt a lot better after he stuck that needle in me so I decided to allow him to do what he wanted from then on. I was in agony if I tried to move though – I’m ashamed of the language that came out of my mouth – and I really, really didn’t want to go to the toilet but after 2 days I just had to and what a relief it was too. Oddly, the doctors and nurses seemed elated when I used the litter tray (Go figure!?). After 3 or 4 days I was starting to stand and walk a little in the cage without too much pain and I’m well on the road to recovery now.
Maggie’s pelvis was fractured in 2 places and the left sacro-iliac joint was separated.
She was able to feel a pinch to her toes and could move her legs. Good signs – not paralysed.
Bladder and bowel dysfunction is common following pelvic fractures, but fortunately Maggie was able to urinate and
defecate without assistance within a short period of time.
Maggie was given lots of painkillers and fluids
We discussed surgery for Maggie but decided the potential risks outweighed the advantages. Pelvic fractures are
common in cats hit by cars. As long as the bones haven’t been displaced too much, and there is no paralysis or other
major injuries, they will often make remarkable recoveries with restricted movement and so long as owners strictly
follow their vet’s advice.
Maggie will be kept confined for 6 weeks to restrict her movement and allow the bones to fully ‘knit’ themselves back
She is doing extremely well at this stage (2 weeks after the accident).
31si July, 2014
It’s now over 12 weeks since I was sideswiped by a mad man in his car and my pelvis was smashed into dozens of fragments. [Editor’s note: Maggie fractured her pelvis in 3 places trying to cross the Welcome Bay Road mid April 2012] They kept me locked up in jail for 6 long weeks after my accident. No trial, no judge, no jury! Just food, water and a needle stuck in me each day for the first week. The nurses spent a fair amount of time patting and fussing over me. I pretended to quite like it but in reality I hated all the fuss, but just didn’t have the energy or strength to give them a famous Maggie-swipe. I thought at the time - I’ll get them back for my incarceration and their patronising ways. Revenge, best served cold (with a good Chianti). [Editor’s note: Maggie loved the attention]
The first week or two in jail weren't that pleasant. The pain did subside and I always felt a lot better after Dr John stuck a needle in me. I actually feel a bit guilty for swiping him the first time he tried (Nah, not really!). The rest of the time I just whiled my days away eating, sleeping a lot, tolerating those patronising nurses, and plotting my revenge.
Humph, they thought I was turning into a nice cat, but look at my most
recent mug shot! “Beware the cat” indeed!
Anyhow after 6 weeks, they finally let me out to wander about in the
staff room. At first I was a little unsteady, but as each day passed I
gradually got my strength back and the aches stopped.
A week or two after my release I was pretty much back to normal –
jumping up on reception and making a nuisance of myself. Since my
accident everyone seems to take a lot more notice of me and I’ve
learnt to really milk the system….. Treats on demand for Maggie!!
Perhaps I’ll delay my revenge....
Maggie had 6 weeks in a large, warm, comfortable cage. By restricting her movement, it gave her the best chance for
the fractures to heal. The strong pelvic muscles help immobilise the fracture segments. Her recovery was rapid and it
was tempting at times to let her out before the 6 weeks, but we strictly followed (our own) veterinary advice. Excessive
movement may prevent adequate healing and increase the risk of the pelvic canal narrowing. Should this happen
constipation (sometimes severe) can occur.
Maggie was treated like the Queen of Sheba while cage rested, with more fuss and attention than a true royal. She is
back to her mischievous naughty ways (some say even more so!) and the injury does not appear to bother her in any