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Pets Large & Small

Peppy Meow

Dr. Kimberly Brokaw, DVM

(4/2014) I had just gotten home from work. My plan was to quickly feed my horses as I was meeting a couple of friends for dinner. We'd declared the need for a girl's night out, even if it was just for a Friday evening dinner at a local restaurant. I was on the phone with my sister and continued talking to her as I proceeded to feed the horses.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a new cat. While I have spayed and neutered numerous cats and brought them back to my farm, most don't stay with me for long. They usually wander off to a neighbor's house and become the neighbor cat. I've bumped into a few of "my" previous cats at clients' homes. While more than one client has been happy to know about their cat's prior history, they all nervously ask if it's okay if they keep the cat. Truthfully I'm just happy to see the cat in a loving home and don't care if it's mine or theirs.

I excitedly told my sister about the new cat. He was very thin, and was sneezing out blood tinged snot but I proclaimed him mine and was determined to neuter him, rabies vaccinate, deworm, and administer antibiotic, all in time to meet my friends for dinner.

My sister wasn't sure this was a good idea. After all, she proclaimed, how do you know he doesn't belong to somebody. I told her that even if he was someone's cat, they were a negligent owner for not feeding him, treating his ear mites, treating his respiratory infection and neutering him. I had claimed him as mine. After all, he was on my property and in obvious need of care.

I am fanatical about having all of my animals up to date on rabies vaccine. Every year, cats, dogs, cows, horses, and other animals develop rabies. The Maryland Health Department provides weekly updates on rabies cases in Maryland just to remind us that rabies is ever present in our area. At the clinic, we have seen our share of rabid animals. When humans are exposed or potentially exposed to

a rabid animal, the vaccines and immune globulin shots cost thousands of dollars. It is better to have every animal on the farm immunized with a cheap vaccine, and not take a chance of exposing people to rabies. Therefore, the new cat was soon to be immune to rabies.

I quickly gave the cat a shot of sedatives, neutered him, gave him a rabies shot, antibiotics, and gave him an all in one ear mite, deworm, and de-flea treatment. I figured he would likely be like my other cats and run away after that welcome to my house, but overall I knew I was doing the best thing for him. Much to my surprise, I was able to take care of the cat, feed horses, and still have time to change out of work clothes to be on time for dinner with friends. They too laughed at my "oh look, a new cat.

Let's give him a rabies shot" approach but agreed it was good.

The next morning I was stunned to see that not only was my cat still there but he was super friendly.

He knew that the best way to assure that I would love him, was to endear himself to the dogs and the horses. He promptly became a new friend to my puppy, Claire. He rubbed up on her, let her drool all over him, and played with her as I did morning chores. This further entrenched that he was staying. I decided perhaps I should buy some good cat food for him rather than the cheap cat food that I gave the chickens as a special treat. He would also need a warm bed and a good name.

The good name part would be a challenge. I'm notorious for giving animals horrible names. One poor cat received the name of Cali Moon Love Shadow. With a name like that I can't really blame her for running away. I had just named a horse "Spin Zippy Doc Bar's Impressive Heidi." While my cat was not a quarter horse, I decided that I would continue my famous quarter horse themed names for my cat.

I hadn't used the Peppy San Badger line so thought would be good for my cat. That, and an all black cat reminded me of Peppy le Pew, so it would tie together well for "Peppy Meow."

Peppy Meow quickly took to his new life. He enjoys feeding horses with me in the morning and playing with the dogs. He has no fear of the horses. He constantly rubs up against their legs and lets them sniff him. It wasn't long before Peppy Meow was sitting on Bart's back and enjoying the soft squishy warmth of my fuzzy draft/pony horse.

This cat is quickly turning me into a cat person. Not that I hated cats before, but I'd never found that perfect cat, and here he had just shown up and found me. Hopefully Peppy Meow will be happy in his place as my barn cat. Even if he decides to move on and become a neighbor's house cat, I know that he is better off due to the provided vet care.

Read other articles by Dr. Kim Brokaw