Critters Diversity

The lion walks tonight

Today I took Zoe to the vet for her six months checkup, both for her rare seizures and her slightly enlarged thyroid gland. The doctor and I talked about putting Zoe on Phenol Barbital, a small risk anti-seizure drug for cats. However, roommate and I are hesitant to start her on a lifetime medicine when her seizures are about one every two years.

We spent a fairly long time chatting, which unfortunately made the doctor late for her next appointment. In the office afterwards, paying the bill, a large, heavyset man stormed out of one of the waiting rooms into the reception area, complaining bitterly about having to wait 20 minutes for the doctor.

After he stormed away, I apologized to the receptionist and she said not to worry about it; that his behavior wasn’t uncommon with men, especially middle aged men, as the place is very female centric and this brings out the male need to assert their dominant status.

I hadn’t noticed before, but the cat clinic does have a strongly feminine environment. All the doctors and assistants and other office workers are women, and the décor has a very feminine, feline feel to it–not to mention that all the cats that wonder around the office are also female.

All except the newest addition to the office — an eight week old orange tabby kitten that jumped up on the receptionist’s keyboard when she was making out my bill (”Well, your bill is now 362.00 dollars”); and then jumped up on the counter and immediately planted it’s tiny paws on my chest, gazing at me with eyes gold and round and very intense.

Entranced, I stroked and coo’d, which he seemed to take as encouragement, for it launched itself down from the counter to the floor (me catching it halfway, because that was a heck of a jump), and he immediately went over to Zoe’s carrier and started batting at her with his paws through the wire.

Zoe was hunkered down in the corner in misery, as she always is when at the vet’s and ignored him at first. But he was having none of this and after about a minute, she was nose to nose with him, each softly batting at each her, she as charmed by this wonderful little character, as I was.

I asked the receptionist who the new kitten was, and she said he was another abandoned kitten, dropped off at the office. The clinic won’t turn any cat away, and after making sure they’re healthy and nicely social, the workers manage to always find a home for the orphans. It took every ounce of self-control — every ounce! — not to pop up with, “I’ll take him!”

The receptionist turned back to the bill, dropping the eight blood tests that the kitten had added with his dance on the keyboard, while I watched the kitten gambol about the room. Suddenly, we hear a door slam, and heavy footsteps stomping down the corridor.

It’s the Big Man again, and he enters the room, drawing his breath to start huffing and puffing about his importance and how his time is valuable. However, the kitten spots him from across the room, makes a mad dash straight for him, and then with a flying leap, plants his tiny little kitten claws into the mans polyester pants, and starts climbing his leg, for all its little worth.

The man was startled, and sputtered out in surprise, looking down at this little kitten hanging off his leg, looking up at him. After just a moment of man and kitten staring at each other, the kitten jumps down from his leg, and glaring equally at me and the receptionist, the man storms off without saying a word. The kitten watches after him a moment, and then starts its mad dash around the room again.

The receptionist and I look at each other, both trying not to laugh; a resolve I couldn’t maintain when she turned back to the bill, casually tossing out about, “…knowing who’s the dominant male in the place is now, don’t we?”

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