What do you do on a Sunday night in Paris when you find your cat uncharacteristically expelling his food (violently), instead of inhaling it?
Why, call SOS Vetérinaires. In fact, when I phoned my regular vet hoping to get the SOS number from the recorded greeting, my call was instead automatically redirected to the Emergency Hotline.
Within an hour and a half, Mats was splayed on top of our dining table, quietly growling at the indignity of rectal thermometers. The vet was tall, young, blond and handsome, and — as if to underline all those attributes— wore a firefighter’s 3/4 length jacket, the kind in black canvas with yellow reflective stripes on the sleeves and bottom. He carried a large grey plastic toolbox from which he gave Mats several anti-nausea injections, and then handed me a sachet of chalky white goo to feed him an hour later.
Being a French vet, he also gave me a lecture: “Your cat is too fat. His fur is bad. He must be tested for diabetes and potentially pancreatitis. He must lose weight.”
As I began to explain the series of diets we’ve been trying for the past year, he continued his spiel, ignoring my interjections:
“…but it is not the fault of the cat. It is not he who buys the groceries, hein?” He gave me a knowing smirk. Grrr. I started to get annoyed.
As he prepared to launch into a diatribe on the sins of grocery store cat food, I realized that this time, being at home, I could actually prove that I was not free-feeding him Purina Cat Chow and pulled out out a box of Mats’s only-available-from-a-veterinarian, ‘kidney-formula’ food sachets. So happily, that particular lecture was cut short.
Instead, in complete contradiction of my regular French vet, he advised that while Mats must lose weight he must never go hungry (those who have spent any time in the presense of Mats will be able to appreciate the humour). Apparently going hungry causes too much stress (no wonder Mats has early-onset kidney disease). Solution: top up his food dish with puréed zucchini, which is high in fibre, and low in nutritional value.
The tally for the 30 minute visit at just before midnight, including the injections, was about double the cost of a standard vet consultation here.
Most amazingly, when I phoned my regular vet at 10 am today to schedule the tests, the assistant was already up to speed: “Oh, Madame Hosking, how is he today? When can Mats come in for the blood tests?”. Apparently the SOS vet automatically emails a summary of the visit to the regular vet.
It is at times like these that I find it hard to believe that this is still the same country that requires most things, from applying for a continuing-education evening course to obtaining a healthcare card, to be done via triplicate forms written in longhand (carbon paper doesn’t appear to exist in France) and then snail-mailed to the appropriate administrative fiefdom.
|From recuperating cat|