Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon
Roger Salmon

As a vet one has many amusing incidents particularly associated with animals and such was the case with Rupert the cat.

Rupert had been brought in by an old lady to be put to sleep as the accommodation she was moving into did not allow the possession of animals.

Vets however hate to put healthy animals to sleep as their whole existence is structured around the saving of life so, with little persuasion needed, the old lady agreed that I should keep the cat and hopefully find a home for him.

Rupert, which was a new name I gave to him, was a big strong, longhaired cat, something like a Maine Coon but with an adorable nature who wanted to be friends with everyone.

In the ward we had a bank of cages above the dog kennels where we kept the cats waiting for operations or for having treatment and it was into one of these that we put Rupert. Every time I walked past his cage he put his paw through the bars to try and get me to take notice of him, which of course was quite endearing.

One day we had a dog in for an operation and all went well until the owner arrived to collect the dog. When the nurse went to get the dog out of the kennel it became rather aggressive so we asked the owner to come through and extract it from the kennel which seemed to be working quite well.

However, as the owner was bending down to get the dog Rupert, in the cage above, reached down and grabbed hold of her hair, which unfortunately was a wig, whipped it back into his cage and proceeded to attack this black curly rat (wig). The nurse and I were horrified to see this poor woman with a bald head and yet it was difficult to stifle our laughter which was welling up behind our hands clutched over our mouths. By this time Rupert had managed to tear chunks out of the wig as both his front and back legs were attacking this imaginary rat.

Swiftly we recovered the wig, covered in cat saliva and with large gaps, returned it to the owner with profuse apologies, who promptly plopped it back on her head and with great aplomb said you will be more embarrassed than I am and walked sedately out of the surgery.