Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sometimes a little song helps

I keep this photograph of Chase Bird on my computer desktop at work. It's a favorite. 

A couple of weeks ago, we took Chase Bird to the vet’s office to get his rabies vaccination updated and a skin irritation checked.
We waited for a day that we could both go because Chase Bird does not like to go to the vet’s office.

He does not like to go to the vet’s office.

The last time we took him in for his rabies shot, he got away from the vet technician holding him. He ran around the exam room, and then he jumped on top of the counter, where he quickly destroyed the neat bins of empty plastic hypodermic tubes and other supplies. The countertop was a wreck by the time we caught him.
He’s been to the emergency hospital once since then, for stomach issues. He cried all the way there and all the way home.

Two weeks ago, he cried in the car on the way to the vet’s and continued into the office. We talked to him, trying to soothe him, but it didn’t do any good.

While we waited in the exam room, Chase huddled in the back of the carrier, wailing. Finally, I started to sing.

Chase Bird, Chase Bird,
You’re our little boy.
Papa loves you so,
Mama loves you too,
You’re our little boy . . . .

And on and on, making it up as I went.

Chase Bird’s eyes got bigger. He cried a bit, but more softly. His little shoulders, held up high, lowered. He moved up to the front of the carrier where Larry and I could reach his chin to scratch.

When I stopped singing, he started crying again. So I kept singing.

Until the vet and her assistant came in. Then he wasn’t interested in my singing.

Despite his noise and resistance, the vet examined him. We told her how Chase Bird has been licking his stomach and back legs so much that his fur has gotten thinner there.
His licking started soon after we gave him full range of the house last fall. We had to keep him and Sam separated, though they saw each other and interacted through a gate.
After Sam died, his whole routine changed. Our vet agrees that the loss of Sam and the new environment could be making him anxious.
We’re also looking at a possible allergy, making some adjustments in his diet.
He seems to be licking less. He continues to hang out with us and enjoys playing. He still spends at least part of the night sleeping on my feet.
We want to get a couple of diffusers to use for the pheromones that soothe some cats’ anxiety. We try to create a peaceful environment for him.
And I think he likes his Mama to sing to him.

Do you ever sing to your pets?


  1. Oh Tina that is so sweet I think music soothes everyone and I guess Chase Bird is no different than the rest of us, that is great.I am sure things will turn around with his licking and he will be happy and calm again just you keep singing. Hug B

  2. Awwwwww, I hope Chase Bird is feeling better soon. I had to take my daughters cat on a 2 hour car trip - and found that as long as I was singing he would stop crying. He seems to prefer alternative-folksy music to Christmas carols :-)

  3. aww, that is sweet. i am glad you can soothe your animal friends. so perfect. i bet it really helped Chase Bird in the long run. ( :

  4. I hope chase Birds feels better soon, our oldest pulls or licks her hair too worse with long separations from me or then she began on her front legs after our TT was put down, I will look forward to hearing how CB improves with interest. On a funny note, our cats cry when I sing as does our dog, honestly!

  5. Have you tried any of the anxiety drops for him before going to the vet? The ones from flower extracts? They are specific to pets, you can get them at high end pet stores - there is one in Roanoke called Natures Emporium that carries a wide variety.

    I remember once hiking with Pierce in a backpack when he was 10 month old. He was teething and would only stop crying when paul and I sang Old McDonald. We had to sing that song for 4 miles.

  6. This is so beautiful Tina. You soothed him in his time of fear, which isn't easy to do with a cat!! I don't sing to my cat though, if I did she would run away forever lol.

  7. I love that your singing calms him. I think she may be right about the grieving and anxiety -- when Stimpy died, Gypsy did the same thing. He licked his stomach completely bare. It took a couple of years for it to grow back, but it did. Animals do grieve. I noticed that Lisa from Two Bears mentioned the flower extracts. I ordered mine online from Green Hope Farm and they really helped Gypsy's car riding anxiety (the one I got was called "Anxiety"). When the vet suggested them to me, I wondered if the emperor was wearing any clothes but they were a godsend.

    One other thing -- I'm sure you love your vet so changing isn't an option. But during the Gypsy years I found a wonderful vet who visited the house. It really made the exams and all that much easier. It's worth a look if you're on the fence with the vet and the car rides are too terrible. Sending big hugs to you and lots of 'pets' to Chase Bird!

  8. i talk to them a lot. sing once in a while - mostly weird little sing-song made-up stuff when they're goofy. :)

  9. I love it! I always sang to my pets. One of my dogs liked to dance with me, too.

  10. I think singing is almost always pets, children, and ourselves!

  11. Aw, sweet that your singing soothed him.

  12. Chase Bird is so beautiful! I remember the anxiety of taking my cats to the vet. It was never easy. I never thought to sing to them, but sometimes I sing to our pug Olive when I am home alone with her. She seems to like it. At least she doesn't run and hide like a person might if they heard me sing. I hope Chase Bird feels better soon!!

  13. How neat that Chase Bird responded so positively to your song. Such a sweet story. He is a very beautiful cat.

  14. Sweet photo of Chase Bird, and how nice that he responded so well to your song, Tina! I talk to cats...and sometimes sing to them, too. :)

  15. Such a sweet connection you two have. I don't have any pets, but I do think I would talk/sing to a pet if I had one!!

  16. Aw, Chase Bird. You don't like to go to the doctor, do you? Well, my cats don't either so I think this is normal. It's nice that your mama sings to you. I hope you take all your medicine so you'll feel better and not lick so much. And be sure to let your mama know how much you love her.

    Yes. I sing and talk to my cats all the time. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

  17. Poor Chase -- how sweet of you to try and calm him with your song. xo

  18. I'm sure he likes singing. I wish someone would sing to me when I have to get a blood test. One of my least favorite times.


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