A simple solution … prayer

Tales from the front pew

To spay or not to spay; that is the question. The answer, of course, is a resounding “yes,” according to veterinary experts and folks who wisely strive to control pet overpopulation.

As a devoted cat mom, however, every time we make the decision to have one of our little girls spayed, I’m seized by short-term anxiety.

There’s no particular reason for my nervousness. We’ve had our cats Minnie, Boots and Patches each spayed with no significant complications, but I’m always afraid of the exception to the rule.

My current concerns revolve around Tiger, the newest addition to the Smith family. Tiger has actually been with us a little over a year, but somehow the time for spaying never seemed right … until now, that is.

My husband, Bob, and I both had a few days off from work, enabling us to be home for post-surgery monitoring and nurturing. And so, the decision was made.

I called our vet, made the appointment, and began fretting all in the course of one morning.

Just to make sure it was a good decision, I did the same research I’d done for our first three cats. It made a solid argument for spaying; less chance of urinary tract infections and considerably lower incidence of diseases like uterine cancer.

According to every article I read, having a cat spayed or neutered was both the responsible and loving thing to do in order to protect the feline and improve her quality of life.

Once again, I was sold on the idea.

Then I came across a related article about spaying after-care. Granted, I thought I was fairly well-equipped on that front, having been through it three times, but according to this expert, my care had been sorely lacking.

“Val,” I said to my daughter, who was seated across from me as I read, “this article says people shouldn’t let a newly-spayed cat go up and down stairs, use regular cat litter because it might irritate the incision, play, spend time around other pets in the family, be picked up, bathed or overstimulated in any way.”

“Hmmm,” she said, peering at me over her phone. “That’s a lot to keep track of.”

“Oh, that’s only a part of it,” I told her. “It also says we should keep the lights low, provide a soft bed or cozy box with a blanket inside for comfortable lounging and remove all objects that might make climbing a temptation.”

“Remove all objects?” Val repeated incredulously. “Good grief, we’re talking about a cat. The only thing she doesn’t climb is the walls, and I’ve seen her attempt that a few times. Maybe we shouldn’t bring her home at all but send her to a spa for recuperation. They can pipe in Yanni and massage her with catnip-infused essential oils.”

“Very funny, Val. Seriously, though, I don’t think I’ll be able to do half those things.”

“Then just do your best, mom, and pray.”

My daughter’s a wise woman. We often get caught up in fears and anxieties while forgetting that simple solution — prayer.

(Although I still might buy a Yanni CD. I kind of like that guy).