How does one find a vein in a cat?

Part of my preparation in moving to London involves moving the cats over there. In the past (I believe before around 2000), the rule was, if you wanted your pets to move with you, you had to quarantine them for 6 months. In my world, that sounds like bringing them to the UK and keeping them in a cage for 6 months. That’s downright cruel to a pet-owner. Thankfully, this rule has been changed so that the cats can move 6 months after a rabies-free blood test as long as all their shots are up-to-date and they have a microchip in them.

Since I really kind of like my cats, I decided I would do what it takes to get them across the pond to England. The first two steps were easy (they are already chipped and they were due for their rabies tests anyways). Little did I know that the third part, the blood test, would be such an ordeal.

Now, to my human perspective, all you need to do for a blood test is to stick your arm out and have them put a needle in your arm for a little bit. No big deal. Cats aren’t quite as good. First of all, they are cats and, by their very nature, a little bit squirmy. Second, how exactly do you find a vein to stick a needle in when they have all that fur. Yesterday, I foud out how they do it.

I’m pretty sure that, as far as my cats go, I’m a wimp. If they so much as look funny, I decide they are deathly ill. So picture my reaction to watching a vet assistant holding one of my cats (Anna went first) in a head lock while the vet probes around looking for a pulse on one of my cats front legs, then back legs, then neck. Each time, he jabbed her with a needle and she twitched and growled and freaked out. Meanwhile, he couldn’t quite tap a vein and she is completely freaked out and pissed. Finally, he shaves a tuft of hair from her neck and gets about 1/4 the needed blood. In the end, he got just about the right amount. And it only took 10 tries!! 🙂

Chewy went second and if you were wondering about my vet’s competence, he managed to strike blood on the first try. And Chewy was a good patient. He was, however, the model of a split personality. His big beautiful eyes had a total look of fear in him. His left front paw, however, was doing this kneading action with his claws. This is something he does when he’s relaxed and comfortable!

Anyways, as long as the tests come back clean, the clock starts ticking today and the cats will spend 6 months in CT and Michigan with my parents and then will be sent over the UK to live the life of British cats. Only one more checkup (no shots, no needles) to go!

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