Dr. Deyton’s Office Cats, Part 1: Gracie’s Big Adventure

One of the unique features of our office is the view from the dental chair. If you’re lucky, during your appointment you may catch a glimpse of one of our office cats, Gracie or Houdini. They live and play in the grassy area right outside the staff entrance to the Deyton Dentistry office, and the cats’ feeding station and cold-weather shelter are visible from several of the rooms in the office. You might see Houdini (we call her “Hou” for short) or Gracie ambling past the window or taking a nap in one of the chairs by their food bowls. Last week our staff even celebrated their birthday—with a cake and everything!

Patients often ask us how the cats got their names, especially Houdini. That’s a story that starts several years ago. Sometimes I stay at the office after hours to work on things like writing articles for publication, and in the spring or fall when the weather is nice, I might leave the back door open to enjoy the weather. One day, I noticed a gray long-haired tuxedo cat there at the open door, and she kept coming around to visit. She clearly belonged to someone, as she seemed well taken care of and wasn’t scared of people. She would never let me pet her, but she would lie on the sidewalk just outside the door while I was working, and if I walked out the back door she would follow me around.

We noticed that this cat was very clearly pregnant, but couldn’t find who she belonged too. She kept hanging around the office and we started calling her “Mama Cat” and making sure she had food and water. After she had her litter, we found homes for most of the kittens, and not having found her owners, we tried to capture her to have her spayed, but Mama Cat was elusive. Two of the kittens from that first litter, Tux and Fluffy, came home to live with us. But before we knew it, Mama Cat was pregnant again. As with the first litter, we found homes for all but two of the kittens, which the office ended up adopting.

When they were old enough, we attempted to trap the kittens along with Mama Cat to have them spayed. The first kitten that we were able to catch, we named Gracie.

The day we got her fixed, we had brought her into the consulting room to recuperate from her surgery, thinking she would be safe in there with the door closed. But when we came back in to check on her, we couldn’t find her anywhere. If you’ve been to our office, you know that our consulting room is small, with nowhere for a cat to go. I went into the room and closed the door, and after sitting silently for a couple of minutes, I heard a little “mew.” It turned out that she had crawled into the back of a console table and managed to wedge herself behind a drawer where we couldn’t reach her.

Normally we would have just taken out the drawer, but this console was built in such a way that the drawers couldn’t be removed. We ended up taking everything off the table and everything out of all the drawers and turning the table upside down, and yet STILL she refused to come out from behind the drawer. In the meantime, while all of this was going on, Mama Cat had been walking around the building meowing and looking for Gracie.

Finally, we had the bright idea to open the back door so that Gracie would hear Mama Cat meowing and go outside to join her—and, sure enough, it worked! Gracie ran to Mama Cat and it was truly a mother and child reunion. They were inseparable for the rest of the night.

Tune in next time to hear the story of how Houdini got her name!

Call us for an appointment: (816) 587-6444 (or just come over to visit with the cats.)

 

Gracie

(Gracie enjoying the sun this winter)

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