My tabby boy, Oliver, wouldn’t appreciate my sharing his private medical issues, but I can beat him to the paper.

Lately he’s been turning his nose up at some fine dishes laid upon his table. Though some cats are finicky, Oliver has never fit that category. So a vet check seemed in order.

I confess that I am one of those who consider their pets to be family members. I know I’m far from alone here, judging by the new line of fall outfits on display at Petsmart. No, I do not. But when Oliver is off his feed or showing me his pathetic waif eyes, my closest friends field my worries multiple times until my phone calls and emails fall unheeded. Not really, my friends are a patient lot.

Southern Oregon boasts a fairly large number of competent and compassionate veterinarians, many who are full to capacity and not taking new clients. I was on the hunt for a new kitty doc.

Casanova Ollie likes the women. I figured he’d opt for the feminine touch. He exhibits his obvious preference for females every time I have a friend over who is one. I feel like yesterday’s hash when he grovels at her feet and meows until she gives him his due, even to the extent of licking her feet in one case. But should a man enter the domicile, Ollie races up the stairs as if the visitor is an assassin on his trail.

I asked my friend Denise whether she could recommend someone she liked for her feline, Lizzie, and she told me about Jennifer Wicklund at Wicklund Veterinary Care. I checked out her glowing reviews on Facebook, and when she was able to see us that day, I took it as a sign.

The drive was predictably miserable. Complaints from the carrier sounded from the moment we left the driveway, even though Mozart tried to sooth us. As some readers may recall from our fateful trip to Klamath Falls to escape the valley smoke a few years back, Oliver is not a car person.

I arrived 30 minutes early. What was I thinking? But that gave Oliver a chance to explore every quarter inch of the examining room, including the top of the doctor’s cabinet, vocalizing his disdain the entire time. Suddenly, he didn’t seem sick at all. What was I doing bringing a vocalizing, leaping and vigorous animal to the vet with my income level?

He received a thorough going over, nail trim and even a blood draw, astoundingly without complaint. Thank you, Dr. Wicklund and staff. Janielle, you are a treasure and I’m sure Ollie has a huge crush on you. I can’t crow enough about their high levels of care and compassion, for pets and their humans.

I think I’m onto Oliver’s scheme. It’s a health food hunger strike. Tonight, out of sheer frustration, I opened a can of tuna. If he didn’t want tuna, he had one foot in his sixth or seventh life. Well, he scarfed it. Then I tossed all fancy, expensive food theories to the breeze and drove to Ray’s for some good old Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Delight or something. He devoured that as well. After months of nothing but grain-free, artificial-this-and-that free and maybe flavor-free dining, Ollie had declared a moratorium. At the ripe old age of 13, I felt he had this coming. I mean, we’re all apt to stray from the regimen now and then, mostly now.

This morning I received a call from Dr. Wicklund with his test results. Though the news might have been far worse, I learned Oliver has a slightly overactive thyroid — something that can be managed. The best part was when she told us (Ollie was listening in) that Fancy Feast wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was often recommended for certain cats. Oliver, with telltale gravy on his whiskers, gives her two paws up.

— Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Email her at pcdover@hotmail.com.