Dr. Steven Crews

Regular readers know about the great veterinary services our cats have had for years at Reelfoot Animal Hospital in a small corner of NW Tennessee.

But now all the pets and all of their owners are grieving the loss of one of the best cat veterinarians ever – Dr. Steven Crews. Dr. Crews had a remarkable way with cats – he knew where they were hurting, even though they couldn’t talk, and he kept searching for at least relief if not a cure for each one brought to him for treatment.

We’ve taken many, many cats to all the vets at Reelfoot, and this memorial isn’t meant to ignore any of them. But let me mention the special skills Dr. Crews had.

Our farm cat Callie May kept brushing at her face and eye, so we took her into town. He figured out our champion mouser had run into a bunch of weeds with hollow stems (doubtless while after a mouse), and a piece of one had broken off and lodged in her eye. Dr. Crews not only removed the bit of stem, but saved her eyesight in that eye.

He sewed Uno’s nose back in place when the cat had apparently fallen out of a tree and face-planted himself. After examination, Dr. Crews said there weren’t any bones broken and when the swelling went down, Uno should be as good as new. He was – almost. Once the swelling was gone, Uno had a nose which was off-kilter. The good doctor carefully put in three very tiny stitches and anchored Uno’s nose back where it belonged.

Our rescued strays and farm cats received the same empathetic and very skilled care our handpicked cats did. Dr. Crews diagnosed and successfully treated a very bad case of flea bite dermatitis for Seis, a black and white ‘cow cat.’ (Readers have seen Seis’ photos in these blogs too.)

When our tiny five-pound gray kitten got body-slammed on the sidewalk by her much bigger brother, she got up with a crick in her neck – and a tic. We rushed her to Dr. Crews, who did his usual careful examination and surmised neither condition was permanent. He was right, and now Gabby (Gabriella) is full-grown at eight pounds and terrorizes her bigger siblings – pay back.

He sewed Grayson’s toes back on his hind foot after a stray cat passing through the neighborhood had nearly bitten them off. Seventeen years later, he still walks without a limp.

Dr. Crews was also very sympathetic and helped several of our favorite cats across the Rainbow Bridge, using the latest and most humane two-injection procedure so it was nearly painless. What we appreciated most was that he allowed us to stay with our dearly-loved felines as the drugs worked, so we could say goodbye.

Now we have to say goodbye to a veterinarian who was so kind, so caring and down-to-earth, with the best bedside manner towards his patients and their owners. It’s a very hard parting, and way too soon.

Readers, if you have dedicated, gifted veterinarians who’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ for your fur kids, please – tell that doctor how much you appreciate the skill, the caring and the patience. Tell your vet frequently and often. They need to hear just how special they are.


Fred’s Portrait

Fred’s trying to select an official portrait to head his Freditorial column.

I suspect he’d really like to use the third photo, but as I told him, “I don’t think your readers are really going to believe that’s what you look like now, Fred. They’ve seen photos of you through the years, and while you did claim you were showing a ‘lion face’ for one snapshot, a face does not a lion make.”

“You need to just be yourself.”



What’s in a word?

Illustration by Addie Ledyard

From Oxford Languages: “cat”


a small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur, a short snout, and retractable claws. It is widely kept as a pet or for catching mice, and many breeds have been developed.

Urban Dictionary: “Cats”

Ninjas in fur suit with knives hidden in the paws.  Author – iwillneverbeafraidagain

Or: the things trying to kill you in your sleep, the things trying to protect you from the things trying to kill you in your sleep …

Author – considerthefollowing

From Your Dictionary: Cat meaning

A small, lithe, soft-furred animal (Felis cattus) of this family, domesticated since ancient times and often kept as a pet or for killing mice.

Or, as Gertrude Stein may have said, “A cat is a cat is a cat.”


No cats were harmed in this photo

While it looks like Spot completely lost her head, she really didn’t. No headless cats in this household, I’m glad to say. (Some people would say she ‘ate her head off’ after them seeing all the kibble bits on the floor.) She has an odd habit of propping her head on a cupboard, or, in this case, a freezer, and apparently is really comfortable doing so, as she stays in that position a long time.

This would’ve made quite a photo for Halloween.

It’s your trick that you played, Spot. But what were you hoping for as a treat?


Another legendary cat

This huge mural at Elysian Heights Elementary School in Los Angeles honors ‘Room 8,’ a stray gray cat who spent the school years from 1952 to 1968 being the much-beloved pet of all the kids. Room 8 was featured in many news stories over those long years, as well as having a book written about him, a movie and many tributes from the kids etched in the paving stones around the school. Atlas Obscura is keeping his legend alive.

You can read the rest of Room 8’s story here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/room-8-the-cat-mural

Editor’s nightmare

Abishag would’ve pointed out that she never made such blatant errors in her writing; the joke would’ve gone over her furry little head.

But she always let me know when something didn’t ‘sound right’ in a piece I was working on. Her comments ranged from a mild “Humph” to a look of “You’ve got to be kidding.” Given that look, I knew at least a paragraph was in dire need of rewriting.

A dear friend has said Abishag is doubtless hard at work on more books and now has her very own typewriter (paw writer? claw writer?) to set down her thoughts.

However, I don’t think any old modified typewriter would do. Abishag has the latest model of laptop, on top of her own desk. And woe betide any brother, named Ira or not, who bothers her while she’s writing or thinking. Abishag always believed in immediate correction – and she has one heck of a right hook.