Cat Tales

At times during the Korean War, the USS SAINT PAUL "carried the flag" for the Commander, Cruiser Division One. At one point I was invited by the Admiral to join him in his quarters for dinner. I accepted of course. Following dinner the conversation turned to his elderly cat Geronimo, which had accompanied him on board. Geronimo had developed a scaly and hairless tail and associated increasing lethargy, which had defied all veterinary efforts. The Admiral had recently read an article describing the signs and symptoms of a deficient thyroid in humans. Some of these phenomena fit the cat to a "T". I speculated that this could be a possibility, a speculation that I, and others would soon regret.

Corpsmen "volunteered" to administer the daily pill, however it was apparent that the cat recognized the adultered food and refused to eat. It became necessary to place the tablet deep into the cat's throat. Geronimo thought even less of these efforts and resisted with increasing determination. Corpsmen returned to sick bay with torn clothing, bites and scratches and it appeared that a mutiny was in the making. However, early results were encouraging and we persisted. Geronimo certainly became less lethargic. His eyes glittered and he stalked about the cabin emitting serious noises. He no longer hid in the corner, but when corsmen approached he immediately charged and threatened bodily harm. The problem was resolved when the Admiral returned to quarters one evening, and Geronimo leaped straight up in the air, then attacked. As is not unusual in medicine, the treatment was worse than the disease. The experiment was terminated.

Clifford C. Roosa, M. D.