The never-ending cat dissection

November 9, 2012

For the past seven painful weeks, we have been dissecting the cat in anatomy lab. Well, alright, I’m exaggerating. Bur it was absolutely repulsive at first – making the first incision, watching the juices squirt out – I really could hardly watch. Thank goodness for my lab partner who held my hand through it all. A cat lover myself, I couldn’t even imagine taking a knife to the creature! But one morning, my lab partner didn’t show up, and he proceeded to be absent for days and days. He ended up having to drop out of school all together, and I was left to cut open this little kitty on my own. (I don’t think my lab partner knew how much he meant to me, or maybe he would have stayed!...)

I approached the professor about this, panicked: “I don’t have a lab partner! Shall I make a group of three?” I said, hoping she would go with me on this. “You know, you’d be surprised how efficient you can be working alone,” she insisted. Yeah right, I thought. This class is going to be a nightmare, I thought. But to my complete surprise, she was right! I grew fond of dissecting the cat alone. I developed immunity to the foulness of it all and started to find it interesting. All of the systems we had discussed in lecture were now right in front of me, in the flesh! It became fun to poke around and find organs and walls and veins. Plus, because I had the cat all to myself, I was able to study the parts more thoroughly. 

I must share one spooky incident however, which believe it or not, took place well after the whole process of tossing my cat out of the bag and placing it on the dissection tray had become ‘old hat’. I had gone to the lab on my own one day to review the femoral muscles for an upcoming test. I was the only one in there, and as I searched through drawers and drawers of kitties, I started to spook myself out. I couldn’t find my cat for the life of me, and there they all were, staring at me with their paws outstretched toward me, like they were begging me to bring them back to life or something. (Funny, at the beginning, pretending to dissect them in order to bring them back to life, kind of like the whole Frankenstein deal, was how I kept myself sane.) But I was used to this by now – why am I so frightened!? I thought. To make matters worse (or funny, depending on who you are), the only way I could tell my cat apart from the others was what I called its “crazy eyes” and the slanted position of its tongue. Finally, I found my cat, but I had already given myself the jeepers, so I didn’t spend very much time with her…Sorry, Gladys.

I definitely learned a lot about myself during this cat dissection however. I am a lot braver than I thought. Maybe I should try sticking to more things I despise at first – I might just grow to enjoy them…


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