I've been attending in a veterinary clinic for my two-week clinical placement. Today is my final day in that facility- looking forward to complete a total or 6 out of 11 weeks phase-3 extramural studies required by the university.
At around midday yesterday the vet asked me to place an intravenous catheter on a 24-week old kitten. Initially, the creature looked very friendly but when the nurse started to restrain it for the needling, the procedure wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. The (young) kitten attempted to scratch, and it whined a lot! Early in the afternoon, another cat came in. It was a quiet, alert and responsive 22-year old cat owned by an elderly couple. Their old cat was brought in for euthanasia because most of its organ-systems were apparently not functioning well. While the veterinarian was placing an IV catheter to this aged cat, the nurse didn't even need to hold it- the old cat didn't seem to feel any pain at all.
I was thinking that the 22-year cat might have been to the clinic for countless of times already... and might have experienced varying types and levels of distress or discomforts throughout its life... that a quick prick of a needle wasn't even considered 'painful' for this lovely, brave cat.
Reflecting on it, I realised that in this world I was still a kitten.