Clinic Cat of the Year 2015 Winners- Where are they now?
From receptionists and counsellors, to food inspectors and PR managers- our clinic cats are as much a part of the clinic family as the humans that work there.
Five months on from the conclusion of Dermcare's Clinic Cat of the Year 2015 competition, we take five with a few of our prize winners to see how the competition has impacted their lives.
Since winning Clinic Cat of the Year, how was your day to day life changed?
Hector: The day to day schedule hasn't really changed, it's just a lot busier with all the paparazzi and clients wanting photos and autographs, but I knew that would come with the celebrity status.
Basil: I am finally being treated with the respect and admiration I so deserve. However, one of our patients was clearly jealous of my title as he attacked me. I’m now a little more careful around big fluffy Husky type dogs. I will be the December model in our surgery calendar, my picture will feature me with my sash and trophy.
Miss Puss: I seem to get more out of life! The staff are bending over backwards nowadays to please me, I get extra chicken treats at random, my bed-time has been extended a few times (rather than my 6:30pm curfew), I got a new house! A very comfy strawberry pod where I take my morning, lunchtime and afternoon naps! And in general more love from everyone around me! And unfortunately due to no fault of my own I developed a bad ear infection which results in daily medication for 3-4 weeks, It was not the attention I was looking for; I get played everyday at different times for what I think is cuddle time only to have foul liquid poured into my ear!
Buttons: My profile around our country town Bathurst has definitely increased. Television station Prime 7 did a 6pm news story about me after my win and the Western Advocate newspaper regularly feature my activities and often come to photograph me. Many visitors come to the vet hospital just to meet me and have a selfie. My staff have made another calendar of me this year and also there are now coffee mugs with my face on them!
Shirley: Well I do get noticed more now by my adoring fans/clients
Ernie: I have many fans who can’t wait to see me when they visit the clinic & who demand to see me on the clinic Facebook page at least once a week. They really like it when I dress for certain occasions like Halloween, Melbourne Cup Day & Christmas! It seems to amuse everyone, especially my staff. Lots of people come & look to see if I’m on my chair in the waiting room looking to the outside. Some of the kindy kids from around the corner come & ask if they can pat me. Of course I oblige. You have to keep the fans happy.
Fifi: Firstly I had to organize my party. Then Nurse Helene from Elanora Veterinary Clinic where the winner, Ernie lives, organized a photo shoot & interview with the local paper, the Manly Daily. She told them how we are both small clinics & that Northern Beaches (of Sydney) clinic cats rule! There were lots of people there: some of their clients insisted on watching us! I wore my hot fuchsia bandana (clinic colours of course) & was very well mannered. Ernie wore his bow tie & hissed at me! Well, I was on his turf. It was great: they only mentioned MY name in the headline! Lots of clients saw the article.... now I spend a lot of time in reception, so I get way more lovely comments than ever before. I
How did you celebrate taking out Clinic Cat of the Year?
Basil: My photo was put on our website and our Facebook page. I got massive amounts of congratulations from everyone.
Shirley: I celebrated with a few quite liver treats in my bed.
Hector: My staff threw me a party- it was the biggest amount of catnip I've ever seen! I was in heaven!! Meow!!
Ernie: I didn’t want a huge party so I celebrated with the nurses by having special food & lots of hugs & pats. The nurses were as thrilled as I was. They kept telling me that I was a very clever boy. I received many cards & gifts from my adoring fans & everyone who came to the clinic was overjoyed by my win & reminded us all that they had voted for me.
Buttons: My staff organised a morning tea and we invited Kylie from Dermcare to join in. They gave me flaky tuna and broth and I got to pose in front of the camera with my sash and trophy. The newspaper came the same day in the afternoon to report on my win.
Fifi: I held a party on a Saturday morning & about 80 clients & 20 dogs & 2 of the higher species came along. There was George Clooney, the coffee machine & the best muffins a human has ever tasted made by our Vet Nurse & Chef Michele. Oh & some healthy dog treats. Everyone, except 1 cat had a lovely time. I sat up in my new cat bed on top of the printer/ fax & was admired constantly. Such fun! And no dog could reach me.
Miss Puss: I celebrated with a well deserved nap on the reception lounges due to all the excitement, I was quite exhausted from all the attention! My nurses then decided to do a photo-shoot with all my winnings and boast about my win all over social media! You could say our clients are big fans!!
Will you be running for Clinic Cat of the Year in 2016?
Basil: I think I should be fair to other cats and maybe someone else can have a chance of winning because if I enter I’m sure to win again.
Shirley: I would love to run for clinic cat of the year next year
Ernie: I don’t think so. It was very time consuming & stressful for everyone at the clinic. My staff had lots of fun campaigning for votes when they should have been working (or feeding me)!
Buttons: Of course! My staff are already planning my campaign. I’m thinking bumper stickers, posters, t-shirts, etc as well as strong social media presence. I’ve got it all planned – they just need to ask me!
Miss Puss: Absolutely! And this time I am planning to take out the entire competition and become Australia's clinic cat of the year!
Fifi: No, as I feel I need to let other cats win something now. Having won Best Vets Pet Photo Competition 2014 & appearing on the front of the December issue of the Centre for Veterinary Education’s Control & Therapy, it has been a busy few years for me.
Hector: Yes, I consider myself a long term contestant. My role at my hospital gets more vital each year.
What advice would you give other clinic cats (general advice, running for Clinic Cat of the Year 2016 etc)?
Miss Puss: Just in general if you want to avoid medications or check overs, be sure to be discrete and be out of site of any staff members! Or you could land yourself with daily ear treatments for 4 weeks and weekly bottom checks for scooting! Also be kind to clients at all times! Or you may get scolded and banished from the reception desk for the day, I find that if you give attitude to the staff members they take it a-lot better than clients and/or their children!Basil: Make sure you smooch up to all the clients so they will vote for you.
Shirley: My advice to other clinic cats would be smooch and purr ! That’s my method of winning over our lovely clients. I would just like to say thankyou to all the lovely people who voted for me!
Ernie: Dress sharp, act cool & be yourself. Be nice to EVERYONE: No hissing, biting or ignoring the clients or staff. Make sure you have a good campaign manager & start campaigning as early as possible. Have a high profile like Facebook. Social media is a wonderful invention!!
Buttons: Make your staff work for you and don’t get overwhelmed by the media. Just go with it. Get lots of sleep.
Fifi: Always look your best. Personal hygiene Is of the utmost importance. Do not let the competition interfere with your clinic management duties.
Dermcare's Clinic Cat of the Year competition will be returning in 2016! At Dermcare, we love getting to know ALL clinic staff members, including the animal type- we can't wait to see what the 2016 campaign trail looks like!!!
Many thanks to the participating Clinic Cats for sparing time in their busy day!
Ernie- Elanora Vet Clinic (National Winner)
Fifi- Sydney Road Veterinary Clinic (National Runner Up)
Hector- Heights Pet Hospital (NSW Winner)
Buttons- Stewart St Vet Hospital (NSW Winner)
Basil- Salisbury Highway Veterinary Surgery (SA Winner)
Shirley- Mayfair Vet Clinic Sandy Bay (TAS Winner)
Miss Puss- Litchfield Vet (NT Winner)