We get Bill today

  1. Bill the Cat, that is. I've been up part of the night just dreading Anatomy class today.:stone Please, someone tell me that there is educational merit in dissecting a cat in a human anatomy class, and this isn't just some sort of sick right of passage! Any suggestions for getting through this grisly event are greatly appreciated!
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   studentnurse74
    Oohhh....they named yours....too personal. I don't know what your class will be like, but when we had our cat in ANP, he was a preserved one. He had a flap cut out of his stomach, so the instructor just opened the flap and showed us all the parts. I didn't have to cut him myself. I love cats, so I just stood in the very back and just barely glanced.
  4. by   Roseyposey
    I've been calling it "Bill"...remember Bloom County? Anyway, from what I understand, they're preserved but intact. I think we pair off in groups of two or three, and our first task is to skin it.
  5. by   studentnurse74
    Quote from JKCMom
    I've been calling it "Bill"...remember Bloom County? Anyway, from what I understand, they're preserved but intact. I think we pair off in groups of two or three, and our first task is to skin it.
    Let us know how that goes. We weren't required to touch our cat in any way.
  6. by   Achoo!
    we didn't have a cat to dissect, we had a cadaver, and they didn't tell us his name. By the end of the class, most of us were moving muscles around and moving things to observe. Guess you get used to it.
  7. by   elkpark
    We got a whole, "intact" cat per pair of students, and fully dissected them (starting with the initial incision) over the semester. It was v. interesting and, yes, v. worthwhile in terms of learning about human A&P.

    Our lab partners were assigned, not chosen ourselves, and I noticed early on that my partner (not someone I would have picked) was a little too enthusiastic to suit me -- each time she was working on the cat, I'd suddenly hear her say, "Whooops! I don't think I was supposed to cut that!" So, early on, I started making sure I was the one to go pick up our dissecting set, and I'd take out all the sharps before I got back to the table -- she was only allowed to use the blunt instruments! :chuckle (She was okay with that, since she wanted to get a good grade, too ... )
  8. by   RN-PA
    No words of wisdom here. When I was taking A&P, I specifically chose an instructor who didn't dissect cats because I'm an extreme cat lover (I love all animals as well.) We dissected a fetal pig which was bad enough, but I know I couldn't have handled a cat. Good luck to you, and all I can say is try to look at the cat as clinically as possible. Would it help to cover its face with something? :stone
  9. by   Katnip
    We dissected our cats. We named them. It's just something that you learn to deal with. Our group's cat happened to look a heck of a lot like our pet. Couldn't switch, though. I got over it.

    It wasn't easy at first, but once you start getting into the panic mode of knowing you're going to have to identify all those muscles and veins for an exam, you will get past the grossness of it.
  10. by   traumaRUs
    Gosh - when I was in LPN A&P we dissected a cat - all I remember is how heavy the pans were that held them. In the ADN program - we got to go to the coroner's office and that was the coolest thing - because then everything made sense. For the BSN/MSN - I don't get anything to cut up - darn it - lol! Good luck.
  11. by   JudithL_in_NH
    Not my fave thing, but I did some heavy-duty sciences in high school and dissected enough creatures to do me for a lifetime. IMHO, computer sims of dissections have comparable value--there are some awesome websites out there--good to use as an adjunct to what you do in lab. My personal favorite is the virtual pig dissection: http://www.whitman.edu/biology/vpd/main.html

    My HS daughter is into big-time science classes--over the last several weeks (school ended for her yesterday) we've had a rat in residence on the dining room table in various states of evisceration--now his bones are mounted, though she set the bones out on the front porch to dry and a chipmunk stole the mandible--have no idea what he plans to do with it :chuckle

    My program had us work in pairs or triples--did the fetal pig thing and sheep eyes, somebody's brain, and I forget what else. I mostly observed, which was fine with the teacher who had a "do what you're comfortable with" kind of attitude--we still had to know and understand everything, but hands-on was optional.

    My main gripe with dissection is that preserved organs in God's little furry creatures aren't really the same as what you're going to see oxygenated, throbbing, and bleeding in a human in the ED or OR or when dressing an eviscerated wound--so I've never felt it was a truly useful exercise. Other folks feel differently.

    Good luck in the class! You do get used to it.
  12. by   RN-PA
    I thought I'd add that, in spite of my love for animals, I recently found a dead headless mouse in the basement that my cat had killed, with it's innards strewed around. Once my sadness dissipated, I surprised myself by leaning over the tiny thing and tried to figure out the organs I was seeing. "Hmmmmm.... Is that its stomach or the liver? And what's that little bean-shaped organ? Is that the kidney?"

    Wonders never cease. But I couldn't BEAR to think about what happened to its itty-bitty head. :uhoh21:
  13. by   wonderbee
    Ours was named Simba. He was the king of the lab cats at nearly twice the size and weight of the others. Poor thing... These were supposedly ferrals. Maybe he was but I don't think so. When we got to the reproductive organs, we found out he was neutered. Not the sign of most ferrals. He was someone's pet at one time or another.

    As a big cat lover, I had a hard time with it at first. He came to us with the initial abdominal incision and a sponge in his mouth. I thanked him for his service and promised him I would learn as much as I could from him. What I mainly took away from the experience that I could apply to human anatomy was the vascular system and what real muscle tissue looks and feels like. Odd, but in my group of three, I turned out to the main dissector and There wasn't much left of Simba when we were done.

    When my special kitty Pita was killed earlier this year by a car, I was able to picture in my mind what happened to her internal organs and structures. Not sure if that's a good thing.
  14. by   Roseyposey
    Thank you everyone for your input. Two hours until school. I'm not exactly a cat lover (not a cat hater either), I just question the true educational value of this macabre event. I don't see how cutting up a dead cat will help me care for live humans someday. Hopefully I'll be enlightened by the end of the day!

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