I'll describe both before I get into the why and how bits. Sapphire Samurai is a 21 year old Balinese cat. Being at that age, which is positively ancient for a cat, requires special handling. This includes taking his blood pressure at each visit.

I have to say I was skeptical. That vet's office has handled our animals since 1981. They know the cat.

It took three of us. It's taken on the tail and it is a very small cuff. As you might understand there was some human blood shed … mostly mine.

The toddler blood pressure idea made me just as skeptical. This is in part because I am not particularly impressed with the care at that office. Our granddaughter was not impressed nor was she pleased. She can shriek loud enough to damage hearing and did so.

The above information may help you if you face a time when a toddler near and dear to your heart needs checked. There are some very good reasons for it.

Why : The child had required an emergency breathing treatment. That treatment causes the heart rate to soar and the blood pressure right along with it. It is frightening to see a small child's pulse at 174 / minute.

There are other reasons. Some disorders start young and cause problems with the numbers, both too low and too high. Obesity can start the process early. In these cases doctors often want to start as early age-wise as possible in order to have a baseline.

How : The process is the same. Managing to do it is not. It's best to have a short sleeved shirt on to dispense with the fight to roll the sleeves up. You may have to hold the child still. In fact, it may take one person to hold the arm, one to hold the child and one to do the test.

Problem : An agitated child will have a higher set of numbers than a calm child. If you know things that will help keep the child calm and amused by all means bringing them. The medical assistant will bless you for it.

If you do see numbers that seem appropriate ask the doctor to explain them to you. It may be a temporary problem like ours with the rescue inhaler. It could also be a sign of something much worse. Dealing with an unhappy toddler is far better than dealing with an illness that could have been prevented.