Rampant Vet Visits

A few preventive measures can make visits to the veterinarian more pleasant for everyone.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM | Posted: Tue Jul 12 00:00:00 PDT 2005

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Q. Our cat Pippin had what could only be described as a deprived kittenhood. His mother and all but one littermate died when he was less than 3 weeks old. We adopted Pippin at about 3½ weeks of age and brought him home to live with our 2-year-old cat, Spenser. During his first few months with us, Pippin made many trips to the vet to be treated for worms, ear mites, a staph infection and an upper respiratory infection, in addition to the usual exams and shots. He was neutered and is now an indoor-only cat.

Only two adults and two cats live in our household. Pippin is warm and affectionate with us, however, our other cat, is not very social with strangers, and even with us he isn't particularly fond of being handled beyond a certain tolerance. Usually, he uses body language to express his displeasures, but will occasionally scratch if pushed beyond his limits. 

We recently took Pippin to the vet for his annual checkup and had an experience like I've never seen before. About 30 seconds into the exam, Pippin went into a tirade that I'd compare to a Tasmanian devil hissing, snarling, scratching and biting. By wrapping him in a towel, the doctor and his technician were able to give him his shots but couldn't complete a proper examination.

We've had 25 years experience in raising cats and all have been happy and well-adjusted. We have used the same veterinarians for more than 16 years and trust them completely. I'm looking for advice on what I can do during the next year to increase Pippin's tolerance to strangers and being handled, so that he can have a proper veterinary exam.

A. Your scenario is unfortunate, yet not all that uncommon. Many cats that are purrfectly fine at home turn into unrecognizable terrors at the veterinary office. We have to look into the factors of such reactions, yet I cannot solve your problem with one or two simple suggestions. However, I found that spraying a feline pheremone product on my hands before attempting to handle such panic-stricken cats will often work wonders. You might try acclimating your kitty to strangers by using this product.

Talk to your veterinarian before your scheduled appointment to make certain that you don't have to wait for a long period of time before being seen. Many cats get wound up by the sounds and smells of other cats and dogs. Also, having a veterinarian that is confident with cats and confident in handling such feline personalities is a real bonus.

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Reader Comments

janet    Bethlehem, PA

4/26/2012 4:13:55 AM

good article, thank you

Judy    NY, NY

4/4/2012 2:07:06 PM

My rather large maine coone was the reason I created and patented an affordable, simple to use, pet friendly, in-home pet scale. Not even to mention his hatred of the car when going to the vet. I am hopeful that this in-home scale is going to assist pet parents maintain their furry kid's weight which will cut down on obesity-related illnesses, translating into less trips to the vet! I am seeking financial partners or licensees in order to get this product to the market to start saving our beloved furry friends from the health issues related to obesity. Please help me spread the word so that we can get this on the shelves and begin making some great strides against pet obesity and the unnecessary health-related illnesses and invasive treatments! Thanks so much for your help. Purreverly, Judy

dayna    easton, PA

3/26/2012 1:27:53 AM

interesting article, very informative

Michalle    Portland, OR

1/19/2012 9:04:59 AM

My friend's cat, Gandolph, does not like the vet at all. He had a bad experience with a local vet and it has stuck with him. Vet visits with him are not easy!

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