We now interrupt my special vacation guest postings for a regularly scheduled posting- but it’s for a good reason.
August 16th-22nd marksNational Take your Cat to the Vet Week, a reminder to all us cat owners that despite what your cat may tell you, they really should get a vet checkup at least once a year.
Cats are masters of disguise, which is something I repeat regularly to owners who just can’t figure out how the cat who was acting normal last month now has raging diabetes or a thyroid level off the charts. They mask their signs of disease until it’s just impossible to ignore, oftentimes to their detriment. Regular checkups maximize your chances of catching manageable disease processes early.
Cats don’t like the vet. Trust me, I know this. Owners don’t like taking them, either, especially when it involves chasing the cat madly around the house for 20 minutes, stuffing them into the carrier, listening to the yowling for 20 minutes in the car, wrestling them out of the carrier at the vet, then dealing with the affronted feline back at home. It is very easy to just say, ‘forget it.’
It is even easier to just say forget it if you have one of those cats we delicately refer to as “fractious felines.” These are the cats that even the most seasoned staff hesitates to handle, the ones who growl when the slightest shadow crosses the front of the carrier, the ones you can’t even touch to remove from the carrier without risking life and limb. Some cats are so grumpy, or more likely just so terrified that getting a valid picture of their health is a challenge to do with the limited exam we can complete.
It is for these owners that I’d like to make a couple of suggestions:
2. Let your vet know your cat is grumpy. The staff appreciates the warning to use extra caution, and oftentimes if we know we have a limited opportunity to get things done we may plan our exam and diagnostics accordingly. For example, if an otherwise healthy pet presents for a vaccine, it may not be worth checking her ears if that is what sends her through the roof.
3. Don’t be afraid of sedatives. If your vet recommends it for your cat, there is probably a good reason. Sometimes it is the only way to obtain something we really need- like bloodwork for an ill pet. It’s not optimal, but it’s better than having a pet so stressed even the owner can’t handle the pet to get them in the carrier to go back home.
4. Look into cat-friendly vet options. Feline-only practices are popping up all over the place, with the advantage of no dogs in the lobby, a staff specifically trained to the idiosyncrasies of cats, and a vet who deals with all cats, all the time. Another option is a home visit veterinarian. For many owners, housecall practices are a lifesaver, giving the cat the care he or she needs without the drama of having to get in the car and go somewhere.
Feline Pine is having a “Tell Us Your Funniest Vet Stories” contest with a daily prize of a 6 month supply of Feline Pine and a $75 gift card to use at the vet, which you will have to keep your cat from hiding should you win. I actually have a doozy of a story from vet school but it involves someone else’s cat, and for reasons which would be clear if you heard it I’m actually too nervous to share it on the blog. But if you find me at BlogPaws I’ll be happy to tell it to you.
If you enter the contest, let me know your story here too so we can all share in the entertainment. And if you have any additional tips for minimizing the Horrors of the Vet Visits, please post them- I always love new ideas to make the visits better!