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Traumatic Vet Visit

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I took my cat to the vet today for her yearly check up. Yikes, what a disaster. She's always been very shy and fearful (nobody is allowed to touch her except me) so going to the vet has never been fun for her. But the vet's really calm, soft-spoken and patient and in the past she's tolerated him with a little growling and a 'Get me out of here!" expression on her face. Until today.

She absolutely flipped out. The minute he touched her she turned into a hissing, spitting, yowling, flailing ball of fur. She tried to bite the vet and scratched the heck out of me ... I was actually dripping blood on the exam table. Ouch. She was so hysterical he couldn't even examine her, just quickly gave her the vaccination we'd come for, then we stuck her back in the crate before she killed someone. She's fine now but it took her almost an hour to really calm down after we got home.

She's 3 years old, very healthy, and primarily an indoor cat. I take her outside once in a while but only on a leash and under supervison and she's never around other animals. I suppose I could skip the vaccinations from now on, though I'd prefer not too. But what happens if she gets sick and really needs a hands-on examination? I dislike the idea of sedating her but I suppose that's an option. Any suggestions for making trips to the vet less stressful (and less bloody!!!) for everyone involved?
post #2 of 9
My boyfriend makes fun of me for this but I bought a cat pheremone spray (Feliway makes one but mine is a different brand, can't remember the name) and I spray it in my car and in the cat carrier. I don't know if it makes much of a difference but it doesn't hurt. I also give my older cat catnip before we go, because she likes it.
post #3 of 9
Maybe if your vet is very nice he might let you bring her in every now and again and just give her a treat in the exam room (or even give her a treat himself!) so that she learns that the vet doesn't always mean something bad? I've not tried it with the kittens, but I usually bring the dog if I'm only popping into the vets to pick something up etc. as I want him to know that a vet visit doesn't always mean something horrible is about to happen. Not sure if it works, as he still hates it...
post #4 of 9
I know what you mean, but I don't think it'll help and could even make things worse, i.e. the cat'll be on guard every time she sees the carrier, and when there is a serious problem and you need to bring her in, you might not be able to. This way, it's only 1-2 annually, and she can forget between times. I do wonder though if there isn't something the vet could let you have, to give her before coming in, to relax her even a little for when she has to be seen?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
I know what you mean, but I don't think it'll help and could even make things worse, i.e. the cat'll be on guard every time she sees the carrier,

Yeah, unfortunately, that's already a problem. The minute she sees me get the carrier down off the shelf she runs and hides. I have to get it out at least a week in advance so that she gets used to seeing it. And it's always a wrestling match to get her in the darn thing. And she HATES riding in the car. I took her once on a leash (not the safest way to go, I know) just to see if she'd be a bit happier about riding but it didn't work. She still huddled into a little ball and cried all the way there. The poor thing is just soooo shy and anti-social she's afraid of anyone and everything outside of her comfort zone. I wish I could make her less fearful but I can't imagine what I could do.

I do wonder though if there isn't something the vet could let you have, to give her before coming in, to relax her even a little for when she has to be seen?
I've thought of that too. She's totally disinterested in catnip so I have my doubts Feliway would work either ... though it's certainly worth a try and I'm going to get some just to see. I'm not crazy about the idea of drugging her but I suppose it might be better than putting her through the hysterical anxiety of this last visit. Might be less painful for me too! I've got a huge bruise on the back of my hand and one of the puncture wounds (I had to pry her claw out of my hand ... oww!) is trying to get infected.

Has anyone else had to sedate their cat for vet visits? How out of it do they get? And how long does it take to wear off?

Sigh. She certainly is a lot of trouble sometimes. It's a good thing she's so darn cute!!!
post #6 of 9
Maybe have her brought on outings regularly as well as so that she doesn't think that carrier = vet? I've got a friend who can't bring her cat to the vet's at all, as she's so scared... Not an ideal situation to be in...
post #7 of 9
I've found a spot for my carrier to always be out. My boys will take turns sleeping in it and have become very comfortable with it. That might help.
post #8 of 9
It sounds like she's had enough time to come to a conclusion about vet visits. And we know her decision.

I used to have the vet come to my house; don't know if they offer that service where you live. Alternately, you can vaccinate at home. Talk to the vet, a lot of breeders do their own vaccinations, you need a presciption, but it might be best. I don't recommend it to anyone to save money, since the annual exam is important and lets you pick up problems early, but it seems like she won't go for that, either.

Stress like this can't be reasoned with. An alternative plan might be best for everyone. It's not ideal, but we rarely manage that, anyway.
post #9 of 9
A home visit might be worth a try if you can do it. Unless your working with a small vet clinic they probably won't even do it. Larger clinics nearly always won't and when they do they charge a huge fee. I don't know how well it works with cats but we actually had the vet that specializes in equines do the vaccines on our dog. The dog had been abused and was already nervous when taken anywhere or around strangers and then got stepped on by a horse and fractured his leg. After the pain of having the vet handle his leg and put it in a cast he would not go near a vet office. Try to shove 80lbs of very upset dog up the stairs, into the exam room, and then hold him down without letting him bite the vet. The horse vet he saw several times a year without leaving his home territory so the vet just petted him to check him over and slipped a needle in without the dog ever realizing anything happened. It might work with a friendly cat. Those of mine that have an issue with the vet though aren't much better with strangers in their house.
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