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How to keep cat calm for vet visits?

(20 Posts)
stripytees Sat 09-May-15 11:22:53

StripyCat has hyperthyroidism and needs regular blood tests at the vet. Recently she's started behavingly very aggressively at the vet's - hissing, slashing out with her paws and claws and attempting to bite anyone trying to get her out of her basket. The vet and I agree we would rather not sedate her but it's impossible to get the blood sample when she's like this. Yesterday we abandoned the attempt and will go back next week.

She's the sweetest cat at home and in the past has been fairly calm at the vet's. This started when she was admitted in for blood tests and ultrasound in December (that's when she got diagnosed with hyperT). That time she had to be sedated because she didn't let the vet or nurses touch her otherwise. We had one good blood test visit 2 months ago when I held her while the vet took the sample and it went really smoothly.

I am going to try Zylkene tablets and Feliway spray for her basket but is there anything else I can do? I wonder if I seemed stressed myself and she sensed that as well.

cozietoesie Sun 10-May-15 00:37:34

Is there any chance of her getting just the tiniest whiff of gas at the vets to calm her down for the bloods? (As a matter of regularity I mean. How old is she?)

stripytees Sun 10-May-15 12:37:40

That wasn't mentioned as an option actually, is it commonly used? She is about 12, rescue cat adopted as an adult so it's hard to know exactly.

cozietoesie Sun 10-May-15 14:24:29

I know that some vets do - but given her age and her hyperthyroidism (which can make anaesthetics slightly more risky I think) the vet may not want to even consider it. Perhaps one of the vets who post here might give a view on how best to draw blood from a cat in these circumstances?

As she is so difficult at the vets, has any mention been made of a more long-term plan for her illness management?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 10-May-15 16:16:03

Actually the advice from the top cat vets such as Martha Canon is that we should sedate more. A low dose sedation administered before the cat gets upset is much lower risk than getting a hyperthyroid cat who is almost certainly hypertensive upset. Whiffs of gas a generally frowned upon as they often cause the cat to breath hold which can cause it's own problems.
Things you as an owner can do are treat the box with Feliway spray 15 mins before the cat gets in, make sure the box is easy to get the cat in and out of ( seems obvious, but some boxes are terrible), keep the box covered with a towel for the journey and in the waiting room and not placing the box on the floor ( use a table or chair in the waiting room).
Is your practice a 'cat friendly' practice registered with international cat care. If they are they should have a cat advocate who will be able to help you with all of this.

cozietoesie Sun 10-May-15 16:31:48

Thanks for that, Lone - useful information. Would that mean sedation administered at the vet practice as soon as the cat gets there?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 10-May-15 16:41:40

We book the cats in for the morning and they are done pretty early. We minimise handling by using special cages. We phone owners to collect as soon as the cats are ready.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 10-May-15 16:42:09

We book the cats in for the morning and they are done pretty early. We minimise handling by using special cages. We phone owners to collect as soon as the cats are ready.

GRW Sun 10-May-15 18:16:28

My 18 year old cat is being treated for hyperthyroidism too, and hisses and spits at the vet. He puts her in a zip up bag which keeps her still, with one leg out for blood sampling, and sometimes uses a blindfold too. Not very nice to watch, but it is over quickly and he has always managed to get the sample. Thankfully blood tests are only every 3 months now.

cozietoesie Sun 10-May-15 18:50:23

It wouldn't work with Seniorboy - that cat could squirm at International level if required although he'll accept a shot of something entirely placidly.

stripytees Sun 10-May-15 21:19:27

Thanks Lone. I'm not sure if the practice is registered cat friendly but the vet we see is excellent and specifically has an interest in cats and senior cats.

As the visit before this went so well, this was a bit of a surprise. It was actually mentioned by the vet that higher thyroid levels can contribute to aggressive behaviour and cat has actually had more hyperT symptoms in the past two weeks, especially increased drinking. So that's a possibility. (She's on 10mg Vidalta tablets.)

cozietoesie Sun 10-May-15 21:23:14

Is she OK about taking the tablets at home?

Corygal Sun 10-May-15 21:32:18

Mr C was sedated last year when he got a little bit fangy at the vet. He doesn't like needles. Was also hyperthyroid which can make stress worse.

I sent Mr C in with a jumper of mine, and handlers were gentle with him. The replacement vet was fine with him the next week, and ever since he has behaved beautifully.

Lone - how do I train as a cat advocate?

ADachshundNamedColin Sun 10-May-15 21:38:25

Aw poor cat sad Some of them do get into the most awful kerfuffle about going to the vet.

No advice, but sympathy. One one my cats gets himself so upset that every time, on any vet/car trip, he always does a huge poo (and the rest) in his box. I drive along with the car windows open saying over my shoulder 'don't worry, nearly there, nearly done..' Poor boy. Once there he is ott friendly with the vet, hoping to win her over I guess.

I can't understand the worry. The vet has never really done anything more than give him an injection. Cats just hate anything different that they don't elect to do.

stripytees Mon 11-May-15 13:06:57

Thanks all.

She takes tablets really easily at home - I just pick up some of her wet food, put the tablet in the middle and she eats it like that from my (gloved) hand.

She was never difficult about vet visits in the past. Maybe there's something about this vet she just doesn't like? I really like this vet though so can't understand it.

Mykittensaremyfriends Mon 11-May-15 14:11:24

We have an over anxious cat due to the death of his young brother and have started using Dorwest Valerian compound. It's a homeopathic remedy for anxiety and comes in a bottle with a pipette. Can add to food but also can put a few drops on bedding and it really sooths and reduces anxiety. Can also be used for travel sickness so may be worth a try. My vet recommended it when I didn't want to increase my cats anxiety by giving him tablets everyday as his ability to flick them out is impressive!

Have found now though that he will also take the Dorwest Scullcap & Valerian tablets easily in his food after a course of antibiotics. They can be used in conjunction with each other.

Available via vets but cheaper online. Might be worth a try...

butterflyballs Mon 11-May-15 14:21:45

Poor kitty sad No answers but just adding some support.

We have a rough time getting either of ours in a cat box when they immediately assume the hissing star fish position and then have to be physically tipped back out at the vets. Killercat then tries to climb in my jacket and huddled against me looking pitiful and scaredycat goes ballistic and starts headbutting the door of the cat box trying to get back in it.

All in all, none of us have much fun on these visits!

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 11-May-15 15:30:59

A cat advocate is the individual nominated in a cat friendly practice to look out for the cats usually a vet or a registered veterinary nurse. They have been on the catisfaction course.

Corygal Wed 13-May-15 10:47:59

Catisfaction! Thanks, I shall investigate at once. I don't think any reputable surgery would take me on, at least I hope they wouldn't as I am medically untrained, but I shall no doubt glean tips for Mr C.

AnulTheMagnificent Wed 13-May-15 23:57:08

You could try a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy rubbed on her ears a while before you leave home, it can make them relaxed to the point of doziness. Use it neat, not diluted. A few drops in her drinking water might also help but you can't be sure she will drink it so ears are the best option.

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