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Fraidy cats – Handling the cat that doesn't want to be handled (Proceedings)

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Apr 01, 2009

There are no bad cats! Imagine what they are experiencing through their eyes. Having a veterinary experience can be terrifying, and trying to make it as pleasant as possible for the cat will make it for pleasant for you and your staff!!!

Blood draws and exams – less is more. Try to get things accomplished with the least restraint and the fewest people possible. The best place to perform the exam on the cat is wherever he wants it – in his box, on your lap, on the exam room bench, on the floor, wherever.

Cater to cowards!!

Fraidy cats
  • Quiet waiting room
  • Keep resident cats/dogs from being "greeters"
  • Keep away from other patients waiting
  • Take cat right into exam room
  • Weigh the cat in the carrier
  • Open door to carrier on floor/bench and allow cat to come out and explore on her own terms
  • Do the exam in carrier with top removed or on the scale
  • "Loaf of warm bread" exam – exam with towel over cat
  • Hug cat close
  • Cat facing away from you
  • Take your time!!!
  • Skip taking temperature
  • No stainless steel tables, or use bathmats on tables

Terrified to aggressive cats

  • Do not make direct eye contact
  • Slow, deliberate movements
  • Quiet!
  • Wrap in towel for 'burrito' exam, exam under towel, technician controlling the cat's shoulders
  • Cat muzzles if needed
  • Cover head for blood draws
  • Consider drop off appointment – cat can have several hours to calm down in exam room prior to any interaction with staff

Aggressive cats – outpatient visits

Consider medicating before the visit –acepromazine may cause excitement, has no effect on calming nerves.

  • Alprazolam
  • Diazepam
  • Sedate when cat arrives

o Domitor/Ketamine/Torbugesic combo - .1 ml each per 10# of cat
  • Varied efficacy
  • Varied time to effect
  • They turn blue – creepy!!
  • Reversible
  • Relatively inexpensive

o Gas – isoflurane or sevoflurane
  • Mask – quick response, predictable
  • Tank – takes time, lots of wasted gas, exposure of staff
  • Either method quickly reversed, no wearing off at home, good perception from clients

Aggressive cats – hospitalized

  • Feliway diffusers
  • Hiding places – boxes, paper bags, towels over cage doors
  • No eye contact when removing cat from cage
  • Use your isolation room if cats are especially cage protective
  • Anxiolytic meds while in the hospital, control pain!