A well-known website has an article about a cat who was traumatized after a visit to a veterinary clinic. I found it excessive and moved on. However, when I looked up "Cats Traumatized After Vet Visit" I found several similar stories. It appears that a significant percentage of cats are traumatized after visiting a veterinary clinic. And it also seems that the procedures performed at the clinic need not necessarily be especially traumatic.
It seems that the simple experience of being in a veterinary clinic, a strange place with strange people and other animals, leads to what one visitor to Reddit.com called PTSD in domestic cats. It cannot be ruled out that some cats will develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder after an extended visit to the veterinarian.
Traumatized cat after vet visit? Not this cat! Photo: Pixabay.
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There are some pretty disturbing stories online to back this up. For example, a woman took her cat to the vet to have his blood pressure checked because he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The only procedure she underwent was a sphygmomanometer, which pinched her hind leg. However, she was at the veterinary clinic for eight hours. The reason for the long stay was that your cat should be relaxed when its blood pressure was taken.
However, it looks like this was a bad idea. I doubt he settled into a relaxed state because of the difficulties of adapting to such an alien environment. The cat's owner thought the suggestion to stay in the clinic for a long time was logical, but later said it was a bad idea. She said the next time her cat needs a simple procedure, she'll try to do it herself at home.
It took about 10 days for your cat to get back to normal. His cat suffered from lethargy, loss of appetite, and his breathing was alarming to his owner.
In another story, a nine-year-old cat was taken to a veterinary clinic to be vaccinated: a rabies shot and another, but the owner isn't sure which it was. When the cat returned, his behavior had completely changed. His super laid back, lovable character is gone. He slept in his owner's room all day and never left. He didn't eat and when they picked him up he was meowing and complaining. The owner asked for advice on Reddit.com. He did not understand.
My hunch is that your cat was one of those rare examples of rabies vaccine side effects. The cat suffered and wanted nothing to do with anyone. Rabies vaccination is mandatory in the United States. Indoor cats should also be vaccinated against rabies. But vaccines are not 100% safe and I immediately think of the coronavirus pandemic, where in some countries vaccines, when offered, are very poorly received. A particular case is France, where about 40% of the population agrees with vaccination, despite the clear benefits.
But this kind of story of cats going to veterinary clinics to be vaccinated reinforces a negative perception of the dangers of vaccines.
On another Ask the Vet Reddit.com page, a visitor said her cat was traumatized after a visit to the vet. The cat was taken to the vet for a "rather invasive checkup". He returned home "with a completely changed personality".
The cat hid, avoided eye contact and became nervous. He ate, but out of fear, said his owner. Your cat just wanted one thing: to hide, to be alone. He didn't want to be petted. His owner thought he contracted PTSD from his vet visit. He looked for advice on the website and couldn't get it.
Another story on this site is a troubling one. Again, the person asked for advice. His cat is an IVF cat and was at the vet clinic to be neutered. A routine surgical procedure. When she returned home, her "cute and active" cat had completely changed. He said: "She growls whenever a kitten approaches and completely rejects it. The cat just wants to sleep, has no energy and refuses to eat."
She even started to have inappropriate bowel movements and was sullen and quiet, "always squatting down". He believes the way her blood was drawn traumatized her. He said the vet "wrapped her in a blanket, not even leaving her head uncovered, and she screamed the whole time. From that moment on, her behavior changed."
These three examples were chosen at random. Of course there are others. I myself am an example, but it was not a veterinary clinic. I took my cat to a pet shop because he was matted. She came back traumatized. You don't know what's going on because you're not there. You wonder how people treat your cat because they don't love you like they love you. In some places, when you run a business, a cat becomes a patient in need of treatment. Under these circumstances, does part of the sensitivity towards cats disappear?
Another problem is this: cats can be difficult to handle. They have claws and teeth and use them to defend themselves in hostile places. They perceive veterinary clinics as potentially or actually hostile places. The veterinary team will use procedures and methods to protect against scratches and bites. You can be quite energetic. This leads to more aggression in the cat. This is not a good situation. Veterinarians will tell you that it is sometimes necessary to treat cats this way, but there is an element of brutality that can be traumatic for the cat.
Cats are less likely to be taken to the vet than dogs
Not surprisingly, cats are much less likely to be taken to a veterinary hospital in the United States than dogs are, according to the AVMA. This is for two reasons: cats are independent and therefore there is a weaker connection between cat and human, but also because humans are put off by the trauma of taking their cat to a veterinary clinic. I am referring to the trauma of the cat and the owner.
many good visits
However, many visits to veterinary clinics are perfectly fine. We must not exaggerate. We must not paint a false picture. And it probably depends on the individual cat. Some cats have a more robust character. However, judging by the stories I read, there is a percentage of cats that experience real psychological trauma during a visit to the vet.
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Why is my cat acting weird after vet visit? ›
Veterinary procedures and medications may also change a cat's aroma. So when the absent Kitty returns home, the other housecats don't recognize him and react to the weird smells as though a strange cat has trespassed into the home turf. So they may act offensively to chase the interloper away.How do you tell if a cat is traumatized? ›
Signs of Emotional Trauma in Cats and Dogs
Trauma can also manifest as “shaking, hiding, urination and/or defecation when the trigger attempts to interact, howling, pacing, excessive vocalization, and panting,” says Pia Silvani, director of behavioral rehabilitation at the ASPCA's Behavioral Rehabilitation Center.
A vet visit leaves all sorts of new smells clinging to a cat: new people, other animals, medications, cleaning products, etc. Cats rely so heavily on scent to understand their environment and identify friend from foe. A change in a cat's scent can cause housemates to view them as a threat.How long does it take for a cat to get over trauma? ›
Recovery of Soft Tissue Trauma in Cats
It usually takes about one to two weeks for your cat to recover from a soft tissue injury, but you should restrict activity until several days after limping is gone. A sudden increase in inactivity can lead to relapse.
- Stick to a routine with your cat. ...
- Minimize noise and other stressors. ...
- Use a soft, reassuring tone of voice. ...
- Give your cat their own space. ...
- If your cat reacts by running away, that's okay. ...
- Play with them often. ...
- Learn more about feline body language.
If your cat forgives you for taking her to the vet within an hour of getting home, it may be that she's forgotten, but it's more likely that she feels better now that she's back in the comfort of home. Being back in the comfort of home has to do with her associative memory.How do you soothe a traumatized cat? ›
If you suspect your cat is suffering from a trauma, establishing a calm safe environment for them is critical. This can include pheromone or essential oil therapy in diffusers and playing calming music to muffle loud noises to create a peaceful atmosphere.How do you comfort a Traumatised cat? ›
Distract the cat with a toy or food while you reach your hand around behind his head to touch. Do not reach towards the cat's face with your hand, try to sneak your hand around behind so he think it is still the stick. Rub the back of the neck and head – don't touch any other areas yet.How do you reassure a nervous cat? ›
- Make sure they have their own space. ...
- Avoid or reduce the things that scare them. ...
- Give them space. ...
- Close the curtains and try playing music or the TV. ...
- Always stay calm. ...
- Try to stick to a routine. ...
- Introduce new things slowly. ...
- Keep a few litter trays inside.
After a trip to the vet, it is common for the returning cat to be picked on and hissed at by their housemates. Cats communicate through sight, sound, and scent. Cats will hiss to redirect aggression or when they anticipate pain.
How long does it take for a cat to recover from vet? ›
Cats will typically recover from soft tissue surgeries - such as abdominal surgery or reproductive surgeries - more quickly than surgeries involving bones, joints ligaments or tendons. Often, soft-tissue surgeries are predominately healed within two or three weeks, taking about 6 weeks to heal completely.What does a cat in shock look like? ›
Signs of shock include rapid breathing (which may be noisy), rapid heart rate with a weak pulse, pale mucous membranes (gums, lips, under eyelids), severe depression (listlessness), and cool extremities (limbs and ears). Your cat may vomit.Can you hurt a cat's feelings? ›
Famously independent, sometimes falsely assumed to be immune to feelings, cats are in truth super-sensitive to emotions, sound, and stress. Perhaps because felines lack the eager-to-please openness of their canine colleagues, humans overlook the big and small ways they can break a cat's spirit.Will a cat ever forgive abuse? ›
Yes, they can! If you think your cat is upset with you, give them some space to calm down and give it some time. The best thing you can do is back off and show them that you recognize that you've hurt them and that you're going to stop doing what you were doing.How long do cats remember abuse? ›
Do cats remember when you abuse them? Cats that experience trauma are thought to be able to remember it for the remainder of their life. This can make it more difficult for your cat to trust after abuse, and it can make them uncomfortable with situations that remind them of their abusive situation.Do cats hold grudges after vet visit? ›
“Cats don't forgive, and once they realize a person is causing them anxiety or hurt, they keep away.” So says John Bradshaw, an anthrozoologist at Bristol University and author of “Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet.”Do cats hate their owners for taking them to the vet? ›
The experience of taking your cat to the vet can be a stressful experience for both of you. Cats are attached to their home territory and are most comfortable with routine and a familiar environment. Getting into a carrier, traveling in a car, and being examined by a stranger can cause a lot of anxiety.Is going to the vet stressful for cats? ›
It's very common for a cat to become nervous, and sometimes stressed when going to the vet. We also understand how upsetting this can be for pet owners, too. Fortunately, you can minimize their anxiety and keep your furry friend calm when visiting the vet.What does stress look like in cats? ›
Signs of stressed cats can include: becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual. becoming less tolerant of people. hesitating or becoming reluctant to use the litter tray, go through the cat flap or sit on your lap.Does catnip relieve stress in cats? ›
Given that catnip can have a calming, soothing effect, it can be used to: help reduce a cat's stress and anxiety when going to the vet, help reduce stress when traveling, help with urinary issues (note that stress is a major contributing factor to urinary obstruction in cats!).
What does cat anxiety look like? ›
If your cat has anxiety, you may notice pacing or restlessness, hiding, decreased appetite, vocalization, hypervigilance, trembling, salivation, and excessive grooming.What smells calm cats? ›
Lavender, which has natural sedative properties, may help soothe an anxious cat. Copaiba, helichrysum, and frankincense are also considered safe for cats. Before using essential oils, even in the form of diffused scents, around your cats, check with your holistic veterinarian for recommendations.How do vets handle nervous cats? ›
If your cat's stress or fear is profound, AND she has no health concerns, your veterinarian may recommend giving some sort of prescription medication before the visit. However, most sedatives have side effects, and using them may not be in the best interests of your cat.Should I hiss back at my cat? ›
You shouldn't hiss at your cat because they might perceive your hissing as a threat and become scared. Since cats use hissing as a defensive mechanism to express discomfort, stress, or fear and to avoid confrontation, you should also avoid using hissing to discipline them.What do vets do after they put a cat to sleep? ›
Following euthanasia, your veterinarian or veterinary nurse or technician will help to gently clean your pet if necessary, and remove any intravenous cannula that was placed. Then, depending on whether you are burying your pet at home, having your pet cremated or are still undecided, a few different things may happen.How much does it cost to remove a foreign body in cats? ›
Cost of surgery to remove a foreign object from a dog or cat
Typically, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000. As for endoscopy, the typical cost is between $800 and $2,000.
With careful postoperative care, your pet should make a full recovery within two to three weeks. It is essential to understand your pet will NOT learn from the experience. It will become an important task for you to keep your pet safe by removing enticing foreign objects from her reach.What three clinical signs do cats commonly exhibit in shock? ›
Symptoms of Shock in Cats
The majority of cats suffering from shock exhibit the following hallmarks: Hypothermia (low body temperature, <97 F) Bradycardia (low heart rate, <140 beats per minute) Hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure, <100 mmHg systolic)
Septic Shock in Cats. Septic shock, or sepsis, is a serious physical condition associated with generalized bacterial infection of the body. It develops as a complication of an overwhelming generalized systemic infection.Did my cat get shocked? ›
The most obvious sign of an electrical injury is burns in or around your cat's mouth. Singed whiskers, or singed hair surrounding the mouth are both indications that your cat has been burned at some point. The majority of serious symptoms are related to your cat's breathing, shortness of breath being the most common.
How do you apologize to a cat? ›
Offer Affection and Praise
You can say the words, “I'm sorry,” but a more effective strategy when apologizing to cats is to offer them lots of love. Scratch them in their favorite spot and tell them how wonderful they are.
All in all, even the most aloof and brooding cat will be able to pick up on your warmth and devotion. Whether they choose to admit it or not, they can sense when a person loves them (and hates them). So always make sure you're emitting good, kitty-positive vibes, and your cat will be sure to indulge in the lovefest.Can cats cry? ›
Cats don't cry tears when they're sad or in pain. But Halls says whether your cat is experiencing emotional or physical pain, they'll exhibit behavioral changes that could include vocal crying. The sound of a cat crying is typically longer in duration and lower in frequency than day-to-day cat chatter.Is it normal for cats to act weird after shots? ›
Lethargy, a slight fever, and some mild discomfort are the most common side effects pets get from vaccines. This can be characterized by your pet not acting like their usual self. This is a normal reaction to vaccinations, and the symptoms should be mild and only last one or two days.Why is my cat hissing at my cat after the vet? ›
Cats are territorial and will hiss at other cats to assert dominance, especially when a new cat is introduced to their surroundings. After a trip to the vet, it is common for the returning cat to be picked on and hissed at by their housemates. Cats communicate through sight, sound, and scent.Do cats act weird after sedation? ›
Occasionally after surgery, cats and kittens can have an adverse behavioral reaction to anesthesia. Behaviors you may see include, but are not limited to: hissing, growling, and swatting and may be towards people or other animals including their family members.Can cat get sick from vet visit? ›
Cats can pick up virus at vet's, but they can also transmit it themselves.What should cats not do after shots? ›
- Provide your pet with a warm, cosy place to lie down and rest. ...
- Make sure that they have access to water and their favourite food, but don't be alarmed if they are not very hungry.
- Avoid patting or playing with your pet as they may wish to be left alone.
In general, when your cat is acting angry or aggressive, it's usually because he's scared. And there are a bunch of reasons why your cat could be afraid of the vet. “The vet's [office] is associated with potentially uncomfortable procedures, such as being poked with needles, and not feeling well,” Dr.What are the side effects of Fvrcp cat vaccination? ›
Occasionally, more serious but rare vaccine side effects can occur, such as:
- Allergic reactions.
- Injection site tumors.
- Difficulty breathing.
Why is my cat acting traumatized? ›
PTSD in cats is an anxiety disorder that can develop following exposure to a terrifying event or situation in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. This disorder can cause cats to change their behaviors drastically.How do you comfort a hissing cat? ›
- Give him space. Do not try to hold your cat or comfort him.
- Let your cat feel secure. Do not stare at him. ...
- Give your cat time. Cats may take hours to calm down, not minutes.
- When he is calm, coax your cat out with food and/or catnip.
This may result in reactions such as hissing, growling, swatting, and scratching. Your cat's behavior is usually caused by feeling disorientated after the anesthetic and being extra sensitive and vulnerable. It may also be a sign they're in pain. Your cat may also be more stressed and anxious than usual.How can I make my cat comfortable after sedation? ›
Keep your cat comfortable.
Your cat will need to spend quite a bit of time sleeping and resting while recovering from anesthesia. As a result, you want to create a comfortable place for the cat to sleep. Place their favourite bed and a few blankets in the enclosed area with the cat.
An improperly administered anesthetic can cause nerve damage, muscle damage, and brain damage if not monitored carefully. Pets may also experience allergic reactions to certain anesthetics or drugs used in combination with anesthetics.