7 year old domestic short hair TERRIFIED of vet's office

  • I am at my wits end. My tuxedo cat (7 years 0ld) is TERRIFIED of the vet's office to the point that he has to be sedated before they can even LOOK at him. This is something they can't do if he is "ill", so then they have to "guess" at what is wrong judging by what I tell them.

    This same cat gets viscous when I have to give him meds. He has sent me to urgent care twice with deep bites and punctures. If a medicine can't be done transdermally, I am not able to give it to him. Believe me we have tried wrapping him up (all four feet) and we still can't get any kind of pills down him and liquid is debatable. Either way, I am going to get seriously hurt. 

    He is 15lbs. of terror to the point I can't even trim his claws. At the vet (for claw trimming) they have to wear welding gloves and wrap him up and it's still an iffy situation. So, naturally, he only gets his claws trimmed once a year at his annual check-up.

    ANY other time, he is the most loveable creature alive. Loves head kisses, being petted (even his belly for a few seconds), and has never met a stranger. He is our household "greeter".

    I don't know what to do to help him (or me).

  • How long have you had him?  I'm a new owner of a kitten.  We've taken her to vet and she isn't too scared. 

    I decided to have her not be scared of vet visits or the ride to the vet by taking her on short rides to the store.  I don't take her out but just there and back.  Only done that once but, I think if I do more often then car rides won't scare her.  Maybe that might help your cat.  Start at home and end at home.  Give treat when ride is over. Those non vet trips might help him to not be so scared of the vet.

    As far as trimming his nails, my daughter and I help trim our kitten's nails.  I feed her a frozen treat (looks like a gogurt treat that you get for kids).  While Bean is occupied with licking the treat (me holding the treat), my daughter clips couple of claws.  We only do a couple at a time.  Then we allow Bean to continue licking the treat for a few more licks as a reward for sitting still!

    And while your cat sleeps do you ever play with his paws, like stroking them?  Pushing out his claws and letting go?  Just letting him get use to his paws being touched?  Go slow and eventually he will be ok with his claws clipped and vet visits. 

    As far as medicines, I heard you could give it in his food.  I've never had tried it but that is what I've read.

    Hopefully these suggestions will help you and your kitty.  Sounds like he's a large cat, like a main coon.  So larger cats can be a handful, but still you can train them to behave for you.

  • Poor kitty, and poor you! I have two cats who get intense vet stress and I empathize. I feel like a monster for subjecting them to it! We get gabapentin in the capsule form (100mg) and then open the capsules and mix with a little of their favorite food about an hour or 90 minutes before their appointment time. It helps. Also, some vets make house calls -- do you know if there's one near you? 

  • I second the suggestion for Gabapentin. As a vet, I swear by it for very anxious kitties.

    It can also help to get the cat used to the carrier (have it out in the living room) and to use pheromone sprays e.g. Feliway, to apply on a towel or blanket.


    Some cats will be anxious regardless, and it is wise to minimise trips to the vet.

    If using his scratching post and mat, he should not really need his claws trimmed.

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