Archive for August, 2011

Easing Feline Stress During Vet Visits

A recent veterinary usage study sponsored by Bayer revealed 58 percent of people owned by cats say their pets hate going to the vet. Of course, this will come as no surprise to those of you who share your life with one or more feline companions. Many of the kitty parents included in the study admitted they avoid veterinary visits for their cats because every aspect of the ordeal is stress-inducing -- from preparing to leave home, to the ride to the clinic, to the visit itself. Since kitties are masterful at hiding signs of illness, it's imperative cat owners understand the need for regular professional wellness exams. This is especially true for aging cats and those with chronic illness. Understanding how to compassionately and respectfully handle a cat on a vet visit can go a long way toward reducing stress and delivering good health care. Unfortunately, feline stress can escalate to fear and/or fear-related aggressive behavior. When this happens, it can alter the results of a physical exam and lab tests and lead to a wrong diagnosis. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), one of the developers of the new guidelines, "Understanding innate behaviors and adapting environmental and handling recommendations to minimize stress is a major focus of these Guidelines." The new suggested procedures, Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines, point out certain innate cat behaviors and how you can work with them to potentially make vet visits less stressful. Vets in the practice who treat felines, as well as all clinic staff, should be knowledgeable about how to safely and effectively manage every type of kitty, from the most docile to the most aggressive.