Sick cats pose a difficult problem for vets. Cats don’t like change, and a vet clinic can be both scary and stressful for a cat. That’s why it is so important that the vet you choose is cat-friendly.
This doesn’t just mean someone who is nice to cats. As veterinary professionals, it’s important that we recognise the signs of stress and fear in caged cats. Their body language is the only voice they have and sick animals don’t heal well if stressed.
A caged cat may show emotions such as anxiety, depression, fear, stress and frustration. Cat-friendly clinics assess cat’s emotions and take appropriate action to help cats that are showing signs of distress.
What does a cat-friendly vet do?
A cat-friendly vet handles different cats in different ways. You need to know that to reduce their negative emotions. For example, a frustrated cat doesn’t need another hiding place. You needs to take it into a consult room, and play with it.
Anxiety is an emotional state often experienced in an unfamiliar situation. It is really the apprehensive anticipation of threat. Anxious cats never sleep properly and can become very fatigued as a result.
Fear is an emotional state triggered by the mental assessment of a specific stimulus as dangerous. Cats tend to choose ‘flight’ as the primary response.
Frustration: When cats are confined and unable to engage in their normal behaviour they can become frustrated. This is particularly evident when the cat stays in a cage for prolonged periods.
Depression is more associated with long-term confinement and can be the consequence of unavoidable chronic anxiety. It can be described as a state of melancholia that has advanced to the point of being disruptive to an individual’s social functioning and/or activities.
Stress also results from long-term confinement. Stress is the physiological response to real or imagined stimuli, both positive and negative. In small quantities is normal and essential to prepare the body to deal with challenges. However chronic unavoidable stress and the associated release of the steroid hormone, cortisol, is potentially harmful.
Our ability to recognise these emotions and to respond means we help your cat to relax and settle in which matters a great deal to your cat.