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Cats Are Not Small Dogs       

You have made an appointment with your veterinarian for your cat's annual wellness visit.  You know this visit is important, but you have been dreading this day.  When the cat carrier appears, Tigger immediately hides beneath the couch.  With protest you drag him from this safe place and struggle to confine him to his carrier.  Now the real drama begins.  This may be the only time you ever hear such wailing.  You finally arrive at the veterinary clinic and can hear the barking before you even open the hospital door.

There is no need to announce your arrival.  The staff is expecting Tigger and seems even more stressed than you.  As the large dog in the waiting room lunges at its leash to reach Tigger's carrier, you hear him emit a blood curdling scream.  Angela is always so calm on the phone, but now she is clearly agitated.  She informs you that she has prepared for Tigger's arrival.  Leather gloves, towels and a muzzle are already in the exam room.  Angela takes Tigger away and you remain in the waiting room for Tigger's visit.  With the fur flying it is hard to imagine how these poor people accomplish anything.  When Tigger finally arrives back home he returns to his place under the couch.  It is hours before he feels safe enough to venture out again.

Understanding cats and recognizing how they are different from dogs can go a long way toward making your feline friend's visit to your veterinarian a positive experience.  It is important to realize how nervous cats can be in a veterinary office and why.

Cats in the wild are often preyed upon by other animals.  They may perceive that dogs in the waiting room see them as dinner.  When you take your cat to your veterinarian this perception influences the way your cat feels about their experience - they are hoping to leave the clinic alive!

The smell of dogs and the noise of dogs barking can be unsettling and signal danger to your cat.  The perfect scenario is to have your cat's medical needs attended to in your home or in a veterinary hospital that sees only cats.

Cats also have very different illnesses and medical needs than a dog.  Leukemia caused by a virus, urinary tract inflammation associated with stress and immune dental disease to name just a few.  Having a veterinary staff focused on the special health concerns of cats can be very helpful in achieving a positive outcome.  A quiet veterinary hospital without the presence of dogs and a staff focused on the special needs of cats can make Tigger's wellness visit a very different experience!

Article by Dr. Thomas C. Jones

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