Does Your Cat Act like an A-hole at the Vet’s or Groomer’s?

Your cat is your bff. You walk around the house with him on your shoulder, you might even shower with him (weird, but ok). Which is why you were so SHOCKED when the vet tech or groomer had to pull out gloves to handle him for his appointment. The next words to come out of most people’s mouths when their cat starts acting aggressively are usually: “We are pretty sure he was abused as a kitten,” or ” He had a traumatic experience at the vet when he was neutered.” Uh… no. I’m going to say something you probably don’t want to hear. He wasn’t abused by his first owner, and he didn’t have any more of a traumatic experience than any other cat when it was spayed or neutered. I’m going to tell you why.

Most cats are frightened to leave their homes. They aren’t golden retrievers…they are creatures of habit. For the most part, cats appreciate quiet places and familiar faces. They are extremely sensitive to change, new smells and loud noises. What I’m trying to say is- some cats (a lot of cats, actually) act completely different when they aren’t at home. Are they “bad” cats? No! They are scared cats-big difference! Practically anything can set them off- seeing another cat, hearing another cat… even catching the scent of another cat that has already left the building can set them off. Along with a host of other things that we probably cant even detect. You’ll likely never know exactly what the trigger is- and it could just be change in general.

The frustrating thing for you- as the owner, is that you want more than anything to try and convince us that your cat is extremely loving and affectionate. You really, really, really want to find a legit explanation (other than the real one) for your cat’s behavior. The thing you need to realize is that we, as animal professionals, know that your cat doesn’t act like this at home. If it did… it wouldn’t live with you for very long! Your cat is simply scared. It lashes out in hopes that it will scare off whoever and whatever is trying to touch it (sometimes me). It may scream to the top of its lungs before I’ve even trimmed one toenail. This DOESN’T mean that the last person to cut its nails cut the quick. Trust me. Have you ever heard a cat fight? The majority of the fight is usually just the two cats vocalizing back and forth with each other, with very little actual contact.

To put it simply, I expect a certain amount of grumbling and nervous behavior. It comes with the territory with cats. Anything excessive, and you should consider asking your vet for a sedative to ease their anxiety prior to appointments. And for God’s sake, stop blaming things on previous owners, veterinarians, and groomers. Your cat would still act like an A-hole if you had raised him from birth with a bottle and kitten formula. IN FACT, more often than not, it is the coddled, spoiled, bottle babies that act aggressively at the vet’s office- Not the cats who were abused. Those cats are usually extremely timid and compliant. They don’t protest because they aren’t as brave as normal cats. Makes sense, right? So next time the technician pulls out the gloves when she sees your cat, say “She was spoiled as a kitten.”

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