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Any pet owner would know that cats should visit the vet regularly to ensure they stay healthy. Regular vet visits and checkups help identify any health issues that your cat might be facing currently. However, vet visits are not so simple. Cats often exhibit different behaviours after visiting their vet. A lot of owners report a change in cat behaviour after returning from a veterinarian and wonder if it is normal.
In this post, we discuss what changes you should expect in a cat’s behaviour after a vet visit and what they mean. This guide should help you deal better with cats that show changed behaviours post their vet visits.
Changes In Cat Behaviour After Vet Visit?
A lot of cat owners report changes in their feline behaviour after a trip to a vet. Your cat may seem disoriented after returning from a vet visit. There are several reasons for this change in behaviour. It can be because of the sedatives used by the vet for examination, the stress of sitting in the car for long or any other experiences it had on the way or at the clinic. This is particularly true for cats that get easily stressed.
One of the best ways to prevent this type of change in behaviour is to make the trip a fun experience for it. Avoid forcing the cat to get inside the carrier or it would associate it with helplessness. Give it some toys or treats to enjoy while in the carrier along the way. Taking steps to ensure the vet visit is calm and stress-free reduces the risk of aggression and changed behaviour once the cat is back home.
Another reason for a behavioural change in a cat after a vet visit is the scent mechanism. The cat encounters a lot of different, strange smells when it goes to the doctor. As it is surrounded by too many unfamiliar scents, it starts acting defensively. It often continues this defensive behaviour once back from the visit.
Cat Depressed & Lethargic After Vet Visit?
Cats are generally stressed after a visit to the vet as they go into an unusual, strange environment and get exposed to a variety of scents of other animals and things. This can make it anxious and depressed and even behaving like some other cat after returning back. It should get calm and normal in a few hours once home. However, you should monitor the behaviour of the cat continuously to see if it gets worse.
The lethargic behaviour of the cat attributes to the stress and strain it went through during the trip to the vet and the examination. Your cat is not so used to traveling and may have been tired from the visit and car ride. The physical examination, tests and sedation, whatever was performed at the clinic, could make it lethargic for a few hours or the day. It should get better the next day. Monitor its behaviour and condition continuously to see if they improve with time.
If your cat got vaccinated, you should expect lethargy and appetite loss which would go away on its own in 2-3 days. Serious reactions are rare and need immediate attention. If you see any symptoms of face swelling, vomiting or difficulty breathing, you should seek veterinary help at the earliest.
Is Your Cat Traumatized After Vet Visit?
A trip to the vet’s office can be a stressful and trauma-filled experience for the cat. There are several stressful components for the cat including the car ride, sitting in the carrier, spending time in the waiting room, the examination and treatment and others. Try to make the experience pleasant for your cat to reduce the chances of such a behaviour after returning home.
As you take the cat to the vet, try to stay calm and avoid shouting. Your cat is likely to react to your stress by getting stressed itself. To avoid the trauma from getting in the carrier, make it a part of its life and not just be limited to the vet visit. Let the cat become comfortable with the carrier and develop confidence with its use before using it for the trip.
Cat Aggression After Vet Visit – What It Means?
It is common for cats to start getting aggressive with each other if one of them returns from a vet visit. This is called non-recognition aggression where felines suddenly start treating each other as strangers. They might growl or even attack one another. The reason is the scent communication that cats use. Each cat has a unique scent that serves as its identification to other felines. When a cat visits a vet, it attracts different smells from new people, medications, other animals, cleaning products and more.
When the cat returns back from the clinic, its scent is altered and other cats don’t recognize it readily, treating it as a threat. The cat also reacts defensively to this aggression. One way to prevent this type of aggression is to rub the cat with clothes that contain the scent of you and the household after returning from the vet visit. You can also try keeping the cat in a separate room for some time to get things normal. This will allow it to self-groom and get rid of all the strange smells from the fur that could seem offensive to other cats. This time will also help it relieve the stress of the vet visit so it will get less aggressive.