Cat Friendly Seattle Veterinarians – Certification from the American Association of Feline Practitioners
Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital is focused on helping your pet, and especially your cat, have a better experience when they visit our Seattle Veterinary Hospital. We have received our CAT FRIENDLY certification from the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
This month we are highlighting Maynard, a handsome orange and white kitty. He is full of personality and has established quite a sociable reputation in the neighborhood. Maynard regularly goes for leash walks with his owner and has a number of “friends” he likes to greet along the way. Unfortunately for us, Maynard isn’t quite so excited about his doctor visits, so over the years the doctors and staff at Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital have employed a number of techniques to make things less stressful for Maynard and his owner.
- Maynard has been crate trained so is happy to get in his crate when it is time to leave home.
- His owner brings Maynard in about 10 minutes before the visit so that Maynard has a chance to adjust to his surroundings.
- We get Maynard into our cat exam room right away where he is away from any noisy dogs, and he can choose to come out of his carrier and stroll around.
- We use a pheromone (Feliway) in the room that has a calming effect on cats.
- Comfy towels are ready to swaddle Maynard and give him a chance to hide if he wants to (many cats feel less exposed/afraid if they are under a towel and it is safer for us when we can keep our hands out of harm’s way).
- We talk with his owner first to identify any specific concerns so that we can focus our visit.
- We have learned that Maynard will allow us to do a physical examination if we are efficient with our evaluation so we try to limit any extra prodding, poking, or petting.
All of these techniques have helped facilitate minimal stress for routine visits. However, Maynard was diagnosed with kidney disease many years ago and now also has Hyperthyroidism (over active thyroids). It is necessary to check laboratory values on a regular basis to manage his health properly. Drawing blood and doing a cystocentesis (sterile collection of urine from the bladder) has been difficult so our team has had to get creative. Maynard’s owner taught Maynard to urinate into a sterile container at home and we schedule the blood draws at a different time than the exam.
Recently, our doctors decided to try another technique. Maynard’s owner gave Gabapentin in a bite of food about an hour before the visit. This medication is a commonly used pain medication and when first used it has the side effect of making the patient a little sleepy. This worked extremely well. Maynard was a bit subdued, still able to stand and walk around, yet he was much less anxious about having Dr. Robin Riedinger check his blood pressure and draw his blood. He was able to go home with his owner and spend the rest of the day relaxing.
We were all very happy – Maynard, his owner, and our team! As Maynard ages we will need to see him more frequently to manage his health appropriately. Knowing that we can limit anxiety and stress during veterinary visits is important to us all. The Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital team will continue to seek new and innovative ways to keep our patients healthy and comfortable.
If you have a cat, or dog, who becomes anxious and stressed at the thought of going to the vet, please call us first. We can help facilitate a solution customized to you and your pet’s individual needs. Don’t let your furry companion miss out on a healthy life.