Awhile back, I wrote about the most common personality types I see in my canine patients. I haven't forgotten our feline friends! Some people think that cats are all the same: mysterious, aloof and independent. However, I see various personalities in cats as well. Here are just a few of the most common:
1. The Invisible Cat - This is the cat that pretends it isn't really there during my physical examination. This cat is probably the easiest to examine because they remain virtually frozen during the entire exam and do not make a single movement! These cats may be very shy at home and hide whenever houseguests come to visit.
2. The Curious Cat - This cat is usually on the countertops or in my sink checking everything out when I enter the room. They come right up to me - sniffing my coat, and every piece of equipment I use to examine them. They are also the ones who are most likely to escape the room to go and explore! They tend to be very wiggly because they just want to move on to the next thing. These cats may get on the countertops at home, and are always getting into trouble! They are the most likely to eat items they are not supposed to like strings and we many times see these guys for surgery because of this.
Ashes crawled out from her burning home where all the other pets were lost to the fire. She was half-dead; her paw pads, tail and the tips of her ears received third degree burns and took two months of rehabilitation in the Dunkirk Animal Clinic. She is full of pep now — a “curious cat” personality type — and was adopted by a loving owner.
3. The Cuddly Cat - This cat is always purring or kneading me the entire time I am examining them. They are the "cuddle love bugs" at home and always have to be on someone's lap. My biggest challenge with them is getting them to stop purring so I can hear their heart with my stethoscope.
4. The Angry Cat - This cat is growling and hissing the minute they are put in their carrier. Some may do it out of fear, but others are just plain angry! They use all their weapons available to protect themselves from what is going to be done to them. It is almost impossible to do a full examination on these kitties without using some sedation. We do our best to work slowly and keep them calm and usually we can do the majority of the exam and vaccinations, but anything beyond that requires sedation. These cats are much more tolerable at home, but they definitely are the head of their households!
5. The Feral Cat - This is the cat that the owner found wandering the streets and that has never been touched by a human being. They are plain scared to death. They have that wild look in their eyes and will try to do anything they can to escape. The most humane way to handle these kitties is to sedate them immediately to prevent any injury to themselves or our staff.
If we didn't see different personalities in every one of these pets on a daily basis then our job would be boring! With much experience, one learns how to handle each pet differently based on what their personality type is. If you are concerned about how your cat will handle coming to the veterinarian, give us a call to discuss how to make the trip easier for you and your cat.
Some simple tips include keeping the carrier out at all times for your cat to see and get used to. Put blankets and treats in the carrier to make your cat realize that the carrier is a safe place. Take your cat for short trips to get them used to traveling. Bring them to our office for just a quick visit, a treat, or just a weigh-in. This will help them realize that every time they come to visit us it is not always a negative experience!