My Vet Wanted Me To Kill My Cat, So I Changed My Vet

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to make a post denoting how to choose the “perfect vet” for you and your animal.  After researching extensively, the obvious factors kept coming up: money, hours of operation, location.  I realized that the experience of picking a veterinarian for your pets is just as personal as picking the right doctor for you.  So instead of making the generic “What to Consider when choosing a vet” I’m going to tell the story of how my family and I decided on our current veterinary clinic, and what made us leave our old one.

My cat is currently 14 years old, and for the past 5 years we have been taking her (and now Riley) to our current veterinary clinic.  I absolutely adore the clinic and all the vets in it (there are three, all of which are familiar with my pets and with the different procedures done by the other doctors there).  Before we started taking my cat there, we saw a different veterinarian, which was based just on proximity.  It was close to the house, and considering my cat is an indoor cat we only ever took her in to get vaccinations so there wasn’t much of a relationship that needed to be built between us and the vet.  In fact, the only time kitty ever went to the vet outside of vaccinations in those ten years was the one time she got a paw infection.  

So, why did we end up switching vets?

Well, a little bit after my cat turned around 10 she got a cold (which is pretty standard with my pets during the change of the seasons) that persisted longer than we were comfortable with.  We took her in for an appointment and while they were doing her physical, the veterinary assistant grabbed my cat wrong (not necessarily her fault but…) and my cat bit her.  

This isn’t odd with my cat.  In fact, before I make appointments for my cat, whether they be to the vet or for grooming, I always specify that my cat is not the “nicest”.  While she’s very calm at home, outside of it she is constantly on edge.  Combine that with being touched and constrained by random people, she can become quite ferocious.  So her biting the veterinary assistant, the vet, or even me isn’t really out of the ordinary (for my cat or any other animal under stress), however, this time the veterinarian decided to make it a big deal.

The first red flag was when instead of checking with my brother or I if my cat was vaccinated for rabies, he went straight to his files.  The reason this personally annoyed me is because

  1. I didn’t even know this doctor’s name so why is he assuming that we regularly go to him
  2. It completely eliminated the doctor/client/patient relationship

I get it, people can lie, but as a client I would like to be informed of my doctor’s decisions as he’s making them and what he could be worried about.  

In this case, my cat’s last rabies vaccination was done at another clinic, so he came in and asked us if we could give him the name and place of her last vaccine.  That’s fine, and that could have been done, except it was a Sunday and this other clinic was closed on Sundays.  Now, the second red flag came up where instead of believing the client, or recognizing that the chances of my cat having rabies was zero to none because she was strictly an indoor cat, he suggested that we euthanize her to test to see if she had this disease so the veterinary assistant can know her next steps.  I mean… What the heck?  Because obviously I’m going to care more about this girl I don’t know who couldn’t even properly restrain my cat than I would about my cat???????? So this really annoyed me at the time, and looking back at it now as someone who is currently studying veterinary medicine it annoys me even more.  

To begin with, as a pet owner, the only thing that matters to me is my pet.  The veterinary assistant is aware of what her job is, and should be aware of the risks associated with being a veterinary assistant, one of which is getting bitten or scratched on the job.  Secondly, her safety was really not my concern, so the veterinarian suggesting we euthanize my PERFECTLY HEALTHY CAT really (excuse my language) pissed me off.  And I know saying that a human life is not my concern, but in this case when it came down to it, I would’ve rather her had gotten the seven shots to the stomach than them touching my cat when I knew my cat was fine.  Not only that, but he wouldn’t let us leave until we could get proof of the rabies shot.  So now I am stuck at this vet’s office, pissed off and crying because my cat isn’t sick and this vet is trying to convince me she is because he wasn’t the one to vaccinate her.  There were so many options this vet could have taken to either console my family and I, or ya know not suck, but here he was just telling us that he had to put our cat down when nothing was wrong with her.

Eventually (after sitting in this room going “you’re not putting down my cat” for about 6 hours) we get hold of a pet hotel that we had her in a few months prior and they sent the records they had to the vet and we were allowed to leave, but from that moment on we had ZERO intentions of ever coming back to that vet.

When we had to bring my cat to the vet again, I knew that this time around I had to research.  I looked up clinics, I read reviews, I googled their histories, I compared prices, I did EVERYTHING, and finally settled on what is now our current clinic.  From the second I called them, I knew I had made the right decision.  The secretary was personable and easy to talk to, and when I explained to her that my cat can be a bit “mean” she made sure to make note of that on her chart.  When we finally brought my cat in, before even touching my cat we had an entire conversation about my cat’s history, I told her the story of our last vet, and she went over the entire system of how their clinic ran in terms of patients, vaccinations, and follow ups.  When I reminded her again that my cat is difficult, she offered the option of me holding her to keep her more comfortable (which it did) and from then on this was the clinic we took my cat to.

When we got Riley, immediately we took him into the vet to get supplemental vaccines and just a general check up and again we were greeted with good energy.  In the past 5 years my animals have had their fair share of medical emergencies (from breaking teeth to skin parasites), and every time our clinic has made us feel so welcome.  There is nothing they do without informing us, and we are there every step of the way.  There is this general level of respect that we never got from the previous vet, which is what was most important for my family and I in our veterinarian (aside from them just being good doctors).

I come from a family that is very much in the medical profession, I am currently studying to be a veterinarian myself, we have a general understanding of medicine and to be completely isolated from the process like the first vet did is one of the biggest no-no’s for me.  For me, a veterinarian who is personable and I can talk to is my favorite quality.  I want my veterinarian to be able to connect with both my pet and with me.  I know that for some people, that may not be the most important thing in a veterinarian.  Like I said, picking a veterinarian is a personal thing, but I hope this gave you all more insight on developing a good relationship with your vet.