Taking the cat to the vet is definitely high on the ‘Hate To Do’ list for most cat owners. Cats come with this uncanny spider-cat sense of knowing it is time for their vet visit. If you’re lucky, it will only take a few hours to coax your cat into the carrier.
Half the battle is won if your cat doesn’t leave any bite or scratch marks at the vet.
But what happens if your cat starts acting weird after the vet visit?
Should you be worried?
Typical Cat Behavior After Vet Visit
Cats are or can be, for the lack of a better word, dramatic.
They aren’t as adaptable as dogs and are creatures of habit. For dogs, most vet visits are easy and fuss-free. Once home, it is pretty much status quo for them.
When it comes to cats, it is like bringing home a ‘new cat’ after each vet visit.
They need time to get used to the surroundings again. And during this period, your cat might be acting weird.
Usually, there’s nothing much to worry about but it is always good to observe your cat for any drastic changes.
1. Acting Disorientated
If your cat had been sedated at the vet, there’s a chance that it might feel and act disorientated when back home. It’s funny seeing your cat behaving like a drunken sailor but it should pass after a while.
Usually the longer the sedation, the longer your cat will take to purge the sedatives out of its system.
This behavior can also happen if your cat has been overtly stressed at the vet or gets motion sickness during the car ride.
Try to make vet trips a fun experience by putting their favorite toys or treats in the carrier to reduce stress levels.
Once back, it would be best to leave your cat in a quiet room or corner until it is sober.
2. Cat Aggression
Cats are ‘scent’ animals. They rely heavily on smell to recognize their siblings, communicate and mark their territories.
This is why you notice your cat rubbing its face against your walls and legs. That’s because you belong to your cat.
During vet visits, your cat will be bombarded by many strange scents. This will include the smell of other animals, medication and the clinic staff.
Many of these scents will be stuck on your cat’s fur.
This can be a problem if you can other cats at home. The returning cat will no longer smell like the cat that left for the vet but like a totally different new feline.
The other felines in the house might start to see the sick cat as a threat and exhibit aggressive behavior.
Remember to keep the returning cat in a separate room away from the other cats until you can nullify the unfamiliar scents on your cat.
How To Remove The Vet Smell From The Cat
Use a damp cloth to briefly wipe down your cat and then give it a few pets to pass your familiar scent back onto the cat. Or you can leave it alone after wiping it down to self groom and spread its own scent on itself.
One way that has worked well for me is to toss a used t-shirt into the carrier so that your scent is always on the cat.
3. Stressed Up Cat
When a cat returns from the vet, there’s a chance that it might be very upset. Many cats aren’t fans of vet visits and even the act of getting them in the carrier is enough to make the cat angry.
I remembered there was once when I was driving home from the vet with my cat in the carrier. He started getting very upset about being in the carrier.
He began flinging himself violently around in the carrier, hissing and screeching. It reached a point when he started clawing at the ventilation slits until his paws started to bleed.
Suffice to say, seeing my cat behave in that way was very traumatizing for me.
It would be best to leave the cat alone in a room to calm down when you are home. A cat acting weird can be very unpredictable and lash out at you.
4. Cat Hiding And Not Eating After Vet Visit
This is actually a very common cat behavior after a cat visits the vet. You can expect your cat to behave like this for a while if it went through an operation.
Cats hide when they are afraid or in pain. On top of this, their appetite takes a hit too.
If your cat doesn’t have much of an appetite after the vet visit, try tempting it with its favourite treats or add some tune broth (boil some bonito flakes) to its food to try and stimulate its appetite.
You will need to observe your cat closely if its appetite is weak. If it has not eaten at all for more than 24 hours, please call and check with the veterinarian.
The vet might ask you to bring your cat back for a check-up.
5. Cat Sleeps A Lot After Vet Visit
A cat that underwent sedation at the vet will be tired when it’s home. Most cats will revert back to normal after sleeping it off for some time.
It also depends on the reason for the vet visit. If your cat went through some kind of surgery then it would be sleeping more to aid in the recovery process.
Don’t disturb or try and play with your sick cat. It will come to you once it is feeling better.
Truth be told, bringing our dear cats to the vet is an equally frustrating and stressful time for us cat owners too.
We love our furry friends and want them to be comfortable.
Always be more vigilant for a few days after your cat’s vet visit to make sure it is on the road to recovery.
If the cat is acting strangely after 24-48 hours, don’t hesitate to give your vet a call.