Vets refuse to treat cat - at my wit’s end

Twocoastscat

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My 13 year old Jeter is beyond impossible at the vet - even with pre-visit meds he snarls and hisses and slams into the carrier as soon as we get into the exam room and his records clearly describe him as aggressive and as actively lunging at staff. A month ago a vet VERY reluctantly sedated him for a full work-up which ended up involving tooth extractions d/t resorption. 3 weeks later I noticed a lesion on his lip because top canine was extracted but bottom remains. Called vet dentist and explained his issues and they said that many of their cats are like this so made the appointment. As prescribed by the vet who treated him, I gave 100 mg Gaba and some Cerenia the night before, 100 mg Gaba and 50 mg Trazodone two hrs prior to appt. I covered carrier with Feliway-sprayed towel, reconfigured it so they can easily take off the entire top. Quiet for the half hour drive there. As soon as we got to the waiting room he started to hiss, growled and howled in the exam room. Vet tech said no way would they touch him but sent doc in. Very benevolent vet came in and looked at my pic of the lesion, looked as well as he could at Jeter while still in the carrier and said it didn’t look bad but if it becomes a problem they could either shorten the bottom canine or extract it and to return in a year since resorption will keep occurring. Appt would have to be very strategically scheduled so as to avoid him waiting there a long time before being sedated. Cat was completely quiet while the vet was in the room with me and him but vet said it was because he wasn’t attempting anything and so Jeter remained in the carrier. Vet also said that given this cat’s level of stress if and when he is no longer healthy treating him would be relatively impossible and that basically it would be better to euthanize him since he’s so difficult to treat. I just don’t know what else to do. I assume I could pre-medicate him and use a home visiting vet but there would be limitations as to what that vet would be able to do in terms of dentistry specifically, let alone sedation. I’ve called cat-only practices and they’re reluctant to take him on as a patient. I don’t know if anyone can offer further advice. I live near LA and am frustrated that we can tranquilize P22 (our famous mountain lion) to examine (and sadly then euthanize) but I can’t get a 13 lb domestic cat effectively treated.
 

Alldara

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T Twocoastscat Can you contact the vet that treated your lion and ask for recommendations?

Is this the only vet you've taken him to before or have you gone to others in the past?
 

fionasmom

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With ferals in traps, vet routinely tip the trap so that they can access a part of the body to give a sedative injection and proceed from there. My friend used a home call vet for her cat who was having end of life issues, a very unmanageable cat, and while they did not extract teeth ( and I understand that is what you will likely need eventually), they did give sub Q fluids. It was incredibly expensive, though.

Some traps have an isolator that is like a huge comb that is inserted and divides the trap into sections, so the cat can be pushed to the side and injected.

No one who works with feral cats is taking them out of a cage to sedate them.

I do think that the euthanasia suggestion is uncalled for, even if the vet was secretly thinking it.

How reluctant were the other practices? I would keep calling as someone has to be able to work with difficult cats.

Would a different type of carrier work? Soft sided?

Unfortunately wildlife officials are not going to come to your house with a dart gun, but the video is a variation of that.
 
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Twocoastscat

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I thanked that vet profusely for her reluctant willingness to go ahead and sedate then anesthetize him but I know she wasn’t happy. I lived in CT before moving here last year. He was seen regularly at the vet and was handled without medicating and without sedation - just two strong people using big leather gloves with the cat howling and growling throughout. I had to take him to an emergency vet once because I thought he wasn’t defecating - it turned out the dog was consuming his feces - and again they treated him after sedating him in order to X-ray and draw blood. Had a home visit once in CT - again two strong guys with leather gloves managed him. Had a home visit here (unmedicated) -again a strong guy with an assistant wrangled him in an towel and treated him but it was ugly - cat hissed at everything and everyone for three days after that. So that can’t be good for him either. I’ve never been literally turned away until I got here and it has now happened three times.
 

Alldara

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Thanks. I was looking to establish a pattern..so he's always had "white coat syndrome". It's not exclusive to one vet.

Personally, I also have a geriatric cat who hates being handled. That has gone in to my decision to let him go a bit early than I normally would. We can't do his teeth due to a medical condition, and I won't want him to wait in pain until he gets more sick. I don't have the difficulties with vets that you do either.

Sorry that's likely not the answer you're looking for. I think the suggestion of a vet who works with ferals is best for you, or using your old network to find one. I guess I just want to let you know that having handle-ability weigh in to your decision of when to have him pts is okay. I think of it like how some people chose cancer treatment and others choose a vacation. The vacation may be a shorter time, but more enjoyable and that's what matters to some.
 
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Twocoastscat

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Thanks. That is a very empathetic and helpful response. I myself would prefer “going” sooner rather than lingering and I guess should do the same for him. Still beating the bushes for a vet who’s more willing to treat him while he’s relatively healthy until the time that he’s ill comes around.
 

catsknowme

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I agree with Alldara Alldara that a vet who works with ferals is a good choice. There are quite a few SoCal rescue groups and their volunteers might have a vet that is willing to handle your guy. fionasmom fionasmom provided a link to a good video - it's very similar to how my country vet handles our ferals. Whether in a trap or carrier, the tech and I keep the cat preoccupied with attacking pens/pencils that we offer through the openings while the vet quickly "poles" the cat from behind. Some cats jump at being pricked but some are so focused on the tech & me that they don't realize that they were poled. We IMMEDIATELY re-cover the cage and exit the room so that the cat can decompress & take a snooze. At the other vet hospital, they use a gas to sedate the cat but they don't allow me in the room to see how it's done.
 

louisstools

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Jeter reminds me of my angle boy. He was soft and gentle with me but he was a handful for anyone else. One old vet marveled at my boy's athleticism and strength and said he had never seen anything like him before, and that was when my boy was sick with cancer.

Once, after his full bladder blockage surgery I visited him in the recovery area. Mind you he was doped up, taped up, and cone of shamed up. I told the receptionist who I was there to visit and she goes "Oh, that cat." She takes me to his cage and there's a note informing everyone that "I am a cage bolter." If they only knew how much of a handful he was when he was at full strength...
 
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