Cat Returning Home From Vet – What Should I Do?
When you bring a kitty home from the vet, it doesn’t have to be a difficult or stressful time, but it can be.
Especially if you have other pets in the house.
And if your pet had to stay at the clinic overnight, and now smells like the clinic instead of how she used to smell, the situation can be worse.
Here are some general tips to do when you bring kitty home from the veterinarian.
If Your Cat is Ill – Help Him Recover
If your vet visit was purely routine, you can probably skip this step.
But if your cat is sick or in poor health, here are some things to do:
- She may have received a sedative. She may still be groggy or unsteady.
- She will be stressed. She had a bad day. She may be somewhat disoriented.
- If she has wounds, monitor their condition as best you can. If they appear to be getting worse, call your vet.
- If she has stitches, watch how she reacts to them. You don’t want her to pull them out.
- Give the full course of medication, apply any ointment, or give the injections. It’s not easy, but you need to do it.
- Make sure they have a quiet and private area of your home to get better in.
- Comfort them as much as you can. They may not appreciate much touching, but they will like you being there.
- If he doesn’t eat, hides or acts unusually, he could be in pain or feeling scared.
- Be sure to contact your clinic and let them know what you are seeing and get their advice.
Keep a Sick Cat Separated After a Vet Visit
The last thing your cat wants after coming home from the clinic is to be around other cats.
She wants to feel safe and come down from the stress and unpleasantness of the vet hospital.
She wants to calm down. She wants to groom herself and cover up those funny smells on her fur.
Keep him separated in his own room if you can, at least for a while.
It’s best if they have their own food, water, and litter pan until they are better.
Even if your kitty is healthy, he will appreciate having his own space for a few hours until he feels normal again.
Cat Coming Home From Vet With Special Needs
If the health of your returning cat has suddenly changed and she needs special care going forward, that will be a disruption to your household.
Household pets like a general order and routine in their lives. When something changes in their environment, it can have an effect on them too.
If you have a cat that now needs special care, especially if that care takes away another cat’s favorite sleeping spot or water dish, it can create tension and fighting.
Cats that used to get along may now be fighting over sleeping spaces, sunny windows, favorite rooms, mealtime rituals or even a favorite litter box.
It may be important for you to maintain the status quo and be sure each cat’s needs are met.
If you need to treat your ill kitty often, it’s best to do this when other cats are not nearby.
Your cat isn’t going to like taking her pills, and she may redirect her anger at any nearby housemate.
Plus, she needs her space afterward too, she doesn’t need another cat sniffing around while she’s stressed out.
Schedule Cats for Vet Visits Together
If you have more than one kitty, maybe you can schedule routine veterinary visits to take place at the same time.
Siblings, or cats that like each other, may find the company of their brother, sister, or housemate in the car next to them to be comforting.
Plus, when the appointments are over, both cats will have that same vet smell on them at the same time, so the experience at home will be better.
Of course, this works best if the cats like each other.
If you have kittens, you can probably take them together in one big carrier. Once they are older, you will want them in separate carriers.
Preventing Conflicts With Other Cats After a Visit to the Vet
Even if your veterinarian visit was just a routine one, it can still be stressful for the cat that went and even the others in your household.
When you first return, your kitty wants to get out of the carrier and be somewhere familiar and safe.
Allow him some time to be by himself, away from any other pets. He can calm down and get happy again.
When it’s time for your cats to get reintroduced, be sure you are around to monitor how they act.
Your cats may be confused. They don’t understand the process of going to the Vet. They may react with aggression from fear or stress.
Cat Returning From Vet Can Upset All the Cats
When your cat comes home, she is going to smell different than she used to.
There are unfamiliar scents at the veterinarian that your kitty can pick up.
There are new smells from clinic cleaning products, medicines, rubber gloves, and even other animals. And if she stayed overnight, those scents maybe even stronger.
Your other household cats are not going to like these scents. Every cat has a unique scent and provides strong communication signals to others.
When your kitty doesn’t smell like himself, it can confuse your other cats. They may hiss and growl.
Cat Behavior After Vet Visit – Aggressive or Defensive Signs
When kitty comes home after a vet visit, he will be stressed and covered in unfamiliar scents.
He doesn’t like it. And any other cats in your home won’t like it either.
A stressed-out cat may act defensive and not want anyone near him. He may lash out at you in his confusion.
Your cat’s behavior is controlled partially by scent. Unfamiliar scents can make them uncomfortable.
Unfamiliar smells can make the returning cat defensive, or your other cats aggressive.
It is usually best to keep your cats separated until the vet smell is gone or mostly covered up.
She will try to do it herself by licking and rubbing up against objects, but you can help to by rubbing her with familiar items that may have your household scent on it.
My Cat Smells Like the Vet – What To Do?
It’s so important to get your kitty back to smelling like himself. To your other cats, he smells like an intruder.
You can take a few steps to hurry up the process of getting their individual and communal scent back.
You can start by throwing or washing any bedding that was in the carrier when he was at the Vet. You can put the carrier out of sight too.
You can take a dry hand towel and rub it on your other cats. Rub it on their head, back and cheeks.
This places your cats’ scents on the towel. While we can’t smell it, your kitties can.
Then, when your returning cat is ready, you can rub her with that same towel. This will help put familiar household scents back on to her, replacing the strange ones.
Instead of taking a clean towel, you could use a towel or blanket that they sleep on and use that instead. Not all cats like each other enough to do this though.
Spend time with her. When she is receptive to it, pet her and rub her to replace the vet scents with yours.
She will also be pretty intense with her grooming. Lots of licking going on.
If your cats remain aggressive towards one another, you can take an additional step to reduce these anxieties.
You can open a can of tuna or chicken broth. Put some of the liquid on your hands and then rub it on each cats’ necks.
This does two things. First, it makes each of them smell the same. This distracts them and decreases the vet smells.
Second, it encourages all your cats to groom themselves and the back of the neck of each other. This can speed up the reintroduction of your kitty back into the communal family.
Keep Monitoring All Your Pets Behavior for a While
You need to watch how your pets get along after a vet visit.
Don’t force them to get together right away. There is no rush.
When they do first get back together, try to be in the room to act as a calming influence or to engage one or more of them in playtime or even treat time.
Maybe you can reintroduce them during mealtime. It could be a special meal you know they really like. Perhaps have a short barrier in-between them.
Either of these methods will help distract them so they are not completely fixated on one another.
If your cats demonstrate aggression to one another, you can try to limit their exposure to each other, but don’t yell, reprimand or punish either of them for their actions. That won’t help.
Get Ready for Future Trips to the Vet
Why not be proactive and take a few steps to help make your next vet visit calmer and stress-free?
You can do a few things that may make future visits to the vet easier.
First, whatever type of crate or carrier you use, make sure kitty doesn’t totally associate that carrier with going to the vet.
Don’t get it out of the closet only on appointment days. Bring it out on normal days too. Put a toy or two in it. Put a treat or some catnip in it.
You want them to be comfortable with it. You don’t want them to be scared of their carrier.
Most cats do not like car rides. And if the only time they go in the car is when they are going to the clinic, they will really grow to dislike it.
If you can, maybe take them for short rides. Try to make these trips fun.
Your kitty will probably be stressed, but you can try to make it as fun as possible.
If you have more than one, take siblings together.
How to Treat Your Cat Returning From the Vet – Conclusion
You will need to make regular trips to your veterinarian during the life of your kitty, but she isn’t going to like it.
So try to make the experience as less stressful as possible.
Be prepared as to how you will reintroduce her back into your household if you have more than one pet.
Stay watchful and be sure to check on her and how your other pets react to her once she is back.
If you need to give medicine or treat wounds, be sure to do it. You can do it.
It can be difficult to get her to swallow a pill or to take care of a wound, but you’re a cat owner, it’s your responsibility. You can do this.
NOTE: This article (and any other article on this site) is not intended to be medical or healthcare advice. Do not consider this article to be professional or veterinarian advice. The authors of these articles are not doctors. They are not veterinarians. This article is to be taken as general information only. The only medical advice you should depend on for your situation is the advice and guidance you receive from your own doctor and staff you have contact with in your suburb. Please call your vet with any concern you have with your cat.