Aussie Veterinarian Gets It Wrong

I don’t want to criticize a veterinarian but sometimes you just have to. In my experience some vets (perhaps a small number) in Australia can tend to have a slightly biased attitude against the domestic cat, which I have gathered from reading their comments on the internet. That is possibly due to the fact that there is a slightly different attitude towards the domestic cat in general in Australia compared to the UK and a very different attitude towards the feral cat in Australia. It is much more antagonistic and hostile.

Stray Cat Australia

Stray Cat Australia. Looks like this cat has a very interesting dilute tortoiseshell and white coat. Photo: Richard Taylor.

Veterinarian Jack Ayerbe of Newton Veterinary Clinic, Victoria, Australia was talking about cats generally in the Geelong Advertiser, a local newspaper.

Jack Ayerbe first said that a cat’s bite was often worse than a dog’s and then he is quoted as saying this amongst other things:

“Cat scratches are equally as disastrous and cause major problems.

So according to this esteemed Australian vet cat scratches are disastrous every time.That is the only way you can interpret that comment. This is obviously complete mumbo jumbo. Sometimes and very rarely a cat scratch may cause health problems in a person such as cat scratch fever but invariably the scratch would have been the result of mishandling the cat by the person who was scratched.

Cat scratches simply do not always cause major problems as this vet says. Most scratches are simply ignored and forgotten about. And there is no reason to be scratched. It is the person’s responsibility to avoid being scratched by relating to the cat in a sensible and appropriate manner.

Then vet Jack Ayerbe says that:

Anyone attacked by a cat needs to go to the doctor immediately…

I am telling Dr Ayerbe that people are not attacked by a domestic cat. It is the other way around. If a person does attack a person it will be out of sheer desperation and in defense. It will be a defensive measure not “an attack” in the conventional sense. The problem, once again, will be caused by the person.

I don’t like it when people, especially professionals and so called experts paint an inaccurate picture on cat behavior. It can lead to worsening relations between domestic cat and people and a vet has a duty to foster good relations.

The area of Geelong have a curfew for domestic cats. Cats have got to be in between sunset and sunrise – all day, basically. The author of the article (see original) says that a cat has to be “kept inside a house or garage” during these hours under the local community regulations.

If anyone kept a cat inside a garage in Australia all day he should be banned from having a cat. Ridiculous comment.

It seems that a large number of owners ignored the local legislation as 3227 cats were impounded of which 2406 were euthanized.

Original photo on Flickr.

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Aussie Veterinarian Gets It Wrong — 12 Comments

  1. My gosh. That really is the dark ages. A garage or house eh. And all those cats impounded and euthanised. Cats love the outdoors and belong there wherever possible, i.e: if it is safe. Clearly it’s not safe there because of their medieval attitude. The only thing I will say is I can understand if Australians are paranoid at this point. They have basically totally messed up that continent consistently since they got there. And that has been due to bringing animals in for the most part. But still, and yet again, this is something that needs to have a non biased study funded to simply work out whether or not cats are causing yet another disaster to the Australian ecosystem. I doubt they are but I really dont know. I doubt it because cats need people so they are where the people are. That is to say they are in the areas which are already destroyed by humans. I doubt they are out in the bush miles away from anyone decimating populations of small but necessary animals to the ecosystem. A study please, and not a biased one based on small numbers thet have been extrapolated, as is typical of these studies. And after that, a conclusion and an end to the dark ages!

  2. I commented on the article. I was quite blunt, but not rude. I complained about Dr Jack. I told them he was mentioned here without using an actual url. Apparently my comment is being moderated. We’ll have to see if it goes through. Perhaps I shouldnt have said ‘dark ages’ but I see other comments were allowed which were quite serious and negative in nature. We will see.

    • Love what you do, Marc – thanks. It may surprise visitors but I hate to criticise. I love to praise. It is far nicer to do that. But cats need a voice of reason and moderation. I hope that I provide that. A lot of vets know less about domestic cats than regular visitors to PoC. They might know the anatomy etc but do they really understand the cat and do they like the cat?

      • I simply made the 2 points about bites and scratches and then concluded that the vet should not put cats in such a negative light since it’s not part of his job description to do that, and not good for the human/cat relationship. And then I mentioned the dark ages. Oh well. I’m supposed to get an email confirming that its been published, if it is.

        • 🙂 It won’t. Well, it might. If you are lucky. I believe that people should be polite to vets and listen to them but should not assume that they are necessarily expert. Gentle testing is good. I take that stance because, once upon a time, I was a “professional” person – a solicitor (poor me). And I know there is a wide range of standards.

  3. That vet is totally wrong! Having been the recipient of many scratches and a few bites, over the years I worked for vets and volunteered with cats, I can say that although scratches are sore for a while, they don’t hurt or take anywhere near as much healing as bites do.
    A good run of the cold tap on the scratch or bite at the time and then some antiseptic spray and there should be no problems and that’s what I did then carried on with my job. Being injured by frightened cats or cats in pain is to be expected by anyone working with animals. Why does that vet pick on cats when a dog bite can do far more damage?
    How cruel to deny cats of their freedom, shutting them in a garage all day is particularly cruel. I would never live anywhere our cats couldn’t enjoy their lives as cats have every right to or were curfewed.
    It sometimes seem progress is going backover in the way people treat animals,it’s known now they are aware of themselves and have many emotions we do, fear, pain, frustration etc so surely it’s time to treat all animals with respect and with thought for their quality of life.

    • I don’t think the human wants to recognise the fact that other animals have intelligence. We like to be the only ones. Human arrogance. Sad. The trouble is humankind is not intelligent collectively. It is very stupid. You have to conclude that in observing the world.

  4. Ridiculous,as a kid I had scratches from cats because we played and I was just to wild,it wasn’t the cat’s intention to scratch me it was just a reflex,didn’t hurt me at all and actually I believe it boosts the immune system,thats why kids with pets get less ill!I never got scratched for no reason!It is different when a cat attacks you out of defense,he might hurt you,but hey in that case you were probably asking for it..silly Australian vet…

  5. Cats are clean, loving creatures but will defend themselves if handled in a rough manner. Let’s ponder on this one “How would an adult human respond if somebody would pull an ear or pinch a part of your anatomy ?” most likely it would end up with an angry exchange of nasty wordslikely followed by a few punches to their face. I’ve been a cat lover/rescuer/helper for over 50 yrs, yes, I’ve been s cratched because I either startled the cat or it was in defensive mode to begin with. We had taken our last rescue to vet, suddenly a pet owner walked in with large Lab dog, our cat got terrified, scratched & bit my arm. All pets owners were told to restrain their pets to avoid serious consequences.
    Don’t blame the cat when owner is at fault!
    keenpetite
    Southeast Arizona (USA)

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