My Heart Goes out to This Woman Whose Cat Escaped from Her Veterinarian’s Clinic

Linda Haworth breaks down in tears when she describes how she took her cat to her veterinarian because he wasn’t feeling well. He had stopped eating. Whilst at the clinic the veterinarian decided that she needed to take some blood tests and took Timmy into a different room.

Before she did so, Linda mentioned that Timmy was agitated and that he is a sensitive cat. Nonetheless the veterinarian took him to a room where she could take blood samples. She came back not long afterwards looking upset. She told Linda that Timmy had escaped. Linda thought that she meant Timmy had escaped into the clinic somewhere. However, the veterinarian explained that Timmy had escaped to the outside.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


Timmy had escaped the room and then had run up a flight of stairs and jumped out of an open window which overlooked a garage roof. He then ran away. Linda is absolutely distraught as any concerned cat guardian would be. Linda says:

“We’re both absolutely devastated and disgusted. He’s such a nervous cat. I warned them he would struggle. They left me in the main treatment room and when they came back they were all flustered and said ‘we’re really sorry to tell you his escaped’. I can’t believe it. When you take an animal to the vets you expect a safe and secure environment. You certainly don’t expect windows to be left wide open. We’ve been bringing our cats here for 25 years and never had a problem but this just shouldn’t have happened.”

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Both Linda and her husband Mike spent many hours looking for Timmy and putting up posters and appealing on social media. So far they have been unable to find him. Naturally, Linda fears for his safety.

Linda says that he’s probably curled up somewhere terrified and of course he is ill and not eating which makes his predicament doubly worrying. Not knowing what’s going on is very upsetting for her. She prays that she can find him before his illness gets the better of him.

The clinic is part of the Regan Veterinary Group and their clinical director said:

“We are devastated that this is happened and have apologised to Mr Mrs Haworth wholeheartedly. We take the safety of animals in our care very seriously but in this case something went wrong and we will be investigating and reviewing our procedures carefully. Our immediate priority however is to find Timmy and we have already printed out posters, carried out a local search and posted hid details on our social media platforms.”

The clinic

The clinic

The story is interesting because it is the first time that I have heard of a cat visiting a veterinary clinic escaping from the clinic. I’m going guess what happened. In the hot weather, and it has been very hot, the clinic decided to open a window. And the door to the room where the blood tests were being carried out must have been open as well (perhaps to facilitate a flow of air) and that left access to the outside. Timmy seized the opportunity.

There is a moral here no doubt which is that cats are nearly always agitated at veterinary clinics which means they could struggle and escape the control of the veterinarian or staff and from that point on anything can happen. Precautions need to be taken at all times as disaster can strike in the blink of an eye.

The clinic is the Park Veterinary Clinic, Prestwick, UK.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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16 Responses

  1. M E King says: I continue to recommend in the US finding a practice with gold status for your cat. In most cases a vet cannot claim to be a cat expert without credentials that often include internships and extra education.
    The vet we use does not have back room procedures unless there is a need for equipment. I have seen their exam rooms, operating rooms, x ray rooms. I know the layout of my pets facility and it is every bit as important as the staff.
    I am paying more but getting more services included such as free follow ups and a well organized computer system that has my cats full medical history at a tap. My vet spends actual time with my cats. Interacts with them. My cats normal behavior is not seen as misbehavior.
    When we were losing Kitten this hospital and the staff found cost saving everywhere they could so we could continue treatment and they were brutally honest when we reached the end of the line.
    What happened isn’t this couples fault. But as pet owners we trust that DMV. If you see something speak up. If the staff has issues like snotty looks and eye rolling get the heck out of there.
    For anyone who’s pet has been prescribed medication Merck provides a free online complete veterinary drug handbook.
    Along with the FDA in the US DailyMed provides all medication packages and inserts. These are the most current for human and veterinary drugs.
    You can access all the information on RX drugs and their warnings that your vet may not mention.
    Sorry to ramble on Michael It really is all one in the same in how our pets are handled from the time they come in the door to the treatments they may receive.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks ME. Just so you know. The reason why your commented was held for moderation is because it contains links and the software sees that as a potential spam. It is not me but the software.

    • Michael Broad says:

      You aren’t rambling ME 😉 Your comments are valued.

  2. I think this kind of thing happens more than we realize. A friend of mine had taken her cat to the vet, and when she picked him up the carrier, as she was going out the door, he bolted out into the street because the carrier door wasn’t closed properly. She never found him, in spite of many attempts in different ways. The vet did nothing, except apologize.

    Be aware that many things can go wrong at the vet’s, and pet guardians are way too trusting. Many of us learn the hard way that we need to be informed and aware of the various hazards at the hands of vets, like over-medicating, over-vaccinating, giving dangerous drugs that have caused illness and death, not reading a pet’s chart that may indicate not to give a certain drug because of toxic reactions, and there are many sites cropping up with horror stories of vet experiences. I can’t post them here, but have sent a couple to Michael, and hopefully he’ll share those with us.

    • M E King says:

      I carry zip ties in my purse. That goes on before we leave the exam room. A hard carrier with extra hardware securing it both in how it is put together, most come with extra holes, and doors zip tied are more likely to stay intact if they are dropped or the worst happens and you are in an accident. Most carriers can be seat belted in with a bit of ingenuity
      zip ties come in a variety of strengths. The one with the higher test strength often have a release tab.
      Beware of soft carriers as most have inferior nylon zippers that can pull apart or in the case of one of my cats who got clever a well inserted claw or tooth. Soft carriers provide no body protection in an accident or dog encounter at the vet.
      There are no safety standards for pet carriers aside from size restrictions for travel. Pet carriers should come with a rating similar to riding helmets.
      I live in a pass though town. When there are accidents it’s not uncommon to hear that someone is looking for a cat or dog whose kennel popped open of came apart in the impact.
      This of course bears no weight on how Timmy was lost. That was negligence. I hope he has been found.

  3. Albert Schepis says:

    I’ve been a cat guardian for 20 straight years; 18 cats and counting. I’ve switched veterinarians at least 12 times for various reasons but when a staff member has taken one of mine from an exam room to the back I am always worried about this happening. It can happen, and they can become complacent as they plod through their routine. Do not let them. Even if it’s just for the sake of helping your pet get through whatever they’re putting them through, remind them that you know your pet and how he or she likes to be treated. Remind them that it’s an individual, that it knows it’s name, that it’s a cat not a dog, to slow the heck down and lower their voices, to see that place through your pet’s eyes and ears, to keep the dogs quiet and calm, that it’s not just a place of business it’s your cat’s worst nightmare. I’ve seen it all too often, even with experienced personnel, and it would take just one event like this couple’s to guilt you the rest of your life for trusting your pet to them. And the woman did speak up beforehand in this case and it still happened. I really, really feel for that poor cat and I hope it was found and properly cared for.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Beautifully said Albert. I have felt the same concern for my cats when at a vets. Although I confess I have never considered the possibility that he might escape the building. I will now though.

    • Albert, Would you be willing to share some of your experiences with us, about your reasons for changing vets? I’ve recently taken my cat to 4 different vets for 2nd opinions, and each one did something that was a red flag for me. One vet even rejected me as a client, when I asked what medications would be given for dental work. I’d already paid for a visit, but when I didn’t get the names of the medications, I emailed her to ask, and that’s when I got her response that I should find another vet.

      I’ve come to the realization that most vets want “compliance” without too many questions. After all, they are in a position of authority. And I regret to say that there were too many years in the past that I didn’t think to question them, and falsely assumed that they knew best.

      We have to remember that even though people can have the same education, they will always have their own opinions, which greatly affect their recommendations. And if profits are involved, even opinions can be swayed.

      We need to “Be AWARE and Informed” in order to protect our pets. A smart phone can be used at the vet’s office, to look up any medication they recommend. Look at the potential side effects before you consent. I’ve never been told about the side effects until after the fact, so it’s really up to us to take the time that may save your pet’s life.

  4. Cat's Meow says:

    The clinic needs to invest in window screens.

  5. Michael_ you have made a good point. This clinic is a storefront and he could have been picked up.If not I would search for an injured cat who is hiding from the world. has anyone thought he could be hiding or even fell or ran into a storm drain or even jumped into a strangers vehicle? I would be just so worried and I do feel their frustration.

    • Michael Broad says:

      I hope they have used all their common sense and knowledge to find him. He won’t be far away.

  6. M E King says:

    Most vet clinics have a set up that prevents this kind of mishap.
    One of the reasons we left a clinic we had used for years was the lax attitude of open doors from one area to the next.
    There is a nifty invention called a window screen. Shame on this clinic.
    Lets hope Timmy is found soon.

    • Michael Broad says:

      You know it this problem never really occurred to me until I read the story but I now see the danger. Thanks ME.

  7. Jennifer says:

    She needs to get to asap! Put out live traps near the clinic and make sure they’re watched every second. Dear Lord, please let this woman be reunited soon with her cat and may he be in good health!!!

    • Michael Broad says:

      Thanks for your good advice Jennifer. I am fearful he’ll be run over because the clinic is on the road.

  8. Irish Cornaire says:

    I wish she had insisted on being with her moggie for the blood test,my vet allows me to stay with mine especially when my beloved Mysterymine needed to have a blood panel done because he was more calm with me in the room,I hurt for this woman!

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