by Michael (PoC Admin)
We are the cat's agent or guardian in the Vet/Cat/Us relationship.
Veterinarians forget that the cat is the veterinarian's client. Whenever, the word client is referred to by vets it is meant to mean the person who "owns" the cat. Yes, in terms of contractual obligations that is the case as cats cannot enter into a contract with people in the same way that children of a certain age cannot. Although, there is an unwritten "social contract" between the domestic cat and people that says we look after the cat and the cat keeps us company. We are frequently in breach of that contract.
On the basis that the cat is client, where does that place us? We are agents or guardians in this three party relationship:
As guardians or carers we have a responsibility to ensure that proper veterinary care is administered when we are obliged to take our cat to the vet.
There are various ways to ask a veterinarian for assistance. I am sure that the best way is for an informed person to instruct the vet in discussion with the vet about the best treatment.
The worst way is for an badly informed person to see the vet and take an entirely passive role.
An informed cat keeper can be very useful to a vet as, he or she, after all, has very often lived with the cat for a considerable time and therefore should know all the in and outs of the cats habits, foibles and health issues. This background information is useful to a veterinarian.
The cat "owner" should ideally know enough to allow him or her to feel comfortable in instructing the vet to carry out a certain treatment based on the vet's advice.
Whereas a person who is totally in awe of a vet and who can provide little assistance is more likely to end up with the wrong treatment for their cat. In the USA, the classic is when the vet wants to bundle in declawing with some other procedure or to vaccinate when it is not necessary. Both procedures earn bucks for the vet but do harm or potential harm to the cat, the actual client. There are many other subtle methods to enhance profit.
Of course I am talking of ideals. But cat owners owe a duty towards their cat in the stressful and worrying moments when a trip to the vet is required, which can only be fully discharged by giving proper instructions to the vet that both assist and keep the vet in check.