The Cat is the Veterinarian’s Client

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.

From The Cat is the Veterinarian's Client to Cat Facts

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The Cat is the Veterinarian's Client

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Nov 15, 2010
Trusting the Vet?
by: Anonymous

I agree that people need to become much more educated about their pet. I used to be one of those people who would trust the vet, after all he had been my vet for 10 years. I later learned that he did not give a hoot for me or my cat and was onlt concerned with doing numerous unnecessary tests to drive up the bill. In fact, my cat went into renal failure, after a female vet at the clinic adminstered a chemical sedation to take blood from my cat.
I have learned many hard lessons over the past year, and I would advise people to be cautious in trusting your veterinarian, until of course, they have earned your trust.

Jan 09, 2010
by: Ruth

How true Michael ! I worked with many vets and sometimes 'clients' didn't want to be involved at all ! You are right, the caretakers are called the clients,whereas really it is the animal who is the client. Some caretakers would pop the animal on the table and step back,but some of them wouldn't even do that. I was shouted into the consulting room many times to lift the dog to the table or take the cat from the carrier.It all added to the poor animal's stress as they are much happier with the person they know, holding them.OK nurses are trained how to hold animals but even so, particularly nervous ones get more stressed and their person close to them would calm them a lot. I heard the excuse'You know how to do it' many many times,it was sort of handing over the responsibility.It was much more helpful when the caretaker was involved, had their say about why they'd brought their pet in and stayed close to their pet.
But on the other hand, I knew vets too who wouldn't listen to anyone,the 'I'm the vet not you' sort.Just like some doctors are 'I'm the doctor, don't you tell me what you think is wrong with you,that's my job'
I think some people are in awe of doctors and vets,but they do make mistakes and they are wrong at times.It's far better to question everything, a genuine caring vet wouldn't mind at all.
I can just picture it in the vets who declaw, surgeries.The vet offers declawing and the client says 'If you think it's best doctor' Instead of asking what declawing is and are there alternatives ! That's why there are so many people suffering guilt at their declawed cats suffering.......they didn't ask any questions !

Jan 09, 2010
Love Jan
by: Michael

You are a great ambassador for the cat. The cat loves you! And vets won't but heavens they need to be kept in check.

We tend to think of them as the National Health Service in the UK but they are businesses, pure and simple.

Jan 09, 2010
Informed cat carers
by: Jan Plant

Very impressive article! And oh so true! A lot of uninformed people will take their cats in and tell the vet "Do what you think is necessary".Shocking.I've been to the vet,and it is really weird to hear people say that.Me, I drive the vet crazy,with questions and answers of my own.People who go to the vet and allow things to be performed that do not aid their cat,in an way shape or form,need to get an alligator or better yet have no pets at all.
And I believe I for one would be leary of any vet who offered me a "bundle deal".These are not true healers of animals,these are money grubbers who care only for lining their own pockets!
Great article,and much needed.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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