The importance of knowing the “birthdate” of your cat when picking up cat medication at a U.S. pharmacy

This true story actually happened this week to my friend Helen. I thought it interesting (and somewhat amusing) and wanted to share it with all of you. The point of this article is to encourage cat parents (and cat grandparents) to know the birthdate of a cat on file with the veterinarian when picking up its Rx (prescription medication) at a U.S. pharmacy. Your veterinarian should have this on file in case you don’t remember.

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

The following conversation took place at a Target pharmacy in Minnesota when Helen arrived to pick up a prescription for her “grandson cat” Kevin. I’m not sure about other states, but in Minnesota, this is the law.

“So after work I went to Target to pick up a prescription for my daughter’s cat.”

The pharmacy clerk: “Date of birth?”
Me: “It’s for a cat.”
Clerk: “I still need date of birth.”
Me: “I don’t know what the vet said when they called the prescription in. It’s a rescue cat.”
Clerk: “You still have to tell me date of birth.”
Me: “I’m going to guess he’s about 8 years old.”
Clerk: “Wrong.”
Me: “Can I just have the prescription?”

“OMG if this hadn’t actually happened to me, I would never have believed something this stupid.”

While many cats receive their prescription medication straight from their veterinarian, a lot of cat owners find it cheaper to use a local pharmacy, especially when their cat is on medication for a long period of time.

Helen eventually obtained the prescription for Kevin, but not before being chastised. The veterinarian wasn’t contacted for verification, but the situation almost escalated to that point.

One of the reasons behind a birthdate being required (for both humans and animals) is because there are more people going outside of the vet’s office for Rx’s. Also, more animals are being prescribed painkillers, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds and other controlled substances. Controlled substances have state and federal laws to comply with which directly means each patient has to be identified with dates of birth and gender and addresses.

If you don’t have the birthday on file for your cat, check with your vet because it should be part of the permanent record. It’s critical these days to know this!

It may even be necessary to use an online app such as Google Docs to list any information on your cats so it can be retrieved from a cell phone, especially if you have multiple pets. You can also present this direct to the pharmacy on your phone.

Please share this information with friends. A lot of cat owners don’t realize how much government red tape we’re required to muddle through to get what we need for a sick pet. Even if you’re a cat, the government can still control whether or not you can purchase your prescription medication.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

9 thoughts on “The importance of knowing the “birthdate” of your cat when picking up cat medication at a U.S. pharmacy”

  1. Elisa Black-Taylor

    We’re all in trouble if the pharmacies start asking for a photo ID of the cat. I get my cats medicine from the vet. I hate going to the pharmacy. Usually an hour or more wait and I’m not a patient person.

  2. Since I have no idea of actual birthdates, mine are always registered as first of January on the supposed birth year (year being based on dentition and physical appearance).

  3. Interesting article. It is almost as if cats are becoming humans. The interesting aspect of this article for me is that there is an increase in prescriptions for cats and perhaps other pets. This would seen to be a general trend amongst the human population as well. I know in the UK far too many elderly people are prescribed drugs which have no real benefit and in fact may present side-effects which are detrimental to the person. I wonder if people are becoming more and more reliant upon drugs and are transferring that attitude to their pets?

    1. I’m sure it’s possible in some circumstances but consider that cats are living rather longer lives with the care we are able to provide thanks to medical advances, so are more likely to develop chronic issues or cancer needing drug therapies. I wouldn’t call drugs that Improve a cat’s life quality unnecessary. I also understand that there is great reluctance to medicate for emotional/mental health issues outside the states, and am sure that in a few cases the medicines prescribed are incorrect for the condition or unnecessary, but that assumption cannot be made across the board. Quality of life might predicate on proper medication. I wouldn’t withhold that medication knowing that it can make an innocent suffering animal happier.

  4. I’ve never had this experience before. (Then again I’m from Canada so maybe it’s different) I’m so glad I made sure to take pictures of their documents so if I ever forget anything at all I still have it somewhere!

    1. Good idea. I presume you keep those photographs on your cell phone which allows you to present them to the person at the counter when they ask the information. In the UK, we never collect prescriptions for our cats at a pharmacy. Veterinarians do not write prescriptions they simply prescribed the drugs and then you buy them at the counter at the clinic before leaving.

      1. There’s a large markup on pharmacy at the vet clinics. Some vets report that 40% of their revenue is drug sales. That means a big bump, when the local non-vet pharmacy sells the same drugs at far lower prices. Animals with chronic illnesses cost a fortune in vet visits so it’s wise to make the drugs affordable.

        1. Which means that once again we in Britain are being ripped off (as usual). The prices in America are amazingly cheap compared to the UK (and Northern Europe).

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