This tweet has gone viral and you can see why. It is both amusing and wise. It is advice provided, I am guessing, from a veterinary association or head vet, which states under “Handling: General considerations”:
“The cat is faster and has sharper teeth and nails than you do. It has no “code of ethics” or considerations for its own future. In a fair fight it will win. DON’T FIGHT A CAT. USE YOUR BRAIN. USE DRUGS.
Common sense advice except I disagree with ‘USE DRUGS’ to beat a defensively aggressive cat. The same advice, incidentally, applies to trying to get your cat to do something at home. It is unwise to try and force your cat to do something that they do not want to do. It is far better to use one’s (hopefully) superior intelligence to trick your cat into doing what you want them to do and taking your time. Often it comes down to patience. Losing one’s patience can end up with a bite or scratch.
What’s also interesting about this tweet on Twitter is the comments. Incidentally, the original tweet was published by a vet tech who is pleased that it has gone viral but she asked that people might consider donating to their local shelter to help stop rescue cats being euthanised.
One commenter referred to the James Herriot books. They apparently advise wrapping an old towel around cats for safety. I’ve seen that advice before as well but it needs to be done respectfully. And in another comment there is a reference to holding a cat by the scruff of their neck as a last resort. This is also good advice I think provided it is done carefully by which I mean with limited force. You do not need to exercise a lot of force when holding a cat by the scruff of their neck to pacify them.
Cats are going to be defensively aggressive sometimes in veterinarians’ consulting rooms because they are fearful of a strange place and a strange person or persons. It is entirely to be expected. But sometimes they become passive with their fear. The reaction is dependent upon the individual cat’s personality.
Real advice from a veterinary training: pic.twitter.com/MmVzZkOMWG
— Moose (@LitMoose) April 18, 2021
My cats have never fought with a veterinarian and neither has my veterinarian ever been forceful with my cats. They have used their brains and I’m sure, to be honest, that 90% of veterinarians do not try and fight with a domestic cat but some lose their rag and become aggressive against their oath and code of ethics. And some cats return home traumatised by the experience.
In every instance, my cats have tried to jump off the consulting table and hide. They became quietly defensive in a passive way. My boy cat defecated out of fear. To use the vernacular he was shitting bricks. That complicated thing slightly.
One cat owner said that she gets “tetchy if some new tech grabs my cat by the scruff of the neck. I won’t tolerate anyone doing that to my cat”. I don’t think holding a cat by the scruff of the neck is that bad. It can be a bit of a lifesaver if a cat has become very difficult to handle. But it should be a last resort because there are better ways to deal with a fractious cat. One vet tech says that she would do it if the cat has wiggled “outta my hold and is a danger to itself or me or my co-workers”.
Another person with experience in this area, a former shelter worker, who has vaccinated, micro-chipped and drawn blood on thousands of animals said that “the only ones to successfully bite me were semi-feral kitten. Got infected both times. And the scariest cat I ever met were declawed torties, had to be sedated to touch.”
The last sentence interests me. It indicates two things: that it is true that tortoiseshell cats can have what is called “catitude” and secondly that declawing can result in continuous and permanent disabling discomfort in a cat which makes them irritable. This is because a lot of veterinarians do botched declawing leaving shards of bone in their paws. Never, ever declaw your cat, I beg of you. It is immoral, cruel and frankly barbaric.
The concept that domestic cats don’t have a code of ethics is an interesting one. It sounds correct and one commenter to this tweet said that: “My cat, Ranger, is the sweetest guy when he is all cuddly but when he’s in fight mode he absolutely has no code of ethics and is not afraid to cut a…..”
Another person realised that you shouldn’t intervene when your cat is wound up for whatever reason. Her cat was about to fight a dog and she tried to intervene by picking her up to remove her from the situation. She said: “Anyway, hope I don’t get sepsis.”