Traumatic Vet Visit for My Cat

I took my 2 year old female cat in for her first veterinary exam which would include cat vaccinations and the pre-surgery visit for her spay. During the first vet visit, my cat was a little anxious during the exam as she is unfamiliar with strangers. She was given her first series of cat vaccines, and had a terrible reaction to one of the shots. For 2 days she was unable to walk, had the shivers, and did not eat. When I called the vet's office the evening of the visit, they said to watch her and call the next day if it continued, which I did. That was when they mentioned that they "may have" hit a bone in her hip when they gave her the injection, or that my kitty’s muscle was very sore as they had to hold her down so hard! They offered to have me bring her in again to give my cat pain medications, which I really did not think was a good idea. I had her sleep on a warm water bottle to help ease the pain instead.

2 weeks later I took her in for her next series of cat vaccines. One of the veterinary technicians came in dressed in big long rubber gloves and a rubber apron. My cat freaked out! She bit me, scratched me, and defecated all over the exam table. That was when I decided enough was enough, and took her home.

My kitty is now very mean at home and hisses at me all the time. Even a year after this experience, my cat will not let me touch her backside. She does love her tummy and back being scratched, but get near her hindquarters and she attacks!

What do you suggest? I need to get my cat spayed. She is an indoor cat, so does she really need the cat vaccines?


It is very important to respect what your cat likes and doesn’t like. If she doesn’t like her back end touched, it will be best for you and for her if you only pet your cat where she is comfortable being petted. This will not only decrease the stress on your kitty, but it will also help rebuild trust between you. You may never be able to pet your cat on her back side, but if you follow her lead, your cat will be happier overall.

Whenever interacting with a scared kitty, it is important to be aware of your body language and reactions to your cat's behavior. To read more about the importance of body language and other ways to help reduce your cat's stress at home, please see this page regarding a reader whose cat was terrified of her boyfriend.

In terms of the medical concerns, I completely agree that your cat should be spayed soon, because the longer you wait, the higher her risk of cat mammary cancer and uterine issues. Having your cat spayed may also help to decrease her aggressive behaviors at home.

Vaccines are very important, especially when your cat is young and even if she in an indoor only cat. In the event that your kitty accidentally gets outside, has to be hospitalized, or is ever exposed to other cats, missing out on those early years of building up immunity could be quite harmful for your cat. In addition, many states require, by law, that all cats receive rabies vaccinations.

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to find a different veterinarian for following-up with your cat’s care. If you could, it would be best to bring her to a cat clinic in particular. Cat clinics are often more experienced with handling more frightened cats, and may be able to better treat your kitty without the added stress on her of technicians wearing heavy gloves and aprons.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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