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Minimize Cat Stress While Cat is in the Hospital

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:


My cat is in the local veterinary hospital. She was very sick, not eating and they are running some tests to figure out what is wrong with her. They have her on IV fluids to help rehydrate her while the tests are being done. My question is: Is it better to visit her while she is in the hospital or is it best not to? I don't want to stress her by my "leaving" after the visit.

Bonnie K.

Wheeling, West Virginia


Dear Bonnie,

This is a really common question I get for patients that I admit to the hospital. A little depends on your cat. If your cat is not eating in the hospital (and not vomiting), I think it is helpful to visit. I generally recommend owners bring some of their favorite food and treats. I also try to place them in an exam room where they can be together for a little while and spend some time. I personally don't think most cats are more stressed because you visited. I think seeing a familiar face generally comforts them.

I would recommend calling your vet first, seeing what their opinion is and inquire about any rules regarding visits. You may want to take an item of clothing that smells like you to your pet (preferably something you don't want back). It is very difficult for hospitals to keep track of every pet owners belongings and they can get lost. This is especially common if a pet spills their food, vomits or urinates on an item and it is removed from the cage to be washed.

Best of luck with your kitty! Hope she gets well soon.

Dr. Debra

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