Kat's Korner

Kat Brown

Vets with fear and loathing of cats

Kats Korner000
Kats Korner000

I WAS READING an article written by a respected veterinarian in the UK named Malcolm Welshman. He had just retired after a long career, and what struck me was his confession that he hated cats. Not just disliked, but hated passionately.
    “I have to confess that I absolutely detest the creatures. I both fear and loathe them. Their sneakiness, unpredictability and selfishness set my teeth on edge.” He went on to say that cats often sensed his negative feelings toward them and responded accordingly.
    The vet swore he had never let his fear and loathing affect his treatment of cats, but it brought back an experience I had when I first came to Albuquerque in 2004. I had a rescue cat named Clint who was a big scaredy cat because of horrible abuse as a kitten. It had taken quite a while for us to reach an agreement so we could coexist.
    The first time I took Clint to see his new vet, he freaked out and acted so violently that he got tagged as a bad cat. The vet would not see him again unless he was sedated and I was not in the room. He said he didn’t want Clint to associate the “bad experience” with me.
    I was irritated at the time but accepted his reasoning. I put it all down to the fact that Clint had not had a chance to adapt to his new surroundings after a long move. I knew he could be unpredictable. When I met him as a foster, he had been returned so many times for aggressive behavior that his rescuers had just about decided he would never be able to be placed. But I had found a vet who volunteered at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, where they were trying some modified behavior therapy for traumatized cats. After some work with this vet, Clint had been fairly stable for four years.
    I had started to look for a new vet when I received a notice that this one was retiring, so I took a chance and brought Clint to the new vet at the practice.
    Right away, it was a whole different experience. The new vet said that Clint was not a bad cat at all. He was calm and did not show any more fear or aggression than is common at vet visits. And she allowed me to stay with him the whole time.
    After reading about the British vet who hates cats, I wondered if my experience was another case of the same thing. I wondered how Dr. Welshman’s former clients felt after reading his confession.
    Since my experience with the vet in Albuquerque, I have learned much more about the intuitive nature of cats and animals in general. Many animals do have filters that tell them certain humans are not to be trusted. It turns out we would do well to take their advice— not only for their sake, but ours as well.
Kat Brown of Albuquerque is a lifelong animal-lover, especially of cats. Share your cat stories and comments at