Taking your cat to the vet is never fun — but things gets a whole lot more stressful and emotional if your vet tells you that something is wrong with your cat. It’s hard to deal with potentially heartbreaking (and expensive) news in the heat of the moment, but there are some steps you should consider taking when you’re faced with a vet’s diagnosis that you weren’t expecting or don’t agree with.
1. Get A Second Opinion
We trust our vets to give us an honest and accurate diagnoses about our cat’s health — but being that our beloved felines cannot actually talk and express what feels wrong with them, there’s often a little guesswork going on. If you’re faced with a suggested diagnosis that doesn’t sit right with you and doesn’t seem to match your cat’s personality and demeanor, definitely take the time to consult another vet for a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to go for a 3rd opinion if necessary.
(I’ve had success calling or emailing a vet with some information about what seems to be going on — receiving a second suggested course of action really helps you make an informed decision.)
2. Utilize Social Media Networks
Putting your cat on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram isn’t for everyone — but valuable support networks for cats with special needs or ailments exist. Plug a relevant hashtag into Instagram — say #TripodCat or #DiabeticCat — and you’ll be surprised at the amount of pet owners dealing with similar situations. Introduce yourself to the group and feel free to ask lots of questions.
3. Talk To Your Pet-Owning Family And Friends
Talking about what’s wrong with a cat isn’t as fun as telling anecdotes about the shenanigans they get up to — but you’ll be surprised how useful it can be to ask your pet-centric family and friends if they know anyone whose feline has ever received a similar diagnosis. Just speaking to someone in plain terms rather than attempting to decipher technical veterinary speak can be a stress reliever.
4. Consider Natural Remedies Sensibly
Sometimes changing your cat’s diet or introducing certain home remedies can help alleviate an issue. As long as there are no adverse effects, it can’t hurt to try adding these to the daily routine. Just be sensible when it comes to the financial side of things and don’t splurge on every alleged miracle cure all at once.
5. Check Out The Financial Angle
Vet visits and procedures cost money. Many facilities will offer to sign you up to a credit card as part of the payment planning process — but you’ll usually find a better (interest free) deal elsewhere by shopping around outside of the pet care world.
6. Take A Beat
Finally, unless you’re in a medical emergency situation, always take a moment, an afternoon, even overnight to reflect on the diagnosis and figure out what really seems best for your cat. Never be pressured into signing up to a course of treatment that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. Always be ready to walk away if you feel strongly that your vet is off base. If it’s not an immediate life or death situation, you can think on it and make a clear decision when you’re not feeling so stressed.