By the time my cat gets to the vet, I may have to be sedated, too.
November 18, 2012 5:27 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep my kitty from bouncing off the walls while he’s fasting? My 12-year-old cat Marty must fast Monday after 8 p.m. in preparation for teeth cleaning (and the requisite anesthesia) Tuesday at 8 a.m. (Sorry to fall down on the picture mandate – he’s all black, so taking a recognizable photo of him is … not easy!)

This will be the second time in eight weeks I’ve tried to take him in for dental work. The last time, he howled and yowled for food the night before, running around the place and getting all worked up. (I admit that I did not help this situation when I put him in the bathroom with water and litter and one of my old T-shirts. I thought he’d finally chill, but instead he threw himself against the bathroom door. I won’t try that again, believe me.)

By the time I dropped him off the vet’s office, he was hissing and swiping his claws. Forty-five minutes later, the vet called me and said that even with pre-anesthetic sedation, Marty was so stressed that they didn’t want to put him under.

At home, Marty is a friendly, talkative little guy. And under normal circumstances, he’s relatively chill at this vet’s office, where he’s been many times before.

So now that we’re giving it a second try, how can I make sure Marty remains calm overnight when I can’t feed him? (Again, I will not repeat the mistake of locking him in the bathroom.)

P.S. I’m at work and can’t come back for a while, but I will check in should there be any more questions.
posted by virago to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
i don't understand the difficulty here. how often is he fed? or do you allow him to graze all day? when i had cats, they were fed once in the morning and once in the evening when i got home from work. this would be a couple of hours before 8p. i didn't allow them to graze. if they didn't eat all their food within a certain period, i would take up their dish and they wouldn't get to eat again until the next meal. they soon realized they had to eat their food right away or not at all until the next meal. can you not feed him just before 8p?
posted by violetk at 5:41 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is too late for this visit, but what if you switched him to twice-a-day feeding? That's what I've done, on my vet's very strong recommendation, and so when I had to bring Hopper in for dental work after fasting it just meant she was an hour or two hungrier than usual.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:42 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yes, twice-a-day feeding on canned food is best for almost all cats, so switch him to that diet if he isn't on it already.

Also, if I were doing this with my Trilby who is on the canned two-meals-a-day diet and who knows damn well when his two mealtimes are, I would give him an extra large supper at 6 p.m. the night before so he wasn't driving me crazy the next morning demanding breakfast.
posted by orange swan at 5:55 PM on November 18, 2012

How about a few drops of Rescue Remedy for cats in his water?
posted by lois1950 at 6:25 PM on November 18, 2012

Marty doesn't get to graze, but I work weird hours -- 4 p.m. to midnight (should have mentioned that -- I forget that other people have normal schedules) -- so he's used to getting his second meal when I get home from work, which is about 12:30 a.m.

I'll try giving him his first meal earlier than usual, and then have a friend who lives nearby come by to give him his "last supper" just before 8 p.m.
posted by virago at 6:27 PM on November 18, 2012

i don't understand the difficulty here.

violetk, I'm sure you meant this statement in the nicest way possible. Aaaaand ... you are right. It's not that tough a situation. But there's another byproduct of my wonderful schedule: Having to be anywhere at 8 a.m. is very unusual for me.

I didn't get a lot of sleep the night before Marty's most recent vet appointment, because I'm used to going to bed at 3 a.m. and getting up at 11 a.m. That night, I went to bed at 3 a.m. and got up at 7 a.m. Hence, all my synapses weren't firing when I was dealing with my cat, and I'm turning to my fellow Mefites for kind words and suggestions so as to avoid a reprise of that earlier scenario.
posted by virago at 6:34 PM on November 18, 2012

One of my cats recently went in for a dental at 8 a.m., and the vet's instructions were for no food after midnight, so your present timing is already close to that. Is there a way you could reschedule Marty's dental for 10 or 11 in the morning? (Note: at least at my cat vet, an 8 a.m. surgery does not mean that's when it starts.) Your vet is the very best resource to finetune both the timing and the handling of your cat -- and if they're not, you might find time for a new and better vet.
posted by vers at 6:49 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you ask them if you can drop Marty off the night before, maybe pay for a night of boarding on top of it?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:00 PM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Can you ask your vet for a sedative? Just something mild, that will make him sleepy, so he falls asleep instead of acting all hyped up. Actually, benadryl at a middling dosage used to do this for our dog; not sure how it works on cats (though the internet seems to think it's safe - please check with your vet).

Food just before 8pm also sounds like a really good idea - but I'd have a mild med on hand, just in case, if possible.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:17 PM on November 18, 2012

Call and ask if he can be put down for a slightly later slot in the schedule, around noon rather than first thing in the morning. Then you could feed him at midnight when you get home.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:28 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I live in a multi-cat household; for one thing it's hard to fast just one cat, and for another thing, Khaleesi Daenerys doesn't take kindly to being denied her food (she howls nonstop starting in the middle of the night, and she's a Siamese, so you can imagine how that sounds). I've actually taken to boarding the cat who needs to be fasted overnight at the vet's. Many vets offer this service. I have a cats-only vet who has staff that keep an eye on their boarded animals. This might be a last-resort try to keep Marty from flipping his lid.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:35 AM on November 19, 2012

Have a friend stop by and give him a feeding at midnight. He'll have a full tummy and he'll be chill. Like always.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:07 AM on November 19, 2012

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