Cats Versus Dogs: Does Your Veterinarian Play Favorites?

Cat and dog at vet

When it comes to my affections, I consider myself pretty evenly split between felines and canines.

But plenty of veterinarians I know have a definite preference — and some don’t hide their feelings about their favorite pick.

It raises the question: Does it matter to you whether your vet loves felines more than canines? Or is it good enough just to know that they’re good at what they do?

I love both dogs and cats, but there are definite pros and cons when it comes to how veterinarians interact with each species.

Cat Pros

What you see is what you get. When it comes to exam room interactions, nothing describes feline behavior better. You know that “fight or flight” thing we talk about? Well, most cats will do one or the other in dramatic fashion. In other words, when a cat is intimidated and wants to hide, she’s easy to handle. But when she’s freaked, she’ll let you know. Believe it or not, this is a plus — we want to know what we’re dealing with ASAP.

They can be purrlicious. When cats have been properly socialized, and have a cool personality, they’re fun to handle — even in a high-stress veterinary environment. They just want your attention. I love cats when they’re like this.

They typically don't mind overnights. Assuming that they’re well-socialized, cats and kittens are super easy to hospitalize for extended periods of time. Dogs . . . not so much.

Cat Cons

They can have bad attitudes. When felines are unwilling to cooperate, they can be impossible, which is why I say, "Never mess with a well-motivated cat." These are the patients we often have to sedate for nearly every interaction — and it's not fun for the cat, the owner (and their wallet) or us.

Their owners can have bad attitudes, too. Although many of us start our careers adoring kitties, some of us lose interest once we realize how many cat-owning clients are unwilling to pay for treatment or otherwise invest in their pets' care. It’s been repeatedly shown that pet owners are willing to spend more on their dogs than their cats.


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