Cat Owners Have Rights

cat sitting on scale at veterinarian's office

(Photo: IvonneW/iStockphoto)

You, as a cat owner, have the right and responsibility to ask your veterinarian questions regarding the diagnosis, medical tests, treatment plan, and prognosis for your pet. When you are in the hospital, you ask the nurse what she is injecting into your IV or what pill she is giving you BEFORE it happens to make sure there are no mistakes and you are not mistakenly given a wrong medication or dosage. You have an obligation to exercise this same caution and right on behalf of your cat with your veterinarian.

I often hear how people took their brand new kitten to the vet for its first appointment. Typically, the kitten comes from a closed cattery with a health record showing that it was wormed, what wormer was used, documentation that the kitten comes from a FeLV and FIV negative cattery, and it has had no exposure to outdoors animals. And yet veterinarians will routinely do a fecal test (for worms) and screen for FeLV/FIV (a SNAP test). I've even heard that some veterinarians now advise new owners that a kitten requires worming medication on a regular and routine schedule.

What follows is my opinion based on my experience. If it does not feel right for you and your cats, then I advise you to follow your veterinarian's instructions and recommendations. If what I say makes sense, then have an honest and open discussion with your veterinarian about what is going on and why you are concerned.


I believe, that a kitten coming from a reputable breeder (NOT a stray or from a shelter) with a health record clearly indicating what days and what wormer medication was already used should be considered a negligible risk for worms and should not be re-wormed.

So why are veterinarians charging for tests and treatments that may not be necessary? Why are many veterinarians now recommending monthly worming medications?

Over 30 years ago, when I got my first horse, I was advised by our then veterinarian that our horses needed to be routinely wormed every two months. About five or so years after following this type of schedule, the veterinarians, and other horse owners were switching the type of worming medications used on their horses between the different class of wormers. One time using one class of wormer, and then in two months using another wormer from another class of worming medication, and so on. Every horse owner I knew was also following this same type of alternating worming schedule with their horses. This alternating schedule was advised because a resistance developed to any one class of wormers if given over any length of time.

Did this alternating schedule work any better than only using one class of wormer? No. The worms the horses were exposed to, all developed a resistance to the worming medications. This is similar to how bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics due to overuse.

What To Do?

Nowadays, most large animal veterinarians (horse vets) recommend doing a fecal test on a yearly basis (when the horses get their yearly vaccinations) and IF there are worms or parasites present in the feces, then and only then, is a wormer prescribed and given to the horse – one dose! To me this makes sense. What I recommend for pet owners is when your cat goes in for its annual veterinarian examination, have a fecal test run to determine if the cat has worms or other parasites, if positive, then have the cat wormed. If the fecal test comes back negative, why would you give a wormer to the cat?

What Do We Do With Our Own Cats?

At Pelaqita Persians, since we have dogs that go outside to potty and then come back inside our home, we believe there is a possibility that one of our dogs could bring something back into our home and possibly transfer it to our cats. Therefore, we do apply a topical medication (Revolution) to our Persian cats every month from March through November. Revolution protects against heartworm, roundworms, hookworms, fleas, and even ear mites when used as directed. We also treat our dogs with Revolution. If we have kittens during this time, they also get Revolution (8 weeks of age or older).

Remember:   Risk factors must be considered before any procedure is done or any medication is given to your pet.

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