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Can the Vet Take My Cat Away? Vet-Reviewed Facts

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat and vets

Can the Vet Take My Cat Away? Vet-Reviewed Facts


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Vet appointments can be stressful. You’re worried about your cat, your cat is overwhelmed by the unfamiliar environment, and suddenly, your vet wants to take your cat “to the back” without you. Can they do that?

The answer is yes; your vet can take your cat “to the back” without you. Under the guidelines set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), veterinarians have the right to choose the environment where they provide veterinary medical care.1

Although it may sound daunting, it’s not bad for your cat to be taken “to the back.” In this article, we’ll go over “the back” and how you can manage your anxiety while your cat is away from you.

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What Is “The Back?”

It can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that “the back” is an unsettling place where our cats experience constant terror. But that’s not the case at all, and it isn’t a scary place. It simply refers to a part of the clinic designed for procedures or treatments.

It has essential pieces of equipment that a typical examination room might not have room for. It’s a lot like the examination room that you share with your cat, only bigger and better.

persian cat checked by vets
Image Credit: Beach Creatives, Shutterstock

The 3 Reasons Why Are Cats Taken to “The Back?”

What makes “the back” so important? Why can’t vets treat pets in the examination room? “The back” is an essential place for your vet, as it enables them to provide your pet with sufficient treatment in a space with minimal stress and vital tools.

1. It Reduces Stress for You, Your Cat, and Your Vet

Your vet takes your cat to the back room because it reduces stress for everyone involved. Seeing your cat receiving treatment may be stressful for you, and your cat can pick up on that. That will only add to the stress they already have, and they may attack to escape or even protect you from the vet.

Removing your cat from your presence is the best solution for your vet; they will be able to do their job effectively without added difficulty.

2. Your Vet Has More Room and Assistance

Other important features of “the back” are that it has more room and that there is often a technician or another vet to help make your cat as comfortable as possible during the procedure. “The back” of most veterinary clinics is an open area with multiple tables and plenty of space for examining pets and staff to help each other. Examination rooms are smaller, which limits your vet’s ability to carry out the treatment your cat needs.

3. All of Your Vet’s Needed Equipment Is Back There

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your vet needs to take your cat to “the back” because that’s where their equipment is. The examination room in the clinic can’t hold every piece of essential equipment. Therefore, the back room is necessary for your cat’s treatment.

cat examined by Vets
Image Credit: Kzenon-Shutterstock

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Can You Go to “The Back” With Your Cat?

Being separated from your cat in an unfamiliar environment is a distressful experience. You may think it would be much easier to follow your vet and cat to “the back.” You are free to ask your vet if you can accompany them to the back, but you must be prepared to accept “no” for an answer.

The vet is not obligated to allow you into the back room. Some clinics even have policies that prohibit pet owners from entering the room. It is important to remember that your cat is not the only patient being treated, and bringing you into a room full of other patients could be a huge liability for the vet clinic.

You, your cat, your vet, or another patient could be seriously hurt if any animals became startled by your presence. An alternative to going in “the back” with your cat is requesting a tour of “the back” before your cat’s appointment.

Some vet clinics invite pet owners to see the treatment rooms in controlled environments so that they can feel more comfortable when their cat is taken to “the back.”

Managing Your Anxiety While Your Cat Is in “The Back”

Even if you know what to expect, it can be nerve-wracking to be separated from your cat during a vet appointment. Thankfully, there are ways to manage your anxiety. Most importantly, you should strive to have a good relationship with your vet. If your vet is someone you respect and trust, it is much easier to rely on them to provide the proper care for your cat.

Another way is to ask for details about the treatment. This helps you understand the care your cat is receiving so the procedures in “the back” don’t feel as mysterious and ominous. For example, if your cat is having blood drawn, you may ask where the sample will be taken from, and the same goes for if hair needs to be clipped or even how they will hold your cat to take the sample.

Getting a glimpse of “the back” can also quiet your anxieties. Again, asking for a tour before your appointment is an excellent idea so that the back room seems less intimidating.

veterinarian doctor holds cat
Image Credit: H_Ko, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

When your vet tells you it’s time for your cat to go to “the back,” you may feel your heart skip a beat. But there’s no need to worry. The room is a safe, essential place where your vet provides the best treatment possible for your cat.

Although you likely won’t be able to join your cat in “the back,” you can prepare yourself by building a trusting relationship with your vet and understanding the details of your cat’s treatment. The more accustomed you are to the process, the easier it will be to handle.

Featured Image Credit: Stock Asso, Shutterstock

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