Penelope’s Sneaky Maneuvers for Avoiding White Coat Stress

Ever since I was a tiny kitty living in that miserable shelter, I hated going to the vet. No matter the color of the vet’s coat, all that prodding and poking during an office visit unsettles my normal sense of aloof calm.  Afterward, I always have to endure some awful medicine in my eyes, ears, nose or mouth. After I had a bad reaction to a vaccination, I meowed, “That’s it!  I protest! No more Vet!” Here are my tips for coping with white coat stress.


Resist the Bait.

My owner, or my human as I like to call him, thinks I’m a fool. He pours a few of my favorite kitty treats into my food dish. Immediately, I come a runnin’ when I hear that delightful sound. As I head around the corner, I spot that dreaded cat carrier. Then I see my human sitting a few feet away from my kitty treats.


Stopping dead in my tracks some ten feet away from my human, I ponder my dilemma – a classic avoidance-avoidance conflict. Either I go for the treats, and risk getting shoved into that cat carrier, or I walk away from my beloved treats. Hmmm . . . tough call.  After a careful deliberation, I walk away.  When my human follows me, I sprint like a bat out of . . . the attic.


As I listen to my human’s phone call to the vet’s office in which he explains that my appointment must be cancelled because I can’t be caught, I purr a sigh of relief.  When my human hangs up the phone, I run to my dish and relish my treats.  He grunts with frustration!


Escape Your Fate.

I refuse to reveal how my human catches me on his second attempt to haul me to the vet because I don’t want to give other owners any ideas. Trapped in that prison cat carrier, I am hurled into the front seat of the car.  What’s this? Somehow the catch on the carrier door is loose.


Boom! I make my escape out of the garage.  My human closes the garage door to stop me, but I’m too quick. In fact, waiting for the door to reopen, he loses sight of me.  It’s so much fun to watch him call my name and entice me with cat toys. Doesn’t he realize what a buffoon he is?


Finally, he promises “Okay! You win Penelope. I won’t take you to the vet.”  After I hear him call the vet again on his cell phone to cancel my appointment, I let out a loud meow. Only then does he see me behind the bush in the front yard, where I have been hiding all along.


Best Bet to Dodge the Vet

On the third attempt, my human calls his SWAT team of friends to capture me and escort me to the vet’s office.  While perched on the examining table waiting for the vet to arrive, I espy a missing tile in the office’s drop ceiling. One easy jump and I start roaming in the rafters.  It takes three of the vet’s staff members to retrieve me. Boy, was that vet mad.

The Real Lesson in Easing Stress

Close to exhaustion, I reluctantly submit to the vet’s poking and prodding. Truth be told, the examination wasn’t really all that bad. Then I reflect, “Maybe, it’s better just to face your fears instead of avoiding them.” Carl Jung, the noted Swiss Psychiatrist and close follower of Sigmund Freud, said, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.” Perhaps he is right. I will avoid a lot of stress if I stop resisting my human and go along with his agenda – he’s going to get his way anyway.



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