Minimal restraint is frequently most effective in achieving efficiency, which is key when working with cats. Previsit oral medications (eg, gabapentin and trazodone) given at home have been shown to minimize anxiety and stress and increase compliance.1-3 Alfaxalone and dexmedetomidine can also help alleviate agitation; these drugs are typically administered IM after the overall health of the cat has been evaluated.
Because of the small size of cats, IV catheterization can be more challenging in cats than in dogs. Although the cephalic vein can be catheterized in both cats and dogs, the medial saphenous vein is more commonly catheterized in cats, and the lateral saphenous vein is more commonly catheterized in dogs. Intubation can also be more challenging in cats because of the size and reactivity of the upper airway. If care is not used, a greater incidence of tracheal tears following intubation is possible4,5; however, use of topical lidocaine on the arytenoids and an appropriate tube without a stiff stylet can greatly minimize these problems. Diligent cuff inflation and disconnection of the tube from the breathing circuit are also important when turning the patient.
Postanesthesia, cortical blindness also has been reported in cats (but not in dogs) and associated with the influence of spring-loaded mouth gags on maxillary artery blood flow6,7; therefore, it is important that use of these devices be minimized or avoided when anesthetizing cats for bronchoscopy, endoscopy, or dentistry.