Getting Your Cat to The Vet Without All the Stress
Sometimes, the hardest part of getting a cat to the veterinary clinic is getting them in the carrier at home. Because of this cats often receive less care or miss checkups that are important for their health (studies show about 50% of pet cats don’t visit their veterinarian regularly). Unlike dogs, cats will hide signs of illness until they are very sick which can make treating them more difficult and costly. Regular checkups and thorough physical exams are extremely important in detecting illnesses early before they become a bigger problem. As a cat friendly certified practice, we are here to help make your cat’s visit less stressful from getting in the carrier until your cat arrives safely back home. By reducing the stress of getting to the veterinarian, we can reduce the stress of the entire visit.
Training Your Cat to Come When Called
Cats are very trainable and it is easy to train them when called. This can prevent the need to chase them when it is time to load them into the carrier, thus reducing stress from the start. Using positive reinforcement, like a favorite treat, your cat can learn to come when you call her name. This video will walk you through the steps to begin the training. Be sure do the training sessions when you cat is relaxed, happy, and content.
For cats, familiarity is comforting. The more familiar your cat’s carrier is, the more likely they will go in the carrier willingly. The best carriers are ones that can open in front and on top, have tops that come off easily, and are big enough for your cat to turn around when inside.
It is recommended that you keep your cat’s carrier out always. Place a blanket inside and allow your cat to access the carrier whenever she wants. You can help your cat get comfortable with the carrier by offering food or treats in the carrier. We also recommend spraying the blanket with a feline pheromone called Feliway. Wash the blanket a little as possible so it will retain the familiar scent.
Traveling with Your Cat
You can acclimate your cat to traveling in the car by taking her on short, frequent trips. The carrier should be covered with a towel or blanket (spray with Feliway 15 minutes before travel) to prevent visual stimulation causing stress. Place the carrier on the floor in the back seat. If your cat gets car sick, please call the veterinarian for advice on how to prevent nausea. Make sure the carrier is stable and won’t move or tip during travel. Be calm. If you begin to feel stressed your cat will sense it and become more anxious as a result.
What to Do If Your Cat is Still Stressed
Even will all the right training and preparation some cats will still experience stress when coming to the veterinary clinic. In this case, we recommend you give us a call to discuss a mild sedative that can improve the overall visit. Not only will it be easier to get your cat in to the carrier, the entire veterinary visit will be more relaxed.
Reducing stress before your cat visits the veterinary clinic is important to improve your cat’s visit with us. Once you are here, we will work hard to make sure the examination is as stress free as possible. The more positive associations your cat receives, the more likely the next visit will also be smooth and free of anxiety!