Last week, I wrote about the various signs that a cat needs a veterinary check-up for more than an annual wellness visit.
The problem for some cat owners is that the cat may be resistant to getting into the carrier at home and out of the carrier at the doctor’s office. Here are some ways you can make veterinary visits easier on you and your cat:
- Use a top-loading carrier (like the one pictured), which is easy to get most cats in and out of.
- Let the cat play and nap in the carrier at home. You can make it more inviting by adding a blanket or a few treats. Do not close the cat inside the carrier right away, or it may not wish to get back in. Work up to closing the lid or the door, then locking them for a few seconds. Gradually extend the time your cat spends in the carrier with the doors locked.
- Reduce your cat’s stress in the car by using the carrier and taking shorter rides to places other than the veterinary clinic. (Note: do not leave your pet alone in the car, especially during hot or cold weather.)
- Spray Feliway (a synthetic calming pheromone) inside the carrier and on a towel. Then drape the towel over the carrier in the car (if the car is not too hot) and at the doctor’s office.
- Avoid feeding your cat for several hours before riding in the car. (Cats travel better on an empty stomach.)
- Bring your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you to the veterinary clinic.
- Practice regular care routines at home, like grooming, nail trimming, and teeth brushing.
- Pretend to do regular veterinary procedures with your cat, like touching the cat’s face, ears, feet, and tail. [Note: if the cat is feral and not vaccinated for Rabies, this is not advised.]
- Give your cat and the veterinary healthcare team a chance to interact in a less stressful situation by taking your cat to the clinic for a weight check, rather than only for exams and procedures.
These tips are borrowed from the brochure, “Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?,” available at our office.