It’s no secret: Most cats do not enjoy being taken from their comfortable environment, placed in a carrier, and hauled off to the veterinarian, where strangers poke and prod them, dogs want to sniff them (or chase them or eat them or play with them), and the smells of unknown cats fill the air. Since we can’t communicate to our cats that they’re simply visiting the doctor and they’ll be back home soon, it’s probably a terrifying experience for them (and, it’s often an unpleasant experience for cat owners, too).
Because visiting the vet can be so difficult for cats, cat owners often avoid taking their cats in for regular preventive care exams. In fact, many cats only see a veterinarian when their owners can tell they are ill. Since cats hide illness so effectively, once they are showing outward signs of illness, it’s often too late for effective treatment and their owners end up spending more money trying to combat the problem.
In honour of National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, which is August 22, here are a few tips on how to make the veterinary visit less stressful for your cat.
Start early. If you get your cat as a kitten, it’s a great idea to get your kitten accustomed to riding in the car and being in the cat carrier. Bring your kitten to our office on days when you don’t have an appointment, just so she can get some love and affection from the staff. She’ll begin to associate coming here with positive feelings.
Make the carrier comfortable. Get the carrier out a few days before your cat’s veterinary visit. Leave the door open and put treats and toys inside. This will help your cat enjoy getting into the carrier, rather than be afraid of it.
Keep kitty calm. Some cats do better at the veterinary hospital when an owner places a blanket or a towel over the carrier so she can’t see the other animals in the waiting room. Another way to calm your cat is to use a natural feline pheromone product, like Feliway. You can use Feliway’s diffuser (just plug it in at home), or it comes as a collar and a spray.
Your feline friend should visit us at least once every year (more often in her first year, and twice annually after she reaches her senior years). Call our office if you need additional tips on how to make your cat’s visits here more enjoyable and our team will be happy to help.