Do you have a difficult time getting your cat to the vet? As a certified Cat Friendly Practice, we would like to give you some tips for making the trip to the vet a little easier!
Bringing Your Cat To The Vet
As most cat owners know, putting your cat in a carrier to transport them to the vet, whether for an emergency or routine checkup can be stressful. Cat's often react negatively to changes in their environment and can struggle when this environment is suddenly changed. However, there are a few steps you can take to make the experience more comfortable for your cat (and easier for you). Below you will find a few suggestions to help you safely and securely bring your cat to the vet:
Keep Things Familiar
Cats like consistency. A carrier that appears once or twice a year can be quite unsettling to your cat. Try leaving the carrier out all the time in a room where your cat enjoys spending time. Leave treats inside of the carrier. The carrier will become less intimidating when it is a treat-bearing part of the daily scenery at home. If you can’t leave it out all the time, at least start a few days before the vet visit. Reward your cat with treats anytime she is calmly sitting in or near the carrier.
Feliway® is a synthetic copy of feline facial pheromones that can create a sense of familiarity and security in the cat’s local environment (the carrier in this case).
At Trooper Veterinary Hospital we have Feliway®-treated carrier covers in our waiting room that can be draped over your cat's carrier to help them relax while waiting to be examined.
Try A Thundershirt©
Thundershirt© wraps are great for cats. We have seen positive results from cats that wear a Thundershirt©. You put it on at home, prior to putting the cat in a carrier to help your cat through both the travel and the vet visit. These also work well for cats who need to be medicated.
For Urgent Visits
For urgent vet visits, take the carrier (with familiar bedding in it) into a small room with no hiding places. A bathroom works well. Cats can sense your stress and anxiety so calmly carry the cat into the bathroom, closing the door behind you. Try coaxing them into the carrier with treats or a toy but if that doesn’t work you will need to gently cradle the cat, lowering her down into the carrier. Remember to do all of this slowly and calmly so as to not further stress your cat. Do not punish or speak harshly as cats do not respond well to this type of energy.
When Your Cat Is In The Carrier
Cover the carrier with a sheet or towel for the entire time the cat is in the carrier. Cats can feel exposed in a carrier; covering it with a towel or sheet makes the space feel more protected and can be reassuring to your cat. Once in the car, be sure to secure the carrier with a seat belt to ensure your cat doesn’t experience trauma from a quick stop or carrier tumble.
Occasionally owners will ask for a sedative for their cat and after a careful physical examination of the animal, the doctor may dispense medication for specific use. However, if your cat is exhibiting any signs of injury or illness, or if we have not evaluated them in several months, there can be a number of underlying problems which make sedation harmful or even dangerous for them. The doctor’s physical exam is the most important part of any pet’s health and safety. Sedation is always evaluated on a case-by-case basis.