How to Make the Trip to the Vet Less Stressful
Does your cat run and hide in fear when you pull out the pet carrier on the way to the veterinarian? The result is that one-third of cats skip vet visits, according to studies, not getting routine check-ups, vaccinations and necessary treatments. This common problem could compromise a cat's health. But there are several ways to help make vet appointments easier for both of you.
Get your cat accustomed to traveling with short drives to build-up tolerance. Reward her with treats and chin scratching.
Choose a comfortable carrier with soft-sides. Spray bedding with pheromones and include a catnip toy to reduce anxiety.
Find a feline-friendly clinic (separate entrances or cats only) without barking dogs. Ask friends for recommendations for cat-sensitive doctors.
Before the trip
Book during quieter, less busy times. Avoid Saturday mornings. Let staff know your cat gets stressed about vet visits.
Set out the carrier days before a trip and let him explore and even eat inside. Rehearse exams by touching your pet's paws, ears and mouth.
Take time to prepare before a trip and stay calm. Cover the carrier with a towel and secure it safely to reduce bouncing.
During the vet visit
Empathize with your kitty's reaction to the antiseptic smells and the anticipation of getting poked. Let staff pet and play with your cat, this is especially important with kitties.
Speak soothingly. Scolding makes cats more frightened. Let your cat leave the carrier on her own or remove the top lid.
Give your cat time and space to adjust back home. Be careful and let other pets gradually interact.
Clean the carrier, towel and bedding to decrease the clinic smells.
Some vets make house calls. This luxury could offer a solution for the most skittish cats that prefer a familiar setting.