Right now there are thousands of people in the world doing the exact same thing: trying to convince their cat that getting into a carrier and going to the veterinarian is a good idea. In the realm of domesticated pets, puppies seem to have received all of the enthusiasm, while our feline friends are full of cat-titude. Usually it’s a personality quirk that we admire, but it sure does make things challenging come check-up time. This week Wisconsin Pet Care offers some tips on making a trip to the vet a little easier on your kitty (and you!).
The first battle is to get your cat into her carrier. This is no easy task as just the sight of that ‘mobile jail’ sets fear in the hearts of kitties everywhere! One cat mom we heard from actually pretends to take a nap on the couch, in hopes that her cat will come up for a cuddle, and then she swifty stuffs her into the carrier. But captivity is just the first battle! Next up is the car ride. Hopefully your veterinarian is close because you will undoubtedly be treated to the caterwauling of your favorite fur baby. And to think that we haven’t even got to the vet visit itself – which causes anxiety for many cats. Is there any way to make this necessary appointment a little less unpleasant?
*Begin by getting your cat accustomed to her carrier. If the only time you bring it out is to take her to a yearly exam, she associates its existence to stress. Before the appointment, place it in an area that she passes by often. Allow her to sniff it out and inspect the inside. Some owners have had success with putting their cat’s feeding bowls inside of the carrier so that kitty is not afraid of the carrier come check up day.
*Once your cat has accepted her carrier better, you will want to make sure the inside is comfortable. Cold, hard plastic is not appealing to your little creature of comfort. Instead, place a cozy blanket inside and maybe a favorite toy.
*Car rides are a little trickier. The key is to take her on a few “test trips” around the block. The more your cat rides in the car, the calmer she will likely be when you go on longer trips.
*Hopefully, the vet visit is the least of her worries. However, some cats just prefer not to be handled – especially by those they don’t see very often. It is important to find a veterinarian that your cat feels comfortable with. If you notice that your kitty isn’t able to calm down, even after the doctor attempts to soothe her, it may be in your best interest to try another doctor. A nervous cat can become an aggressive cat, creating a potentially unsafe environment for everyone involved.
*It is also important that you try to stay calm. From the “capture and hold captive” carrier dance, to the endless meowing during the car ride, it’s not easy to keep your cool. However, the less stress you exude, the easier it will be for your cat to refrain from becoming anxious.
How can you further reduce the stress your cat attributes to visiting the vet?
*Try visiting your veterinarian during “off-peak” times. Saturday mornings are the busiest days for any veterinary practice, but Tuesday mornings might be completely open. Check with your vet to find a time when they are the least busy. Not having to tend with any other waiting patients (especially big dogs with big barks) may make things go a little smoother.
*If you live in a larger city, your kitty might be lucky enough to have a mobile veterinarian in her midst! The vet comes to her – meaning that there are no carriers or car rides.
No matter how you have to get your kitty to the veterinarian, it is important that she has a yearly exam. Vaccines, early-detection of illness and overall wellness check-ups are services that your cat’s health care provider perform in order to keep your companion happy (and healthy) for a lifetime.