Dread taking your cat to the vet?
Searching out the cat carrier in the shed, dusting it off, chasing ‘Spot’ around the house; not to mention the scratches and blood loss (normally yours not Spots)!
Often, we find for this very reason, most cat parents save the vet visits just for the ‘big’ things and thereby missing out on routine wellness checks and preventative care.
By their nature, cats are marvellously independent creatures, highly sensitive to smells and small changes in their routine. They are territorial and will always seek to escape from an unfamiliar situation.
All this makes visiting the vet particularly stressful for our furry feline friends. However, with some careful planning you can help to make this trip an easier and safer one for both parties involved.
1. Choosing your carrier
- Use a sturdy cat carrier, preferably one that opens from the front and the top
- Having a carrier that allows the entire top to be removed is really useful, as it allows the vet to examine or remove a poorly cat without too much fuss
- Look for one that is easy to clean
- Ensure it’s big enough, so your cat can sit up and lie down comfortably
2. Encouraging your cat to use the carrier
- Use familiar bedding to make the carrier seem less threatening and smell friendly
- Keep the carrier in a quiet area of the house that your cat visits regularly; this means they can explore the carrier and accept it as a regular part of the furniture. Over time they may even get into the carrier and have a chill-out session. It’s a good idea, to reward with treats or a good old fuss
- If your cat is disinterested in the carrier, treats or lures can be used to encourage this next step of exploration
- Feeding your cat meals in the carrier can also cement positive associations with the carrier
3. Travelling to the vets
- Calming synthetic sprays like Feliway® can be sprayed on the carrier and bedding at least 15 minutes before putting your cat in the carrier
- If your cat becomes stressed at the sight of the carrier, don’t panic. Keep the basket close by, but hidden. Wrap your cat in a towel that smells familiar and place the cat and the towel into the carrier quickly but gently
- Take some spare bedding with you in case the cat soils the carrier en-route
- Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket whilst in the car for those cats that prefer to hide away completely
- Secure the carrier in the footwell or seat of your car (with a seatbelt)
- Drive carefully and steadily and most importantly stay calm. You can talk reassuringly to your cat on the journey and try to avoid loud noises
- Once you arrive at the vets, hold your carrier carefully and go straight to the cat waiting area and position the carrier in the ‘cat parking’ provided
Here at Vetsmiths we are working towards becoming an accredited Cat Friendly Clinic.
We are taking great strides to ensure all cats are treated gently, respectfully and with professional skill. It’s also why it’s important to us to have a completely separate waiting area for cats and bunnies from dogs. We also have separate kennel facilities to ensure a quieter area for our feline friends.
The above points may seem daunting and/or time consuming, but once you make a start you will find the pros far outweigh the cons and those stressful vet visits will hopefully become a thing of the past.