How to Make It Easier to Get Your Cat to the Vet
April 10th, 2017 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic
5 tips to make you and your kitty more comfortable
Does your cat hide deep under the bed when it’s time to go to the vet? Are you simply looking for ways to be proactive and help your kitty relax?
We’ve got you covered.
Cats like familiar places. When you take your cat to an unfamiliar place with new noises and sounds (hello, veterinary clinic!), we know it can create some anxiety.
We asked our cat veterinarians to share tips to make it easier to get your cat to the vet. Let’s find some ways to bring that stress down a notch or two.
Tip #1: Start shaping your cat’s experiences as a kitten.
By the time cats are six months old, many have already set patterns for how they’re going to handle things later in life.
If you have a kitten, you can do several things to help create positive experiences later:
- Get your kitten used to your car. This will help keep your cat’s anxiety down before you enter the veterinary clinic. Initially, this may just mean letting your cat explore your car while you’re home. Then, it may mean short car rides. The first few times your cat is in the car, feed your cat treats. Make it a positive experience. Some cats prefer traveling in a kennel. Others like traveling outside a kennel. Find out what works for your kitty.
- Get your kitten familiar with a friendly, yet probing, touch. We’re talking about everything from looking in your cat’s ears, to holding his or her paws. (Read our full list of handling suggestions in how to make your Castle Rock vet visit less stressful.)
- Introduce your kitten to the kennel. Pull the kennel out for a week. Then, put it away. Leave treats in the kennel and/or feed your cat in the kennel. This can help create positive associations.
Tip #2: Bring your cat into the clinic in a kennel.
The best way to bring your cat into our veterinary clinic is in a kennel – ideally, one that is hard-sided. Put a familiar blanket or towel on the bottom of the kennel to make it more comfy.
(Don’t have one? We have kennels that you can come in and borrow.)
If you have to help your cat get into the kennel, lead with your cat’s rear end first. This will make it easier for you to shut the door. If you lead with your cat’s head, your cat may want to stick its legs out.
We don’t recommend bringing your cat into the veterinary clinic in:
- Your arms
- A bag
- A pillow slip
- A cardboard kennel or box
Cats can get out of these enclosures, creating stress for both of you!
Tip #3: Pull the kennel out for a week every few months.
Just as we suggested you do for your kitten, pull the kennel out and leave it out for a week every few months. Then, put it away. You want to help your kitty get used to it.
The kennel doesn’t only come out for vet visits.
Put a favorite toy or blanket in there. Leave little treats inside. Or even feed your cat in the kennel to create positive experiences with the kennel.
Tip #4: Help your kitty take the edge off.
If your cat has gotten a little crazy in the past, our veterinarians can send your cat home with an anti-anxiety medication. It helps your cat relax. You give it to your cat a couple hours (or up to the day) before your visit.
Another option is to try calming cat pheromones. You can find them at pet stores.
Tip #5: Put your cat in the kennel for a little while before you come in.
So, it’s vet visit day. You can do this!
The day you’re bringing you cat in, start by feeding your cat in the kennel. Then, get your cat in the kennel for 30 minutes to a couple of hours before your visit. This will help your cat calm down.
To schedule a cat exam, call our Castle Rock veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:
Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.
This article is intended to provide general guidance about how to get your cat to the vet with greater ease. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)
© 2017, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic