We know that not every feline friend loves visiting the vet as much as we love seeing them. While we always strive to make every visit a comfortable and convenient experience for everyone, the key to a successful, stress-free vet visit for your kitty starts at home!
The first step starts with managing the fear associated with their cat carrier. If your carrier stays in storage until it’s time to be used, your cat likely associates it with scary car rides and will resist going inside!
To avoid (literally) herding cats, try making the carrier as inviting as possible:
- Instead of storing it when not in use, leave the carrier out near your cat’s favourite place to lounge
- Ensure it is large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in
- Make the carrier welcoming (Put their favourite treats, toys, or bedding inside, or use feline pheromone sprays to help your cat relax)
- Do not bother your cat when they go into their carrier
When it’s time to visit the vet:
- Make sure they’re a little hungry and pack their favourite treats
- If necessary, talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication to be given in advance of their visit
- Don’t pull a cat out of a hiding place or force them to go in the carrier as this will only increase their stress
- Avoid motion. Do not swing the carrier with your kitty inside (hold it with both hands like a delicate present!) and safely restrain the carrier in the vehicle
- Minimize noise by playing quiet music or driving in silence until you reach your destination
Don’t forget to make a plan for returning home. Consider putting children or other pets in another room before you come inside to ensure a quiet entrance, and avoid unsupervised interaction. Depending on your cat’s home care, it may be best to give them a private sanctuary in a spare room or bathroom for them to recover. Managing stress upon their return will help make future vet visits less scary!
If you ever have any questions on how to help manage your cat’s anxiety, your veterinarian is always your best resource. After all, when our furry friends are relaxed, it allows your veterinary team to provide the best care possible.
Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.