Navigating a vet visit with your cat can often feel like an uphill battle. The mere mention of the dreaded carrier sends some cats running off into the distance, and the car ride that follows can be a symphony of meows and anxiety.
But here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it comes in the form of a stress-free vet visit for your cat. In this blog, we’ll unveil five practical steps to remove the overwhelm and make a visit to the cat a more comfortable experience for your cat – and for you!
Familiarise your cat with the carrier
It’s no secret that our feline companions find being placed into a carrier overwhelming. After all, if the only time your cat even sees the carrier is when they go to the vet, it’s little wonder that they fight you tooth and nail when you try to place them in there. In the week leading up to their visit, put the carrier out in an area where your kitty likes to play or sleep. Depending on the type of carrier you have, keep the door open or remove the top to make it easily accessible for some fun or rest.
Make the carrier a more inviting space
Cats like snuggly places to sleep, so if you add a nice, comfy blanket to the bottom of the carrier, you’ll make it a more inviting resting place.
Add a few of their favourite toys for further enticement to happily spend time in there. You can even feed your kitty’s meals in the carrier to make it a more familiar, positive place for them to be.
Ensure your cat feels secure once at the vet
The waiting room of a vet clinic can be quite a daunting place for your cat. The unfamiliar scents, sounds, and the presence of curious dogs can easily send their anxiety levels through the roof. Cats have a natural inclination to feel more secure at elevated levels, so it’s a good idea to position their carrier on a nearby chair. Whenever possible, maintain eye contact with your cat and engage in a soothing conversation to help divert their attention from the overwhelming surroundings.
Get your cat used to being handled
Cats like being touched on their own terms, which can make an examination by a vet a rather unsettling experience for them. To help your cat feel more comfortable during their check-up, have them get used to their ears being checked, mouth opened, and feet touched. Utilise treats to reward them during this process, and to associate the experience of being handled with something positive.
Talk to your vet about other options to help them relax
If after all of the above steps your cat still finds a visit to the vet an overwhelming experience, it’s worth talking to your vet about additional measures to make them feel more relaxed.
A synthetic pheromone such as Feliway can help to make cats feel more settled and can be sprayed onto their carrier or blanket to help them feel a sense of comfort and safety. For more extreme displays of fear and anxiety, a mild sedative can be prescribed to enable the vet visit to take place.
Committed to a stress-free experience
At Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital, we’re dedicated to making a visit to the vet as stress-free as possible – for both you and your cat.
If your cat is particularly nervous, please call us to discuss some extra strategies that we can put in place to help them feel more comfortable. You can call our friendly team on 03 9555 4808.