Most owners and cats alike, dread the thought of a visit to the vet. Not only will the cat have to be placed in a carrier, it may also have to travel by car and encounter unfamiliar places, people and animals. Here are some simple tips to make the experience less stressful for both you and your feline friend.
Socialise your cat
Being familiar with only you or other members of your household may make your cat fearful of strangers. Introduce your young kitten to as many people as possible. Also try to get your cat used to being handled as they would during a vet examination. Gently touch your cat’s paws, look into its ears, open its mouth, and run your hands over its legs and body similar to what they may encounter during a vet visit.
The cat carrier
Cats generally do not like cat carriers but they tend to be the easiest way to transport them. Choose a carrier that is sturdy and secure but also easy for you to carry. Keep a carrier out and open in your home so your cat can investigate it or even play in it, allowing them to develop a positive association with the cage. Put some food and treats, their favourite toys, or blankets inside to entice them into the carrier.
Take your cat on short trips in the car to get it used to travelling and make sure the destination is not always the vet clinic. Drive slowly without braking hard and seat-belt the carrier into the car to reduce the bumpiness of the ride. If possible, do not feed your cat for several hours prior to travel to decrease the chance that your cat will get carsick.
The waiting room
The vet’s waiting room can be a pretty scary place for a cat, so cover the carrier with a towel or blanket to help reduce visual stimulation. Try to sit away from dogs and if your cat is showing signs of stress, ask if there is another room that you and your cat can wait in. Cats can sense our anxiety and frustrations so try to keep calm despite any stress or delay.
If your cat is extremely unwell or stressed, another option is to find a mobile vet. Ask your vet if they offer or can recommend a mobile vet that can come to your location.