While dogs often prance into the office with their tails wagging, or at least don’t seem to mind the trip too much, cats are usually another story. Many are extremely reluctant to visit the vet, and some outright hate it. And they don’t exactly hide their feelings; hissing, yowling, and flying fur are a common response.
Obviously, we don’t want your cat to feel stressed by their visit. And while it’s rare that a cat will ever love going to the vet, there are things we can do to convince them it’s not so terrible.
Acclimate Kitty to the carrier. Your cat’s carrier shouldn’t be tucked away in a closet, only to appear when it’s time to go somewhere. Make it a familiar, friendly object by keeping it out around the house. You might even stash bedding, a favorite toy, or the occasional treat inside, so that your cat associates the carrier with pleasant reinforcements.
Don’t place the carrier on the floor. When you visit, avoid placing your cat’s carrier on the floor. This can feel terrifying, as dogs and other animals are at eye level and your cat feels trapped with “threats” all around them. Instead, hold the carrier in your lap or place it on a seat next to you.
Bring something familiar. Fluffy’s favorite toy or treat can come along, too.
Try pheromones. Sometimes a natural pheromone called Feliway can be calming to cats. It’s available in a wipe, so that all you do is wipe the inside of the carrier, your clothing, or a familiar object. This doesn’t help every cat, but it helps many.
Ask for help. If your cat is particularly anxious at every veterinary appointment, ask us for extra help when you call to make the appointment. We can offer additional suggestions to make your visit a successful one.