Take the stress out of going to the vet!
We love our cats and only want the best for them, but the mere thought of having to get them in a carrier and to the vet’s office doesn’t seem worth it, does it? Below are some tips for making a visit to the vet’s office pain-free and, dare we say it?, easy!
- Make the carrier your cat’s home away from home. – Keep the carrier out and accessible all the time, not just when it’s time to go to the vet. Line it with a comfy blanket, some of your cat’s favorite toys and some treats. If your cat is still not interested in the carrier consider buying a different carrier, preferably one that is a top-loader. These have tops that can be removed and this allows the cat to stay in the bottom portion of the carrier and the veterinarian can still conduct an exam, but your cat will feel secure.
- Train your cat to be a traveler. – It is important to teach your cat to be comfortable riding in the car. It is best to start this when your cat is young and will make it less traumatic for them when it is time for their annual visit to the veterinarian. To build up to riding in the car carry your kitty around the house in his carrier then work up to short drives in the car around the block. Then build up to a visit to the vet’s for a meet and greet session that does not involve any type of exam. Make sure after each outing, even when you walk around your house, to give your cat a reward or treat. It is important to give yourself plenty of time to get your cat into his carrier when it is time for the visit to the vet. And if you have time to spare that’s a good thing; letting your cat wait can actually help ease his stress.
- Play Peek-a-Boo! – Cat’s feel safe when they have a place to hide so place a towel or blanket on the inside of their carrier and then drape one on the outside of the carrier and this familiar blanket/towel will also work to comfort them as well.
- No food before traveling. – Cat’s tend to get motion sickness so picking up the food before a visit will reduce the risk of your cat becoming sick while on the way to the vet’s office. And since your cat will be slightly hungry when he arrives he will be more apt to take treats from the staff making the visit pleasant for all involved.
- Talk to your veterinarian. – It is important to be on the same page with your cat’s doctor. Ask him/her if they have any advice or tricks they use to calm fearful pets. Although some vets may advise giving a sedative before an appointment, it is not always best to give a fearful cat a sedative. It won’t take the fear away, but will merely reduce the ability to respond and this can make gathering lab samples or doing an exam even harder. Talk to your vet about this and other options. They will recommend the best and safest plan of action that will keep them healthy and you happy.
Most of these feline strategies will work for canines as well, but here are some pooch friendly tips for you dog-lovers!
- Reward with food. – To get your dog to respond to new places teach basic commands and then reward them with a treat. You can then move your dog to a new level by adding distractions while giving these commands. Try taking your dog to the park where kids, other dogs and wildlife will help to simulate the atmosphere at the vet’s office.
- Talk, Talk, Talk! – Always speak with your vet before your visit. Let your vet know if your dog is shy or fearful. This information will help the vet and the staff prepare to meet your dog and with this information you may be able to secure an appointment when there will not be a lot of cats or dogs in the waiting room.