We know that bringing your cat to the veterinarian can sometimes be tricky, however there are ways to make visiting the veterinarian more pleasant for both of you. Click here for a helpful handout from the American Association of Feline Practitioners on reducing the stress of veterinary visits for both you and your cat. If you have any questions or just need to borrow a carrier, give us a call- we’re here to help!
While it can be challenging to get your cat into and out of a carrier, it is absolutely the safest way to transport your cat.
- Top-loading carriers are often easier to get your cat into and out of. An additional opening on the side may also help if your cat is comfortable with the carrier and likes to enter and exit on his or her own. Another option is a carrier in which the top half is removable, so your cat does not have to enter or exit, but can be placed in the bottom half and the top put on or removed when necessary.
- Never dump your cat out of the carrier, either let your cat walk out or gently remove your cat from the carrier- this is easiest with a top-loading or top-removable carrier.
- Perhaps the biggest key to making your cat comfortable with a carrier is to make it a part of your cat’s everyday life. If the carrier is only brought out under stressful circumstances, such as when your cat is ill, your cat will naturally be fearful of it. Instead, keep the carrier out in your home and put favorite treats or toys inside. This helps train your cat to see the carrier as a safe place.
When traveling with your cat in the car, always put your cat in a carrier or other protected container. This is much safer than allowing your cat to roam freely- for both of you.
- To make your cat comfortable when riding in the car, take your cat to places other than the veterinarian’s office. Just remember, never leave any pet in the car unattended!
- If you have a long drive to the veterinarian or are planning a car trip with your cat, start taking short rides at first, then gradually extend the length of the drive.
- Because many cats get carsick, it is best to transport your cat on an empty stomach- avoid feeding your cat for several hours before traveling.
- After each successful car trip, reward your pet with positive attention and treats.
- To make your cat feel at home in the veterinarian’s office, bring a few of your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you.
- When at home, practice regular care routines such as grooming, nail trimming and teeth brushing.
- Pretend to do routine veterinary procedures with your cat at home- you can do this by touching the cat’s face, ears, feet and tail. Doing this regularly at home while your cat is feeling relaxed should help your cat feel more comfortable with treatments at the veterinary hospital. This may also help if at any point you need to provide home care, such as administering or applying medication.
- Make trips to the veterinary hospital for visits that don’t involve examinations or procedures, such as checking your cat’s weight. It sets your cat up for positive experiences at the veterinary hospital, and lets your cat be more comfortable with the clinic and staff.