Cats are an even more common of a furry companion than dogs. It is easy to understand why. They are graceful, clean and independent. They are also able to hide illness very well and hardly show signs until they are very sick. Because it is so hard to know when they are sick it is important for them to have routine veterinary care. However, many cats are not making it to their veterinarian for routine care. In fact, national data shows that cats visit the veterinarian far less than dogs (who are great at telling is when something is wrong). One of the most common reasons cat-owners give for reluctance to bring their felines to the veterinarian is the fear of the cat’s distress. From the cat carrier to the exam room, this article will address ways to make your feline’s visit stress free.
Time to run! The dusty cat carrier just came up from the basement and was plunked down on the floor and now I am being chased and stuffed inside.
Starting the trip to the veterinarian like this is sure to get the adrenaline going for even a mellow kitty. Take out the carrier day or weeks ahead of time. Place a nice, soft towel or blanket inside. Offer a kitty treat inside the carrier daily. Get into a routine of giving a treat each time your kitty goes in the carrier. When your cat has learned this routine you can even practice putting the carrier in the car and giving another treat before bringing them back into the house. For advance training you can take a ride around the block, then of course offer another treat. Kittens will learn fast that the carrier is fun, but even adults can learn not to stress about the cat carrier.
Help! I’m surrounded by strange smells and giant, furry, barking animals!
Some cats, especially if they have a dog at home, will not even bat an eyelash at a barking dog. However, for many, it can be a big stressor. If your cat is afraid of dogs or you are not sure please do not hesitate to give us a call and let us know about your concerns before the appointment. You can request to go straight into an exam room so that your feline does not have to wait for their appointment in the same room with noisy canines.
Oh no! Now strangers are touching me all over and looking at me and coming at me with needles!
There are cats that prance out of their carrier and walk around the exam room as if they were in their own living room. Many cats, though, do get very nervous. We try to assess how a cat is feeling during the appointment. For the ones that appear stressed we have towels and a wonderful product called Feliway that we put on the towels. This is pheromone scent that is calming to cats and actually lowers their stress hormone level. It is enough to really take the edge off of the appointment for many cats. We will be very gentle with your cat and do everything in a way that causes the least stress. Once cats are a little relaxed they often do not mind the needles so much. There are a handful of kitties out there that do not want to be touched or handled no matter what. If this is the case with your cat we have a variety of safe pharmaceuticals to ease anxiety. Some kitties do best taking medication at home before their appointment so they arrive relaxed. If a cat is too difficult to medicate at home there are other drugs that can be given in the hospital to reduce stress.
Don’t let fear of the appointment keep your cat away from much needed preventative medical care. Veterinarians and veterinary staff are trained professionals that have loads of practice working with all different cat personalities. We love to work with your kitty to find what works and make the visit go smoothly.