Whether you have gone through the experience for yourself or seen plenty of videos of cats going wild at their vet appointment, visiting the vet can be stressful for both you and your cat. Many of the tactics to make each visit less daunting should begin as early as possible, preferably when your cat is still a kitten.
Make Restraints Routine
Part of the stress that goes along with vet visits can come from restraining systems, such as pet carriers, that are infrequently used. If your cat is only placed into the carrier when they go to the vet, the carrier will become associated with strange smells and people, and probably vaccinations or surgery. If you are bringing a new kitten home, make sure you purchase a carrier they can continue to use when they reach their full adult size. This way, once they become acclimated to one carrier, they will not have to readjust later.
Add comfortable items to the carrier, no matter your cat's age. A blanket on the bottom of the carrier and a few toys should be sufficient. Having a blanket at the bottom of the carrier also helps if you need to purchase a new carrier in the future. You can place the blanket in the new carrier and there will be something in there that is familiar and has their scent on it. The carrier should be an integral part of your cat's environment. Leave it somewhere easily accessible, with the door open. Your cat may want to use the carrier to hide or take naps on regular basis. The more comfortable they are with using the carrier, the less frightened they will be when it comes time to use it for traveling to the vet.
Take Short Trips
Dog are more often taken for walks and car rides than cats, which can make cats more likely to feel stressed when going outside or traveling. Consider harness-training your cat from an early age so you can take them for walks and so it is much easier to prevent them from running off when frightened. Adult cats are not untrainable when it comes to harnesses, but it can be more difficult depending on their temperament. Start by allowing your cat to wear the harness without the leash attached for short intervals. As your cat becomes adjusted to wearing a harness, you can extend the wear time. Once your cat seems unfazed by wearing a harness, you can try adding the leash and see how they respond.
Your short trips should also include rides in the car, while the cat is in its carrier. If you live in a locality where you are allowed to transport animals via mass transit, making small trips is even more important. Since there are many people and sounds on mass transit, your cat is more likely to find the experience stressful than if they were transported by a car or taxi. You can build up to longer trips depending on the way your cat reacts to traveling. This is also an opportunity to find out if your cat experiences gastrointestinal upset during travel.
Do Regular Pet Care
To make your cat more comfortable and accepting of a stranger touching and examining them, find out what types of check-ups you can do at home and incorporate them into your pet care routine. If possible, avoid leaving nail trimmings and brushing to a groomer. This provides you a good opportunity to engage with your cat and help them become more comfortable with being placed in different positions and having different parts of their body touched. When you are petting your cat, try simple exams, such as looking inside their ears or checking their eyes. Feel your cat's stomach and part their fur to look at their skin. Although you are not being technical about the exam, it is similar to what they will experience at check-ups.
Although your cat's personality will influence how they feel about the vet, there are ways to make the process easier. Making your cat more comfortable with restraints, traveling, and handling can make vet visits less intimidating for everyone involved.
For more information, talk to specialists, such as those at Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital.Share