Did you know cats outnumber dogs? And did you know that owners are less likely to bring their cats to the vet for annual checkup and vaccines?
Let’s be honest, bringing our cats into the vet’s office is never a fun task. Our feline friends get stressed which, in turn, stresses us out. My cat used to hide as soon as the carrier came out of the closet. If I could catch him by luring him out with food, a fight would ensue. Then it was a battle to get him into the carrier and most of the time he would win...
If you can get your cuddly little kitty into the carrier without a fight, consider yourself lucky!
Why you ask, the dreaded carrier. Carrier phobia is a real problem! I’m here to discuss with you a few ways to help make your life a little easier and less stressful when it’s time to bring your cat into the vet’s office.
Our tips for a fear-free visit:
First of all, no more putting that carrier in the closet, garage, attic, or basement! Keep it in the house that way your fur baby will see it every day and it will no longer trigger a stress response. You can go one step further by keeping treats, a toy, and maybe even a nice blanket or bed in there, so he/she feels comfortable in and around it.
When the day comes to bring him/her to the vet be prepared, and most importantly stay calm, the more relaxed you are the more relaxed your cat will be. If you're running around because you're late and you can’t find your keys, I can guarantee your cat will pick up on that and will become stressed too.
Don’t play loud, bass thumping music in the car on the way to the vet, it may calm you down, but it won’t have the same effect on your kitty.
When you get to the office, if you know your cat is scared and reacts to other animals ask to be shown straight to a room. This will help your cat calm down. It will be quiet you can turn lights off so it’s dark and you can relax a little before the technician and veterinarian come in. Also, consider bringing your kitty’s favorite blanket so the smell is familiar.
If you think your cat needs a little more than a calm setting and a familiar carrier, then try Feliway. Feliway is a synthetic cat pheromone that aids in calming down a stressed or anxious cat. It comes in diffusers, sprays, and even wipes. You can wipe down the carrier and spray your car before getting into it. When you spray your carrier you want to wait 15 minutes before putting your cat inside. Never spray or wipe down your cat!
If all else fails and you know you are going to need more help, it might be a good idea to call your veterinarian and get more tips or even something that your veterinarian can prescribe. We are here to help you and your furry friends and we also want to help you have a positive experience here at our office. We all look forward to seeing you at your next visit!
Stephanie Salazar, Veterinary Assistant at Hill's Veterinary Hospital