Calming Your Cat’s Fear of the Vet
September 1st, 2018
Taking your cat to the vet may not be your favorite activity, given that you’ll have to figure out how to get your furry friend into the carrier, then deal with the car ride with hysterical meowing, followed by the ordeal of the visit itself! It’s no wonder that, despite being the most popular pets in America, cats are more likely to miss out on their wellness exams than dogs. The good news is that you can help reduce your kitty’s fear and anxiety, leaving you and your pet with a calmer and more positive experience. And by choosing a cat-only veterinary clinic, you have eliminated a primary fear factor for most cats: dogs.
Get Your Kitty Comfortable with the Carrier
Once your cat sees the dreaded carrier, alarm bells will ring. Your furry friend likely associates it with fearful experiences of noisy journeys and the anxiety of being away from familiar surroundings. To reduce stress, place comfy bedding and a favorite toy in the carrier and keep it out at home for several days before the vet visit. Better yet, leave it out permanently. This will allow your kitty to explore, sleep, and play.
If your cat enjoys treats, place some in the carrier. You may want to spray it with a feline pheromone, such as Feliway, which will have a calming effect on your furry friend. Covering the carrier with a towel will reduce external stimuli and will help you cat feel safe. Taking the time to acclimate your kitty with the carrier will alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety.
Play Calming Music in Your Car
Music can go a long way in calming your feline friend’s anxiety. Classical music or a pet-specific calming CD can help relax your kitty.
Take Your Cat on Social Visits to the Vet’s Office
It’s always helpful to take your cat for quick social visits to your vet’s office or for rides in your car from a very young age. Make those visits focused on socializing and petting. Your cat will learn to associate the vet’s office with pleasant experiences, rather than the stress of needles, weight checks, and the dreaded temperature taking.
Limit Time Spent in the Waiting Room
The timing of your appointments is important. Early morning visits will ensure your vet is not running behind, which will minimize your wait time. If the wait time is long and the weather permits, consider staying in the car with your kitty until the vet is ready to see you. At our clinic, when an exam room is available, we offer to let you wait in the room with your cat – that way, you can let your cat out of the carrier and they can acclimate to their surroundings.
Take a Treat Along
After the vet exam, it’s always a good idea to offer your cat a favorite treat. This will help to establish a positive association. A lot of petting and love will also be helpful.
Need Help Keeping Your Kitty Calm?
If you continue having trouble keeping your cat calm during vet visits, talk to our friendly staff at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital about possible pre-visit medication options you can administer at home. Our goal is to ensure your cat is calm and relaxed while receiving any needed care. We love our furry patients and have their best interest at heart because after all, we are all about cats!
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