We know it can be tough to wrangle your cat for a trip to the veterinarian’s office. Many cats dislike the carrier as well as the car ride, so heading in for an annual checkup can sometimes be a stressful proposition. As a result, many cats will go years without seeing a doctor. 83% of cats visit the veterinarian before their first birthday, but over 50% won’t return until they have an obvious medical issue.
As “Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day” approaches, we encourage you to start preparing at home now. Here are some tips and tricks that will help make next Wednesday a fear free day:
- Make the carrier a fun place - Cat carriers are typically associated with many unpleasant things. Many cat owners keep the carrier in a closet or in the garage where it’s out of sight. Cats that haven’t transferred their scent to the carrier will see this magic portal away from their comfortable home as a foreign object to be feared. Leave the carrier out for several days before your appointment; if you can, leave the carrier out at all times. You can even feed your cat in or around the carrier. Associating these positive things with a carrier will make that day less scary.
- Place familiar bedding or towels in the carrier - Cats are most comfortable with the familiar. By placing bedding or towels in their carrier, you are creating a safe and familiar place for them to relax. If your cat does not have their own bedding, place towels or small blankets on or near the places they lay at home now in order to get their scent on it, and use these in the carrier.
- Limit food in the morning - On the day of your appointment, limit your cat’s breakfast. By doing this, your cat will be more willing and excited to eat the delicious treats we have here. You can even bring your cat’s favorite treat from home and soon they will begin to associate the veterinarian with amazing treats.
- Consider using pheromones - Using a synthetic feline pheromone can help calm cats during stressful events. These pheromones can be sprayed on blankets and towels, wiped on carriers or even as diffusers plugged in inside your home. Many cats become less agitated after encountering the pheromones and some owners even see less destructive behavior and “scaredy cats”.
Regular wellness exams are crucial for keeping your cat happy and healthy. By using these tips and starting at home, we can help take the “pet” out of petrified.
Download and print our Cat Day Checklist Here and ask about how to get one of our complimentary Kitty Calming Kits prior to your appointment.