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Getting Your Cat to the Vet

Tips On Getting Your Cat To The Veterinary Office

by Dr. Shalini Latchman

Yearly physical exams and up-to-date vaccinations are important for our cats' health and well-being, but we all know it can sometimes feel like a battle to get our feline friends and family members to the doctor's office for their check-up! Here are a few tips that can help make those visits easier on both of you:

1. Getting a suitable carrier:

Using a carrier is the safest way to get your cat to and from their vet visit. A carrier with both top and and front openings makes it easy to get them in and out. Ask our receptionists to borrow one from the clinic if you do not have one of your own.

2. Getting your cat used to the carrier:

Long before the yearly check-up, leave the carrier out in a room your cat spends the most time in with tasty treats and comfortable bedding (Special Tip: A piece of your clothing may help make the carrier feel safe and comforting!). It may take weeks to a month for your cat to become comfortable laying in the carrier, so be patient and keeping petting or giving treats when the cat does go in.

3. Creating a car-friendly cat:

Cats are generally overwhelmed more by the journey to the vet office more than the exam or office itself. A good way to get your cat used to the car is to start taking short drives (e.g., a 5 minute trip around the block) and gradually increase the length. You can even stop by here for a visit even if you don't have a check-up scheduled (we would love to see you!).

4. Keeping things calm in the waiting room:

Sometimes things can get hectic with many animals and barking dogs in the waiting room. Placing a towel or blanket with some scents from home or sprayed with Feliway (the calming cat pheromone) can help calm your cat down. Our new waiting room will have a tucked-away corner for our cat patients to make this a more calming atmosphere.

5. Coming home to a multi-cat household:

Cats are very sensitive to smells, and unfamiliar smells can result in one cat not recognizing their housemate after it has been away to the vet's office. Sometimes this can result in cat fights. Leaving your returning cat in its carrier to see how the other cats react can help predict cat fights. If everyone is calm, then you can let the cat out of the carrier. If you sense tension, separate the returning cat in another room with litter, food and water for 24 hrs while its fur takes on the smell of home. If you are still having issues, you can try Feliway, the calming cat pheromone.