It would seem that most cats feel about the vet the way we do about dentists – they’re nice from a distance. There are ways, however, to reduce anxiety in your furry friend and make the appointment, if not fun, at least tolerable.
Animal Discovery outlined the general scenario: First comes the wrestling match to get the cat into the carrier, then the long drive – even it it’s short, it will seem long – to the veterinarian in which the cat, who absolutely knows where you’re headed, will hiss and howl emphatically. Then there’s the agonizing time in the vet’s lobby and later, of course, the actual visit. Taken together, this may explain why two-thirds of cat owners make this pilgrimage less than once a year.
The site suggested several ways to help your cat chill out at bit before the dreaded appointment, starting with a “pretend” exam at home. According to Animal Discovery, even if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be looking for, just handling her will help – and you may indeed notice a bump or other problem that you’ll want to discuss with the vet.
Then there’s the carrier
Vet tech Stephanie Belanger told Animal Care Unlimited that the best transportation choice is a hard-plastic cat carrier with a removable top. Since your cat may resist the idea of a carrier altogether, the removable top makes putting her in and getting her out far easier, with no need to force her inside – an option neither of you would enjoy. You can also cover the carrier with a towel or blanket – ideally with your scent on it – to reduce stimuli in the waiting room.
Animal Discovery recommended bringing the carrier into your daily routine so that it’s not associated solely with the vet. Leave it in the living area, for example, and your cat may use it for napping – and definitely give her cat treats when she’s in there. Actually, the positive reinforcement is most relaxing way to help modify your cat’s behavior.
Visits to the vet may still generate some anxiety, but you can counter this with plenty of love and affection before, during and after the trip. An added bonus is that it may also help you feel calmer: Studies have indicated that stroking and playing with pets can reduce stress levels in humans, so it’s a wonderful ritual for the hour before your vet visit – for both of you.
This content is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.