Stress-free is what every cat owner wishes when it comes to taking their feline friend to the vet. But not all cats play along.
However, there are a few key things you can do to make the experience less stressful for you both, and more positive for your feline friend.
1. Regular preventative check-ups.
A trip to the vet doesn’t always have to be about needles. Take your cat for a free dental check, a nail trimming or a spa session in addition to his/her annual health checks. Reward your cat with treats and positive attention when you get home.
2. Choose the right cat carrier.
If your cat is particularly stressed, a top loading carrier means your vet can perform some of her examination duties on your cat while he or she is still in their carrier. If you have a front-opening carrier, don’t tip your cat out; let him walk out by himself or remove him gently.
3. Practice at home.
Include your cat’s carry cage as part of your household furniture in a spare room or in the laundry. Leave the cage door open so your cat can investigate it or even play in it allowing him/her to develop a positive association with the cage. Add catnip to a blanket in the carrier, or his favourite toys to encourage him to use the carrier.
4. Create a safe place.
Feeding your cat meals and treats in his/her carrier creates a positive association and reduces anxiety associated with the cage. In the car, drape a blanket or towel over the carrier to reduce motion sickness and help your cat feel safe.
Avoid strong smelling chemicals such as bleach or ammonia based products – not only do cats dislike the smell, they may think another cat has marked the territory! Clean the cat carrier with soap and water, or water with a small amount of white vinegar added. You can also spray the cage and bedding with pheromone spray at least 30 minutes before using the carrier to create a reassuring environment and help reduce stress. Ask your EberVet Vetshop for advice.