Imagine being picked up and put in a crate, carried to a car, and being driven to an unknown location where you’re poked, prodded and handled by a stranger. Scary, right? This is exactly what your cat experiences when that day arrives and she’s due for her vet visit. It’s not surprising that cats are notoriously fearful when it comes to preparing for their exams.
Luckily, there are ways to help keep your cat keep her cool.
Here are our favorite tips to reduce the stress of prepping for a vet visit.
- Choose a Fear-Free Veterinarian
Fear Free Certified Professional pet caregivers can give you peace of mind that your kitty will be in good hands. To become a Fear-Free vet, your kitty’s physician has taken the extra steps to ensure your cat’s psychological and emotional wellbeing is taken care of in addition to their physical health.
Knowing your vet is cat-friendly and Fear-Free will help you relax and stay calm which in turn helps your cat feel more comfortable.
- Choose the Right Cat Carrier
Cats enjoy seeing what’s going on around them (this is why they love perches), so make sure your cat’s carrier provides plenty of visibility. This can be large fabric screened windows or wideset bars.
Breathable material and plenty of ventilation also make a carrier more comfortable for your cat.
Add a slip-proof pad to help your cat feel more secure and keep her from slipping when you eventually pick her up in her carrier.
- Help Your Kitty Build Positive Associations with Her Carrier
Make the carrier part of your cat’s regular environment and build a positive reaction to the crate. Leave the crate out with a comfy bed or bedding inside. Sprinkle some catnip to encourage your cat to go in. Treats can also help encourage your cat to explore her crate.
Don’t close your cat in the crate or force her in.
Spray some pheromone spritz that mimics your cat’s natural pheromones that tell her the crate is safe and inviting. This will also help when you do close her in a carry her to the car.
- Practice Playing Doctor to Get Your Kitty Used to Being Handled
Give your cat plenty of treats and handle her paws, ears, and belly to get her used to being examined. Over time, transition to stroking her belly and other sensitive areas that the vet will likely need to look at.
Balance this training with some comfortable pets of her face, back, and head. Never stroke or handle your cat too roughly.
- Cool Your Car and Make it Inviting for Your Cat
Start the engine before bringing your cat out and cool the car down to make it more comfortable. You can also spray lavender or pheromones in the car before bringing her out.
Play relaxing music and talk to your cat in a calming voice. Our natural instinct is to start comforting our kitties in a high-pitched baby voice. This can actually stress your cat out more since it’s out-of-the-ordinary. Keep your voice at a regular volume, tone, and pace.
- Securely Position Your Cat’s Carrier
Buckle your cat’s carrier in behind the passenger seat. This will help calm her because she can see you and her crate won’t slide around as you drive.
- Drive Slowly and Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Arrive Safely
Don’t rush or drive erratically. The quick and jerky movement may make your cat feel sick.
When you arrive at the vet, reduce the stress of your cat becoming a spectacle for dogs to sniff by calling the receptionist and letting her know you’re waiting in the car. They can call you or come and get you when it’s your cat’s turn to be seen.
Bringing your cat to the vet is an important factor in keeping your cat healthy. Don’t become one of the 50% cat parents that bring their cat into the vet when they first get their feline friend then not return for years. Skip the struggle and prepare well in advance.
Keep your cat healthy and make her visit the vet more bearable with these easy tips.
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