You know the drill -- it’s an hour before your Prytania Vet appointment and it’s time to wrangle the cat. But the moment you bring out the carrier, your feline friend darts under the furniture, runs up the stairs, or hides under the house. The chase has begun and a part of you just wants to call and cancel the appointment. But don’t despair; here are some helpful tips and tricks to help ease the stress of the vet visit for both you and your cat!
Understanding your cat’s behavior.
Cats are creatures of habit. They need time to adjust to new surroundings and experiences and that’s one of the main reasons why a visit to the veterinarian is often difficult. The carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are usually unfamiliar – the smells, sounds, and people at the vet can cause significant stress for your feline friend. Be patient and calm while your cat is adjusting to their new surrounds; cats are incredibly perceptive and can sense our anxiety or frustrations which in turn may cause them to become more fearful or anxious. Always try to reinforce good behavior with positive attention. You’re more than welcome to bring their favorite treats or toys to your appointment to make the exam room more feline friendly!
Make the cat carrier a second home.
To make sure your feline friend is comfortable with the carrier, try taking it out a few days in advance and leaving it in the room in which your cat spends most of his or her time. You can add a blanket, their bed, and/or a few toys to make the inside of the carrier a desirable place. If your cat is food motivated, you can even place a few treats inside to entice them further. You can also try placing a blanket over the carrier to create a den like atmosphere for your cat to relax. The best kinds of carriers for your cat tend to be the hard shell carriers that open from the front (ideally from the top as well) and can be taken apart in the middle. This way, once inside the exam room, if your cat is particularly nervous we can take the top off and your cat can comfortable rest inside the bottom half of their carrier. If you are bringing two cats to an appointment, please bring them in their own carriers. Even if they’re the best of friends at home, it’s easier on your feline friends to have their own safe space during a veterinary appointment.
Keep the Peace Post-Visit
If you have multiple cats, a vet visit can disrupt their day-to-day routines causing some cats to lash out once home. To make the transition home smoother, allow the cats to have their own space post-visit. Sometimes the ideal situation is to keep your cat in their carrier, drape a blanket over it, and let them relax alone for a little while. You can also try using a FELIWAY plug-in diffuser or spray. FELIWAY mimics the natural feline “happy” pheromones which help comfort and calm your cat(s). We recommend using the diffuser in the room that your cat spends most of his or her time.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian for help. Give us a call to see if an oral sedative could help your cat. These gentle and safe sedatives allow us to have the least stressful veterinary visit possible. A drug free option is to spray a towel or blanket with the FELIWAY Travel Spray and then placing the towel or blanket inside the cat carrier with your kitty. Like the diffuser, the concentrated spray can help calm and comfort your cat inside their carrier.
While it’s the rare cat that loves the vet, these tips and tricks may help make the experience a more positive one for all of our feline friends. A simple veterinary exam can significantly help improve your cat’s quality of life. We want your Prytania Pet to live a long and healthy life and it's easier to prevent and detect than to treat illness. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns!