As humans owned by cats, we all know it does not take much to stress out our cats. Leaving the house is one of those events that trigger stress, especially when it involves the vet office. Some cats are so terrified of the vet’s office that they require sedation before even leaving the house! It doesn’t have to be that way and we have the tips to make it easier for both of you!
Trust is one of the most important aspects of our relationships with our feline companions Cats are not as giving with their trust as some dogs can be. It must be earned hand over fist again and again until you get even ONE brownie point with a cat, right? That is why it is so important to keep that trust between the two of you strong.
One common trust tester is the carrier. Forcing your cat in to the carrier, yelling, or being overly aggressive will destroy your cat’s trust and confidence in you. It is easier for the both of you to give your feline the chance to make the choice on his own.
Try placing the cat carrier in a common area of the house where your cat frequents and leaving the door open with a favorite blanket or towel inside with some treats and toys. Leave the carrier there for a day or two before the appointment to allow your cat to get used to it. This will make the carrier more familiar to them with scents of home. Carriers that open from the top are the easiest for loading your cat inside, rather than shoving them in from the front. If you can, allow your cat to walk into the carrier on their own. This will start you both off on a calmer note to begin the trek to the vet. Load some favorite treats in the back and shut the door behind him.
This will be a simple task if you’ve practiced before WITHOUT shutting the door.
When possible, always stay at the appointment with your cat. Having you there, their trusted person, can make the appointment less scary and stressful for them. Even the friendliest of cats can become frightened in a new environment with all the sights and sounds of the building, PLUS all the new people touching them! A calming touch and soothing voice can make all the difference for you, your feline, and the staff.
For some cats, even the best tricks are not enough to quell their fears and convince them that the vet (or carrier or groomer or other scary place/person/thing) is not there to hurt them. Don’t worry – there is help!
Your vet may be able to prescribe a mild sedative to be given an hour or two before the appointment. For a more natural option, try pheromone products such as Feliway. These scent markers are sprayed on your cat’s bedding to give them a calm, peaceful feeling. Your vet may even have some for sell at the office.
Remember to stay calm! Our pets take cues from our behavior and emotions, especially when they are in a new or fearful situation. A calm voice and a few favorite treats can make a nightmare more manageable and peaceful for everyone!