October 19, 2018
Health & Fitness
36° Clear

Getting Your Cat To The Vet

Dr. Elizabeth Hepner
Dr. Elizabeth Hepner's picture
View Bio
September 18, 2018

Does your cat run when it sees the cat carrier coming its way? Does it duck and cover under the bed when it hears you open the closet where you keep its carrier? For many households with cats, this is a familiar routine.

The majority of cats don’t get the routine health care they need because of the amount of stress involved with getting them to the veterinary hospital. Bringing your feline friend to the vet for preventive care ensures they get the treatments that they need to live long, happy lives. Cats often hide signs of illness, so getting regular checkups is important for catching early signs of disease. Having a smooth ride to the vet also helps reduce stress when bringing pets in for more emergent reasons.

Picking the right carrier is essential for a smooth trip to the vet. Consider your cat’s size and handling tolerance, and determine what will be easiest for you to use. Choose a carrier that is safe, appropriately sized, sturdy and easy to carry. Carriers that are hard-sided and sturdy, and have both front and top doors, make it easy to load and unload. Choose a carrier with an easy-to-remove top in case your cat is fearful or in pain, so it can still be examined in its carrier. When driving to the vet, remember to secure the carrier either in a foot well or in a back seat secured by a seatbelt. Cats that have been jostled and bumped around in the car are often very angry by the time they get to the exam room. Playing classical music in the car is an additional way to help you and your cat relax prior to arrival at the office.

Ensure your cat’s first experience in the carrier is a positive one. Trips to the veterinarian should not be the only time your cat is in its carrier. You should leave the carrier in a quiet room or where your cat spends the most time in your house so your cat can enter it at will. You can place familiar and comfortable bedding in the carrier to make it more inviting. You can also place treats, food, catnip or toys in the carrier to encourage it to enter. Make sure to reward the behavior you want to see. So, if your cat explores or goes in the carrier, reinforce this behavior with praise or a food reward. Acclimating your cat to its carrier may take days or even weeks, so try to be patient.

If you need to get your cat in the carrier on an emergent basis, try to put it in a small room with few hiding places. Make sure to move slowly and calmly. Try putting a treat or toy in to the carrier to encourage your cat to go in. If this doesn’t work, try to minimize struggling by gently placing it in the carrier through the top door or by removing the top and gently lowering it in. Make sure to calmly close the door. Wrapping your cat gently in a towel can help reduce struggling when lowering it in the carrier.

If your cat is still fearful after these methods, there are a few other things tools to use. Before leaving for the vet, spray a towel with Feliway stress-reducing hormones and place it over the carrier. This also provides hiding space for your cat to help it feel more at ease. Feliway also comes in easy-to-use wipes to clean a hard-sided carrier, helping to reduce fear and anxiety. Do these steps about 15 minutes before you put your cat in the carrier. Some cats that have had previous stressful experiences may need oral medications to assist in getting them in their carrier.

When transporting the carrier from the car into the veterinary office, hold it in front of you with both hands, close to your body. Cats feel as if they are on a pendulum if you carry it by the handle, which causes a swinging motion. Once you arrive at the veterinary hospital, put the carrier on a bench or elevated surface to prevent nosey dogs from peeking in and causing more stress and anxiety for your cat. A towel applied with pheromone spray and placed over the carrier is also a great way to keep your kitty more comfortable in the waiting room.

Calvert Veterinary Center is Gold-certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners as a feline-friendly practice. This means the center takes additional steps to ensure feline patients are comfortable in the hospital. Calvert Veterinary Center has a feline-only exam room with a Feliway diffuser to help reduce fear, anxiety and stress. It also has a variety of treat rewards and toys to improve your cat’s experience at the veterinary office.

Schedule an appointment with a doctor at Calvert Veterinary Center to discuss additional steps or medications that can be used before your visit. For an appointment, call 410-360-PAWS or schedule online at www.calvertvet.com. Calvert Veterinary Center is conveniently located at 4100 Mountain Road and has proudly served the Pasadena community for more than 14 years.

Sidebar Ad

Faces of the Voice

  • Dianna Lancione
  • William Nauman
    Creative Director
  • Lonnie Lancione
  • Dylan Roche
  • Brian Lancione
    V.P., Operations
  • Larry Sells
    Vice President, Sales and Development
  • Colin Murphy
    Sports Editor
    @ArVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
    @SPVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
    @PVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
  • Zach Sparks
    Assistant Editor

Latest Tweets

Events Calendar

Request an Advertising Quote

Please do not add dashes. (ex: 4106479400)
Do not enter anything here.
Search Articles
Search Authors
Search Blog