The key to making your cat's trip to the vet, or any trip in their carry cage, a stress free one is creating a positive association with their cage, carrier or cat box. Here are some simple steps to help make your cat's excursions more pleasant for you and your feline friend.
Regular preventative check-ups. A trip to the vet doesn’t always have to be about needles. Get your cat used to visiting the vet and practice regular care such as brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing at home. In addition to annual vaccinations, your cat will also benefit from a free dental check, a weigh-in or for older cats, and overall health check. Reward your cat with treats and positive attention throughout the process.
Choose the right cat carrier. If your cat is particularly stressed, a top loading carrier means we can perform some of our examination duties on your cat whilst they remain in their carrier. Don’t tip your cat out of the cage – allow them to walk out by themselves or remove them gently from the carrier.
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.
Create a safe place. Feeding your cat meals and treats in their carrier creates a positive association and reduces anxiety associated with the cage. Put your cat's favourite bed in the cage to create a safe and familiar environment for your cat. In the car, drape a blanket or towel over the carrier to reduce motion sickness and help your cat feel safe.
Smells. 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. We recommend spraying the cage and bedding with Feliway 'happy pheromone' spray at least 30 minutes before using the carrier to create a reassuring environment and help reduce stress.
Talk to your vet. If your cat gets overly stressed about visits to the vet talk to our healthcare team so we can provide you with the right advice to reduce stress for your cat. We can also prescribe medication if necessary.
For more information, check out the Catbox and Cage Phobia - Taking Your Cat to the Vet article here.