Stress, anxiety, and fear during veterinary visits begin at home when you take out the cat carrier. Before traveling to the clinic, there are many things you can do to reduce the stress of a veterinary visit.
The first part of the journey is the cat carrier. The cat carrier should be a fun and friendly place. Have the carrier out at all times and encourage your cat to use it by putting treats, catnip, and toys inside the carrier. Put a towel in the carrier to provide soft bedding and some traction during transport. The towel will also help soak up any messes that may occur during the journey to the clinic. Also, consider a Thundershirt – they have been shown to help reduce stress as well. About fifteen minutes prior to the car ride spray the towel in the carrier with Feliway anti-anxiety spray.
When lifting the carrier, hold it from the bottom as much as possible – not by the handle. Cats do not like the feeling of swinging back and forth. A large blanket or a premade Cat Cozy over the carrier often helps as some cats get stressed from seeing other cats and dogs. Place the carrier on the floor behind the front passenger seat of your vehicle as that is the safest and most secure place in your car. If that is not possible, then use the back seat and seat belt. Drive without sudden stops and starts and avoid playing loud music. Some studies have shown that cats prefer classical music. Try several test drives prior to the veterinary visit to help your cat become familiar with car rides and to get an idea of how stressed your cat may feel.
Sometimes even with all the above considerations, some cats will still need some extra help. We can try natural products like Bio-Calm alone or in combination with a drug for sedation. Also, don’t feed your cat twelve hours prior to the visit as a hungry cat is more likely to be distracted with treats. In the event your cat doesn’t like our clinic treats, please bring some your cat’s favourite treats with you. When you arrive at the clinic, be sure not to put the cat carrier on the floor but on a bench or chair instead – cats prefer being up high. Call us, and we can assist you in getting your cat carrier into the clinic. Whenever possible, we will try to get your cat into our cat examination room as soon as possible to avoid distractions and allow more time to adjust to their surroundings.
If you had anxiety while flying wouldn’t you want something to help you relax? Consider getting Biocalm, Feliway, and a Thundershirt for your pet. Call us to purchase and pick up these stress-reducing aids.
For more information watch this video called Cats & Carriers Friends not Foes
Download this brochure for more tips and a guide to the best type of Cat Carrier to Buy