Trips to the Vet: Helping Your Cat Adjust

Barton_iStock_000009827806_Large (2)For many cat parents, it’s not unusual to worry about the dreaded trip to the vet (over 2/3 of all cat owners report this fear). Despite knowing annual wellness exams are essential to good health, the fuss over the cat carrier or the car ride can cause a bit of panic. The good news is that we can help your cat overcome these fears with some kitty-calming strategies.

Setting the Stage

If your cat still runs for cover when you bring out the carrier, getting him warmed up to the idea of said carrier is key.

To begin, keep your cat’s carrier in a central location with the door open. Add a few favorite items such as a blanket, toys, or catnip.

Start placing your cat’s morning and evening meals in the carrier, gradually moving the bowl toward the back. Praise your cat for entering and investigating or for dining inside.

Over time, gradually close the door. You may also wish to practice by carrying your cat in her carrier or taking short car trips. Voila! The acclimation has begun.

Practice Makes Purr-fect

Now that your cat has (mostly) warmed up to the carrier, you can attempt some practice exam visits at home.

Try some of the following techniques to ease your cat:

  1. Find a high counter or table where you can prepare your cat for a “mock” exam.
  2. Lightly palpate your pet’s sides, legs, and abdomen.
  3. Inspect ears, teeth, and gums (a great time to brush those pearly whites).
  4. Lift each paw and check nail length (and trim, if comfortable).
  5. Brush your cat’s hair and provide praise, pets, and treats for a successful rehearsal!

The Cat-Friendly Clinic

One of the most important aspects of your cat’s veterinary experience is getting a sense of what to expect before you arrive.

At Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital, we understand the nuances of providing care to our feline patients. To ensure your cat’s experience is a comfortable one, we focus on minimizing wait time and reducing your cat’s exposure to noise and odors (cats are highly attuned to scents which can exacerbate stress).

We’re also skilled in gentle handling techniques, low-stress examinations, and encouraging the best in preventive medicine for our feline friends.

Call us to learn more about how we make the exam experience a positive one for your cat companion.

A Calm Owner, A Calm Cat

We understand why you may feel anxiety when your cat starts to yowl, cry, squirm, or hide. It’s tough to watch a beloved pet become stressed, but one of the best ways to keep your cat relaxed is to remain calm yourself.

Most pets respond to the emotions of their guardians, so projecting confidence can go a long way to helping your cat cope.

While it may be trying at first, your pet can learn to adjust to car trips and veterinary exams with some practice and patience.

Take a deep breath – it is possible! At Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital, we look forward to caring for your very best feline friend.