A simple visit to the vet can be anything but simple, especially for your cat. Regular examinations are extremely important, but your cat doesn’t see it that way. Cats find them more stressful, even torturous. This can be true for cat owners, too. This may ultimately lead to fewer trips to the vet for the cat. Regular preventive veterinary trips, however, are essential for the well-being of your cat, especially as she ages and becomes more and more prone to having health issues. However, there are some things you can do to make the trip to the vet easier and less frightening for your cat and you.
1.) While your cat is still a kitten, try to get her used to a variety of people and environments. Take her out where she can experience new things. Give her treats and play with her in each and every new environment. With an older cat you will have to proceed much slower. Be sure to take her home when she has had enough so that she doesn’t grow to resent being taken out. When you have visitors, you should introduce them to your cat and let them interact with toys or treats.
2.) Get a carrier big enough for her to move around in easily. Leave the carrier out with the door open. Put a towel or blanket on the bottom inside, for comfort, and add a favorite toy or treat. Let her go in and out whenever she pleases. Positive experiences with the carrier before the visit to the vet will help to avoid her rush for a hiding place whenever the carrier appears. It should also be mentioned that top loading carriers are less stressful for some cats. They are also easier for the removal of the cat. Don’t limit car rides to just visits to the vet’s office. If you take her on an occasional ride in the carrier, that will help her get used to the car and the motion. Take your cat to the vet sometimes when she doesn’t even have an appointment. Since she won’t be getting an examination she will have an opportunity to get used to believe the vet’s office isn’t a place of pure stress. You also shouldn’t feed the cat before your trip so she doesn’t get sick.
3.) Between each vet visit, get your cat used to being handled the same way your vet will handle her. While she is at home where she feels safe, you can scruff her fur, handle her legs and lay her on her back. This will help her feel less frightened during an actual visit. This will be much easier with a kitten, but an adult cat will be more difficult especially if she has never done these things before. Be extreme with your praise and treats. Both at home and at the vet’s ofice, speak in a soft calm voice.
4.) Go to your vet appointment completely prepared. Write down any and all questions or concerns you have about your cat’s health or behavior. You should arrive on time or even early. If you are well prepared then you will be less stressed and that will help your cat to stay calmer.
5.) Praise, treats and gentle stroking will all make her feel that she is loved and safe. She will learn quickly that she can survive a trip to the vet. You should also talk with your vet about specific ways to make your next visit even less stressful for you and your cat. In spite of all that you may do, she may never be completely comfortable during her appointment, but even a slight decrease in stress can make a noticeable difference for you, your cat and the vet. A little patience and practice can work wonders.