How to Make Vet Trips With Your Cat Easier

It’s a sad but true fact that cats get fewer visits to the vet’s office than their canine friends do. One of the main reasons for this is because often it’s quite the rigmarole to get them there, so owners give up trying. This exacerbates the issue of feline health in general because a regular check-up means that issues can be caught early and cured, and, in some cases, even prevented.

And, to make matters even worse, our feline friends are also very good at masking how they really feel so many don’t get the regular treatment they deserve as a result.

My colleague and very dear friend Dr. Marty Becker is spearheading a new movement to change the situation so that cats everywhere can experience fear-free vet visits and get the treatment and vet visits they justly deserve.

According to Dr. Becker, the Fear Free Movement, as it’s known, is really a two-way street. Getting you cat to the vet is only part of the issue. How they are received at the vet’s office is equally important!

In a recent article in Catster magazine, Dr. Becker said that the place to start is to make the cat carrier a home away from home so that your cat will be comfortable getting into it. The way to do that is to leave it lying around the home and leave it so your cat discovers it for herself. He suggests putting is somewhere where you know your cat will hang out and be tempted to investigate.

Also plug in a diffuser of pheromones that replicate what a mother cat naturally emits to calm her babies. You can also spray pheromones into the carrier to keep the Zen state in place in transit. The SENTRY Calming Spray makes it easy to re-spray the carrier before the trip home, too. (Be sure to spray before you place your cat in the carrier.) While the carrier needs to be secure in the car (the floor of the back passenger seat offers little room to project forward if you suddenly have to brake), at the same time, make sure it’s a smooth ride. Soothing music in the car can help, also.

Many veterinarians are now beginning to practice fear-free medicine for their feline patients. This includes having a separate secluded waiting room so that canines waiting their turn in the general waiting room do not spook cats. Some even arrange that you go straight into the consulting room from the car. If your cat is particularly fearful, ask your vet’s office if this can be arranged.

There are also compression wraps and prescription medications that can help your cat feel less anxious about the trip to the vet. If so, request medication in advance of the visit so that you can give it at home before you leave.

Yes, a trip to the vet can be a battle of wills. But it’s very important that you win each and every time. Cats may rule – but when it comes to their health, you have to over-rule.

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