As pet parents, we understand the challenges of taking our feline friends to the veterinarian. Cats often display anxiety and fear during these visits, making the process stressful for both the cat and their person. But fear no more! In this blog post, we will share valuable tips and strategies to ensure a fear-free experience when taking your beloved kitty to the veterinarian. By following these guidelines, you can make each trip to the veterinary hospital a positive and stress-free experience for your feline companion.
#1: Choose a Fear-Free Certified Veterinary Hospital
One of the first steps to ensure a positive veterinary visit is to select a Fear-Free Certified Veterinary Practice. These clinics go through extensive training of the entire team to provide a comfortable and low-stress experience for your pet. Fear-Free practices focus on creating a calm and welcoming environment, using gentle handling techniques, and stress reduction strategies. By choosing a Fear-Free Certified hospital, you can be confident that your cat’s well-being and emotional health will be prioritized throughout the visit.
#2: Familiarize Your Cat with the Carrier
Cats often associate their carriers with travel stress and negative experiences. To counteract this, make the carrier a safe and inviting space. Leave the carrier open in your home with a soft blanket or bedding inside to encourage your cat to explore and use it as a cozy spot without the stress of transport. Place treats or use interactive toys to entice your cat to enter the carrier voluntarily. This positive association will help alleviate anxiety when it’s time for a veterinary visit.
#3: Scent Familiarity
Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell. Making the carrier and their surroundings smell familiar can ease their anxiety. Place a blanket or towel with your scent or a familiar item inside the carrier to provide comfort and security. Additionally, consider using synthetic feline pheromone sprays such as Feliway, available at pet stores, in the carrier or on a towel to further create a calming environment.
#4: Medical Aids
For cats who become extremely stressed during their visit, treatment with oral gabapentin can make a huge difference. Cats usually experience reduced stress and anxiety, as well as fear during a veterinary visit. The medication has few side effects (mostly sedation), and any that do occur are usually transient. The general recommendation is to administer a capsule 90 minutes before putting the cat in the carrier. If you believe that your kitty might benefit from gabapentin prior to their visit, please contact us.
#5: Secure Your Cat Safely in the Car
The Center for Pet Safety recommends that carriers be seat belted into the backseat only if they have been crash tested. Most carriers should be placed on the floor behind the driver or front passenger seat. It is dangerous to allow your cat to roam free within the car.
Taking your cat to the veterinarian doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience. By implementing these fear-free strategies, you can transform veterinary visits into positive and stress-free adventures for both you and your feline companion. Remember, a Fear Free Certified veterinary practice, gradual introductions to the carrier, familiar scents, secure travel, and medical aids all play a significant role in creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere for your cat’s healthcare needs. Together, let’s make every trip to the veterinary hospital a positive journey for our beloved feline friends!
Additional Information on Getting your Cat to the Vet can be found on these great websites: