Feline Veterinary Visits
Cats generally find any change stressfull . The top of the list of stress inducers for many cats is a visit to their veterinary hospital. Many owners realise that their cat is going to be stressed, and therefore do not seek help as early as they would with the family dog. Not all cats are stressed, and I would like to point out a few ideas which may make your next visit much better for your cat.
Cats by nature are far more suspicious than the vast majority of dogs. First of all, I think the cat carrier should not be viewed only as a means of transporting your cat. I would encourage you to leave it out all of the time, preferably in a warm bright area and with a favourite blanket or towel in it. That way your cat will often be inclined to use the carrier as a place to snooze. It becomes associated with safety and relaxation which is much more pleasant . You can sometimes give a treat when they use the carrier. Gentle grooming or light massage when they use the carrier is also possible. The whole idea is to have your cat view the carrier in a more positive way. When it comes to travelling, for whatever reason, your cat will feel much more comfortable .There is an excellent product on the market called Feliway. This can be sprayed inside the carrier prior to going to the veterinary hospital . It has a very calming effect on most cats.
At home it is always a good idea to practice veterinary visits. Gently check your cats ears, then its face, and finally pull back the lips a little and see your cats teeth. Massage your cats body for a few seconds and then see if you can check the chest and abdomen. If you practice this a few times many nervous cats will find it less intimidating when they get to the veterinary hospital.
When you arrive at the hospital it is not a good idea to place the carrier on the floor. Cats do not like being on the floor. It is far more natural for a cat to be higher up and more so when they are unsure what is happening. We offer an examination room which is exclusively for cats . That way they do not assume there is a dog under the table because they get the scent. We also offer a seperate cat waiting room because many cats may be OK with the family dog, or one they have some association with but they are not relaxed around strange dogs. Especially dogs who want to come over and sniff their carriers.
If you can practice some of these tips the next visit should be more enjoyable. For older cats who are very nervous and who may have had a previous traumatic experience, the use of Feliway is definitely recommended.