The key to making your cat's trip to the vet (or any trip in their carry cage), a stress free one is creating a positive association with their cage, carrier or cat box. Here are some simple steps to help make your cat's excursions more pleasant for you and your feline friend.
1. Regular preventative check-ups.
· A trip to the vet doesn’t always have to be about needles. Get your cat used to visiting the vet and practice regular care such as brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing at home.
· In addition to annual vaccinations, your cat will also benefit from a free dental check, a weigh-in or for older cats, an overall health check.
· Reward your cat with treats and positive attention when you get home.
2. Choose the right cat carrier.
· The carrier should have an opening in the front and a removable top half. The sides should also offer a visual shield.
· If your cat is particularly stressed, a top loading carrier means some of the examination duties can be performed on your cat whilst they remain in their carrier, minimising the need to handle them.
· Don’t tip your cat out of the cage – allow them to walk out by themselves or remove them gently from the carrier.
3. Practice at home.
· Include your cat's carry cage as part of your household furniture in a spare room or in the laundry.
· Leave the cage door open so your cat can investigate it or even play in it allowing them to develop a positive association with it.
4. Create a safe place.
· Feeding your cat meals and treats in the carrier creates a positive association and reduces anxiety associated with the cage.
· Put your cat's favourite bed in the cage to create a safe and familiar environment.
· In the car, drape a blanket or towel over the carrier to reduce motion sickness and help your cat feel safe.
· When you arrive at the vet clinic, please place your cat’s cage on the seat next to you in the waiting room and not on the ground, this helps with their stress levels.
· Avoid strong smelling chemicals such as bleach or ammonia-based products - not only do cats dislike the smell, they may think another cat has marked the territory! Clean the cat carrier with soap and water, or water with a small amount of white vinegar added.
· We recommend spraying the cage and bedding with Feliway spray at least 30 minutes before using the carrier to create a reassuring environment and help reduce stress.