Veterinarians recommend that cats receive a wellness checkup once per year, but according to PetFinder.com, fewer than half of all cat owners take their cat to the veterinarian unless they are sick. Managing cat anxiety during veterinary visits can be stressful for both you and your kitty. Here are some tips to make the process run more smoothly.
Anticipate and Prepare for Cat Anxiety During Your Next Vet Visit
- Practice putting your cat in his carrier ahead of time. For most cat owners, just getting their cat into the carrier can be the hardest part of a veterinarian visit. But it will be much easier if the cat can get familiar with their carrier first. Don’t wait until the day of the vet appointment to introduce your cat to his carrier. Start by placing the carrier somewhere near where he normally hangs out, and let him get familiar with it. Then try to place him inside the carrier for a short amount of time and let him out.
- Try to schedule your cat’s vet visit at a less busy time. Ask your vet what the slower hours are and try to make an appointment during those. This will be less stressful for your cat because you won’t have to wait as long and there will be fewer other animals at the vet’s office at the same time.
- If it’s your cat’s first veterinary visit, have another person (who your cat knows) go with you. Another person can help comfort your cat in the car, give your cat treats and be there for help in case any emergency happens while traveling with your pet. If you have trouble getting your cat inside his carrier, another person could be helpful with this as well.
- Bring toys, treats and things to distract your cat. Some cats might be too stressed out to pay attention, but it’s always worthwhile to carry cat toys, catnip and treats with you to the vet visit. You can feed your cat treats and try to play with him while he is waiting in the carrier. If your cat is displaying good behavior in the car or at the vet, you can also use treats to reward him.
- Comfort your cat, but give him or her space. When your cat is on the table in the vet’s office, you may want to play or pet your kitty, but don’t overdo it — you don’t want to end up increasing cat anxiety and defeat the purpose. If your cat is already nervous, too much playing or touching might overwhelm your cat or distract the veterinarian.
Do you have any other tips for having a good experience at the veterinarian with your cat? We would love to hear them!