August 22nd is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day, and the perfect reminder to schedule your cat’s routine checkup here at Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert. Cats are one of the most popular pets, but they’re brought to the vet far less often than dogs. What’s the reason? If you’re a cat owner, you probably already know about the anxiety most cats experience during the visit. Getting them to the appointment can be quite an ordeal! To help make the visit less stressful for your cat (and for you), we’ve put together some tips for bringing cats to the vet.

Tips for the Carrier

  • Choose the right carrier. The carrier should be large enough that it has adequate room for your cat to turn around comfortably. Carriers that open from the top also alleviate a lot of extra anxiety when compared to those that open from the front. This is simply because the ones that open from the front often require “dumping” her out. But a carrier that opens from the top allows the veterinarian to do most of their exam while your cat stays comfortably in the carrier.
  • Put it out at least 5-7 days before the vet visit. By bringing out the carrier several days in advance and placing it in her common spaces, you are giving your cat time to get used to the carrier. Put treats inside the carrier and leave it in a safe spot in your house. Let your cat slowly explore the carrier, rather than creating stress by trying to cram her inside it right before leaving for your veterinary appointment. 
  • Make it a safe space. Instead of just using her carrier as a means of transport, make it a refuge for her in everyday life. Put comfortable bedding inside and leave it in a place in the house that she enjoys. If you can, leave the carrier out all the time so she can rest and relax in it whenever she wants to go to her safe place. That way she won’t just associate it with going to the vet. 
  • Carry it properly. Holding the carrier with two hands at the bottom rather than by the handle on top will help prevent her from being jostled and tossed about. 

Tips for the Car

Once your cat learns to love her crate you can also teach her to like the car. This should be a gradual process. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will go a long way in helping her stress level—and yours!  

  • Start by putting your cat in the car in her carrier, leaving the car door open. Give her a treat, then take the carrier out of the car. Do this several times until she seems comfortable with it. 
  • Close the car door and then open it again. Give her lots of treats each time you open and close the door. 
  • Turn the car on, then off. Don’t forget the treats! 
  • Eventually, begin driving short distances while having a passenger give her treats, and your cat can become more accustomed to the car. 

Tips for the Waiting Room 

  • Take a quick peek into the waiting room before bringing your cat into the clinic. Notice whether it feels loud and chaotic. Barking dogs, yelling kids and ringing phones are all commonplace in the waiting room. If you find this is the case, ask one of the veterinary staff members if you and your cat can be placed in a room right away to allow more peace and quiet for your cat. Or you can let us know that you will be waiting in the car with your cat until the room is ready. At the very least, placing a towel over her carrier can be helpful. 

Other Tips 

  • Spray Pheromones. Synthetic pheromones like Feliway are very calming for some cats. Spray the towel in your cat’s crate as well as a towel that you place over the top of the carrier. Just make sure to air it out for a few minutes before placing your cat around the towel. 
  • Make sure you stay calm. Your cat will feed off of your energy. If she feels you are anxious, it will add to her anxiety. 
  • Bring your cat in hungry. She is more likely to take treats from you and from us if she hasn’t eaten in awhile! Bringing treats that she loves from home is also a good idea. This will help her feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar setting. 

Talk to Your Anasazi Vet

Now that you have some tips for bringing cats to the vet, be sure to bring yours in to Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert for her annual checkup! Our goal is to help you and your cat have the most stress-free vet visit possible. So give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to providing quality, compassionate care for your fur baby.

Image by Marcin Machalski from Pixabay