Cats don't like visiting the veterinarian. They scream and howl in the carrier (if you can get them into one). They pee and poop on their way to see us. How can we not feel sympathy towards clients when they choose not to bring their cats yearly to see us? It has now become an epidemic – cats are our forgotten patients and that is a CATastrophe (sorry!). Nothing makes us sadder than answering "yes" to a client when they ask "if I had come in sooner, could you have saved my cat?"
It doesn't matter if your cat is an indoor cat or your cat is old. Do not think that vaccines are the only thing your cat needs. ALL cats (dogs too!) need to be seen yearly for examinations. We need to spend time with you so we can teach you how to enable your cat live a longer, healthier and happier life.
Bringing Your Cat to the Veterinarian — Tips for Traveling with Kitty
We know it can be tough to wrestle your cat into a carrier for a trip to our clinic. They hate the carrier. They hate the ride in the car. It's a nightmare. As a result, you don't bring your cat to see us anymore, and your precious cat misses out on the only opportunity he has to live a long, healthy life. Let’s change that! The following are four tips to bring your cat to our clinic:
- Make the carrier your cat's second home. Cat carriers are typically associated with many unpleasant things. Most are kept in a closet or garage, so the cat hasn't rubbed on it or slept inside it. Cats who haven't transferred their scent to the carrier see it as a foreign object. So give your cat time to mark the carrier with facial rubbing and her own fur. She'll begin to feel like it belongs to her and you'll find it easier to place her inside. Don't banish the carrier but, rather, put it in your family room and leave its door open. Place a soft towel inside with a toy. Pretty soon, your cat won't think twice about entering it.
- Turn the carrier into a meal center. Put part of your cat's daily food in the carrier to help your cat associate something good with the carrier. Try tossing a favorite treat in the carrier when he wants to be left alone. This will reward him for seeking solitude in the carrier and continue to reinforce the notion that the carrier isn't so bad after all.
- Try a different kind of carrier. Try a pillowcase as a carrier. With the cat on your lap, slip the pillowcase over the body, head first. Knot the top of the case and support his bottom. Two laundry baskets connected together or a box could also work. These items aren't a trigger for fear like your standard carrier might be.
- Consider using a synthetic product. Spray Feliway into the carrier on the blanket or towel. Many cats become less agitated when this is used.
Veterinary Services Loves Cats
Now that you have your cat into the carrier, let's head to the clinic! How can we make your visit at the clinic more comfortable and less stressful so you'll keep coming back every year to see us? We've done quite a few things that you may not even notice:
- Let's put you and your cat into our consult room to wait for your appointment – away from barking, noisey and smelly dogs (from the cats' viewpoint!).
- We try to use only one exam room for cat appointments. Again, this is to protect them from the dog smells.
- A bed on the exam table and quiet, soothing voices help to control anxiety – as well as a constant diffuser of Feliway into the room.
- We try to do all of the examination, vaccines and diagnostics in the same room. We don't want them to spike their adrenaline and become fearful while moving from room to room away from their human.
We spend time with each client educating and personalizing medical care for cats. It's a difficult job to keep up with the changing philosophies of veterinary care! Now we're facing a new suggested regimen for cat care. Read "Preventive Care for Cats" section and you'll see that there is a delineation of care for Kitten, Adult and Geriatric cats. However, we're now rethinking these stages of their life and separating them into Kitten, Junior, Prime, Mature, Senior and Geriatric. However, does it really matter? We're here for you and we want the same thing... for your cat friend and family member to live as long and happily as possible.