We know that a trip to the veterinarian can be stressful for your cat, not only because they need to get up and leave their safe place, but also for the strange sights, smells, and sounds they’ll encounter. We want to make this experience as stress-free as possible for you and your cat. Here are three tips that will help you make bringing your cat in for a check-up easier:
#1: Condition your cat to their carrier
Do you only bring the cat carrier out for trips to the veterinarian, then wonder why you have such a hard time getting your cat to go in? Teach your cat that their carrier is a safe haven instead of a feared torture device. Place your cat’s carrier in a quiet corner, and put blankets, toys, and treats inside. Let your cat go in and out, and replenish the treats often. Once your cat is comfortable, close the door for a few seconds while they are inside, then release them. Increase the duration, then add a trip around the house, supporting the carrier from the bottom to avoid jostling your cat.
#2: Hold off on feeding your cat
Food is the most powerful motivator we have to entice your cat to interact with our veterinary team. Skip your cat’s breakfast the morning of their appointment, so they arrive hungry and are more likely to be interested in treats. If your cat has a favorite high-value treat, such as tuna or spray cheese, bring some along, or let us know so that we can prepare for a successful visit.
#3: Practice handling your cat at home
Cats are naturally suspicious and balk at much of the handling involved with a routine veterinary exam. However, if you make handling a game with lots of treats as rewards, you can acclimate your cat to these activities. Start by touching your cat’s foot, then giving them a treat. Work up to picking up their foot, then add other maneuvers, such as touching their ears, lifting their tail, or opening their mouth.