The American Veterinary Medical Association lists today as “National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day.” You may be thinking at this point…”my cat HATEs going to the vet.” Here at My Zoo, we take great care to make your cat’s visit as pleasant as possible. Here are some things you can do to make your visit the least stressful as possible.
- Keep your cat’s carrier out many days before your appointment. Occasionally put a treat or meal in there to encourage your cat to explore it. Add some padding to make it a desirable, safe hiding place. If you bring it out and do this periodically throughout the year, your cat may start to go in his carrier to look for treats, then the day you actually need to transport him, it’s nothing new or scary…and not just for the vet! We always recommend using a cat carrier as it is unsafe to let your cat have free range of the car.
- Schedule an appointment. Scheduling an appointment ensures we have an open exam room upon your cat’s arrival. We prefer to get cats into a quiet, calm exam room as fast as possible so they aren’t stressed by any noisy lobby visitors. When you call for an appointment, feel free to ask our receptionist when a quiet time would be to schedule your cat’s appointment. She will know what appointments are also coming in and can schedule your cat during our most quiet time based on that day’s schedule.
- Don’t place your cat on the exam table until we are ready. There’s nothing scarier than being dragged out of a crate and then placed on a high surface. It is ok to place your cat’s carrier next to you on the floor and leave the crate door open. Then as we ask for history questions, your cat can feel free to explore at his own pace. Once we are ready for your cat, a technician will use a warmed towel sprayed with Feliway (calming cat pheromone) to coax or gently remove your cat from the carrier if he didn’t feel like exiting the carrier on his own. If your cat is somewhat less than happy to be here, keeping your cat in the carrier minimizes handling and stress until we are ready to examine him. Sometimes, we can do the entire exam from the safety of the carrier, and some cats prefer this.
- Invest in a pet piller before you need to give medication. This tip isn’t about the actual vet visit, but can make your life easier if you ever need to give pills! We have pet pillers available for purchase. These little devices have a soft rubber tip where the pill goes, and a plunger that pushes out the pill and into a pet’s mouth. If you purchase one of these ahead of time, and use it as a treat or canned food dispenser, a pill will be no problem later!
- If you have a kitten, feel free to come by for a free weight check and treat. This will help establish a positive association with our clinic. Adult cats are welcome to come by for “happy visits” as well, but it is particularly important as a part of kitten socialization.
Here are just a few of the tips to make your cat’s life easier. Cats are experts at hiding illness so that yearly veterinary visit is critical for detecting and treating disease early.