Reducing Your Cat's Stress When Going To The Vets
Visiting the vet can be a stressful experience for both cat and owner. The OSCAR Helpine are here with helpful tips and ideas to help reduce potential stressors and make vet trips a happier experience for your cat.
Stress-reducing ideas for your cat
Try to give your cat free access to your cat carrier, so that it can be enjoyed as a positive experience rather than just signalling a visit to the vet or cattery. You could leave a blanket in it and remove the top or door to allow your cat to use it as a bed in the house. If you leave the bedding inside when going to the vet, the familiar smells will provide security.
If you haven't been able to expose the cat to the cat carrier before the visit, try gathering scent by rubbing a soft cloth gently around your cat’s face and then rubbing the cloth around the cat carrier. Place bedding that your cat has already used inside the carrier. When putting your cat into the basket, wrap it in a blanket and gently lift it in. If it is a front-facing carrier then wrap in a blanket and slide in, facing outwards, bottom first.
Choose a sturdy carrier so that your cat can’t escape and ensure it is large enough for him to turn around in, but not so large that he can be rocked about when being carried.
Whilst travelling, make sure the cat carrier is securely fastened with a seatbelt or put safely in the footwell of the car: never leave your cat free to travel out of a carrier. You can provide added security by placing a towel over the carrier so the cat can’t see out.
Once you arrive at the vets, ask if there is a specific waiting area for cats or somewhere you can move to that is quieter. If the waiting room is full of dogs, you could consider waiting in the car until it is time for your appointment. Ensure your cat is handled quietly and respectfully and that everything is carefully explained to you.
When you get home don't let the cat out of the basket until it is safe and secure to do so within the house. Allow the cat time and space to adjust back to its surroundings and keep other cats apart until the returning cat begins to pick up its familiar home scents. Remove any bedding that has been used at the vets, ready for washing.
You can also visit the International Cat Care website for further advice on training your cat to use a cat carrier.
Do you need further advice?
If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.