What if we told you bringing your cat to the vet doesn't have to be an ordeal?
“I can’t bring my cat to the vet, it’s too stressful for them”
This is something we hear at the front desk all the time. For what it’s worth, I totally understand and sympathize!
I have a kitty who I adore. Her name is Loretta. She is black and white with pretty pink toes and she is the sweetest and most affectionate cat ever. In fact after a stressful day you’ll usually find either my husband or myself hanging out in our spare room (aka Loretta’s apartment) to bask in her peaceful presence.
But all that evaporates when it’s time to take her to the vet. Sweet, peaceful Loretta morphs into a demon with the strength of a bear cub when it comes to putting her in her carrier for the trip.
In all fairness, carrier aversion is really quite understandable when you look at it from a cat’s point of view. All of a sudden, a cat is yanked from a peaceful sleep to get forced into a scary looking and smelling enclosure, swung around, jostled on a drive and taken to a place with very scary sights, sounds and smells.
We believe and practice in the fear free concept for veterinary care. If pets are anxious, we move them to a quiet room, we use all kinds of treats and pheromone therapy to help destress an animal in our care. We also use the Krazy Kitty line of catnip, mice and toys to distract your cat while in for their exam. Click on this link to a video of Chloe happily playing with her Krazy Kitty toy while in the exam room. https://www.facebook.com/284139268794/posts/10156555480938795?s=718542320&v=e&sfns=mo
But as pet owners and particularly cat ones you can do lots of fear free work at home.
Let’s start with the carrier. The mistake many of us make is waiting until a cat needs to come to the vet to bring it out. If possible try and make the carrier part of the cat’s everyday environment. Fill it with things that are comforting like blankets or towels or even items of your clothing. Loretta loves piles of clean laundry so I keep a few old but freshly cleaned towels in hers. Let them live with the carrier so they get used to its presence. You can use pheromone spray (Feliway) on the carrier as well.
Then take a few minutes everyday to train them to actually go in without a huge physical struggle. Use their absolute favourite treats. I use a combination of temptations and tuna with Loretta. Remember it’s not a race. That’s the beauty of working this when you don’t have to go anywhere!
Keep moving the food closer and closer until you actually place it right in the carrier, then let them follow it in (and come out) at their own pace.
Also know that there are some awesome new carriers on the market right now that really make travel in general for your pet a much nicer experience like the sleepy pod. https://fearfreepets.com/resources/preferred-product-program/sleepypod/
It’s three products in one, a bed, a carrier and a safe car seat. The pod is comfortable, cozy and safe.
It won’t happen overnight, but a few moments each day can make a trip to the vet not such a terrifying ordeal.