Your cat has an upcoming veterinary appointment. We know that the trip to the Vet Clinic can be a nerve wracking time for our feline friends and we want to try to limit that as much as possible! For this reason we have a list of things that you can do at home before your appointment, and on the trip to the clinic, that can help to make your kitty’s experience as positive as possible!
- A few days or even weeks before your veterinary appointment, get your cat carrier out where your cat can see it, smell it and go into it. Put a nice towel or comfy bed in there. Perhaps you want to put a favourite toy or some treats in as well. You could even feed your kitty in the carrier for the next couple of days. If your furry friend is particularly nervous when coming to the clinic, maybe you want to start this process a few weeks ahead for your next planned trip to see us.
- There is a pheromone product called Feliway that you can purchase from us to spray in your cat carrier once a day for a few days leading up to your visit. Even if you spray the carrier well about an hour before you need to pack up to make the trip to the clinic, it should help. It’s what we call a ‘Happy Cat Pheromone’ and it elicits feelings of calmness in cats. We have found that it works well on many cats to help alleviate some of the stress of a car ride and a visit to the clinic.
- Don’t feed your cat before your appointment. Or if your appointment is later in the day, then perhaps only feed a small amount or pick up the food bowl before lunchtime. Being a bit hungry will entice your kitty to want to take treats from us. Getting yummy treats will help to build a positive relationship between your cat and our clinic staff.
- If your cat is a strictly indoor cat, then remember that major differences in outside temperatures and even the temperature in your car can be quite shocking. As it doesn’t take much to worry cats, we recommend either warming your car up or cooling it down for a few minutes (depending on the season of course) before you bring him or her to the car.
- When you transport a carrier, always carry it with two hands. Imagine that there is a bowl of water inside the carrier and you don’t want to spill a drop! Don’t carry it like a briefcase, swinging it around and banging it into things! Can you imagine how scary that ride must be, swinging back and forth?
- Take a rolled up towel or a wedge of some sort and level out how the carrier is sitting in the car. We wouldn’t like to be tilted, lopsided, and uncomfortable for our trip to see our doctor, and neither do our feline friends.
- When you and your kitty get to the clinic, check in at the front desk first thing. Perhaps you even want to do that before bringing the carrier in so we can be sure that there aren’t any dogs right at the front desk that might be worrisome. However if your cat is used to dogs, you can come right in. We’ll try to get you settled into an exam room right away so that you and your kitty can relax for a minute from your exciting trip to the clinic.
- We spray ourselves and our exam rooms with Feliway to try to keep all of our feline patients as relaxed as possible. You will also see that we are using yoga mats on our exam tables to prevent our patients from slipping on the table or having cold toes from the stainless steel!
- If we try all of these things and your cat is still worried, perhaps before your next visit you might want to think about purchasing a kitty Thunder Shirt. These help to lower anxiety and stress levels in many cats. You would want to put that on at home before you come to the clinic and see if it helps out. There are also some natural supplements or even medications that we could consider trying in the future if your kitty is still really worried about coming to see us.
- One of the medications that is very effective for cats is called Gabapentin. Gabapentin can help a lot to ease anxiety in cats if you give it about an hour before leaving your home to come to see us. We are recommending this quite a bit now and we are thrilled with how well it is working to keep the kitties that come to visit us as relaxed as possible!
- We have also put together a package, that we call our Kitty Relax Pack, that you can buy. This includes a Feliway wipe, some herbal calming treats, and a dose of Gabapentin so that you can easily implement several of the ideas that are outlined here. This should help to make your trip to the vet with your kitty as stress-free as possible for both of you!
We recognize that your pet’s appointment starts before you even leave home. And we know that for many owners just seeing their pet worried or upset makes them reluctant to bring their pets into the clinic even when they are sick. We don’t want that to be the case! We want your clinic experience and your kitty’s appointment to be as positive and stress-free as possible! We hope that following these steps can have a significant positive impact on your cat’s stress levels and ultimately the quality of medical care that we are able to provide.
If you have questions about any of this, please feel free to contact the clinic at 613-382-2900!