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cats being stressed during a vet's visit

Does the thought of travelling your beloved cat to the vets make your hair stand on end?

Do you put off important vet check ups because it's too stressful to bring your cat to the vet?

Coming to the vets will inevitably create some stress and anxiety for your cat but unfortunately this is an all too common reason for not going to the vets. This becomes an issue especially as your cat gets a little older as attending geriatric clinics as part of your cat’s preventative health care can ensure your cat has a longer more comfortable life.

However, we can't do this if you don't come to see us! Cats are independent, territorial animals that need to be in control of their surroundings and are sensitive to unfamiliar scents. Cats dislike travelling because they are suddenly being removed from their usual territory and are exposed to new noises and odours and experience unfamiliar movements. All things can make vet visits more stressful for your cat which in turn can make you more stressed. Fortunately, there’s a lot that you can do to make trips more pleasant to ensure they can have access to the best medical attention they deserve.  

How to make vet trips less stressful for your cat

Keep calm!

This may sound obvious but stay calm and talk to your cat in a low and soft voice. If you are anxious or frustrated with they will detect this and become anxious and fearful. So give yourself enough time before travelling to the vet to reward your cat with affection, play and treats. Giving your cat a fuss before travel is likely to not only calm them but you too!  

Choose a suitable carrier

Make sure your carrier is warm, comfortable and large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around. Plastic carriers are ideal for easy cleaning if you fear there may be mess and top and front opening carriers allow the cat to be carefully lifted in and out. If you think your cat would feel happier sitting in the base whilst being examined that will be fine, just let your vet know.  

Get your cat used to their carrier

A cat's aversion to the carrier is often reinforced by the fact that often the only time they go inside it is for a vet visit. Use the carrier at home by leaving it open to encourage your cat to sleep or be fed in the carrier. You can also make the carrier more familiar by putting bedding in that smells of home or rubbing a cloth with your cats scent around the inside of the carrier. Finally, you could try a pheromone spray inside the cat carrier 30 minutes before using it.  

Avoid feeding

Do not feed your cat for at least 6 hours before the journey to avoid nausea or vomiting.  

Wrapping & Covering up

If your cat panics when trying to put them in the carrier, wrap them up in a thick blanket and place both in the carrier. Once inside the carrier keep it covered with a towel or blanket that smells of home or is sprayed with Feliway to help keep them calm.  

Carefully does it

When transporting the carrier either by hand or by car try to avoid swinging or allowing it to bang into things. When driving a good place is either in the footwell or a seat secured with a seatbelt so it cannot move.

Accidents happen

Tell us if you think your cat has soiled their carrier on arrival. We understand accidents do happen and are more than happy to clean them up for you. Take spare bedding (smelling of home or sprayed with Feliway) just in case. Let us worry about the rest! Calder Vets Dewsbury are proud to have been officially certified as a Gold standard “Cat Friendly Clinic” by The International Society for Feline Medicine (ISFM). This means that on arrival there is: 

  • A dedicated cat only section in the waiting room allowing cats to wait away from dogs
  • Calming Feliway diffusers in the cat waiting area, consultation room and Feliway sprayed towels to cover cats in baskets
  • A dedicated cat consultation room so cats can be examined in an area free from the smells and sights of dogs
  • Cat advocates who are nurses knowledgeable in cat behaviour who have promised to encourage cat friendly handling and prevent unnecessary stress