If a cat has owned you for any length of time then you know that they need regular checkups, vaccines, and special care, just like we do. Yet visiting the vet can be the single most stressful event in the life of your cat. And it’s no surprise that this stress can transfer to you as well – causing anxiety and insomnia. Worse, your anxiety transfers to your beloved pet as well, as they can sense human emotions.
But vet visits don’t have to be stressful. Follow these 10 ways to reduce stress for your cat when visiting the vet and soon you’ll both feel calmer and happier.
1. Fear-free certification
Fear-free certification is catching on around the world. The vet clinic staff must take a course and change their clinic to a more soothing environment for cats. Check and see if you have this type of vet clinic in your city. Even something as simple as using Feliway, or a soft blanket on the examining table, can ensure your cat has a better experience. Examining rooms may also be assigned only to cats, no dogs allowed.
2. Use a cat carrier
Many cats may ride in vehicles just fine, but a cat carrier will not only keep them secure, but it’ll also be a lot simpler removing them from the vehicle at the vet’s parking lot. A cat carrier should also be secured with a safety seatbelt.
3. Use towels
Before placing kitty in the carrier, line it with a soft clean towel. This makes it softer and more comfortable for your cat to relax. Some owners even like to cover the cat carrier with a large towel so the cat can’t see where they’re going.
4. Spray Feliway
Feliway is a liquid spray-on product that mimics happy cat pheromones. You can spray their carrier or towel. The pheromones help to make them happier and less anxious. A good vet clinic will also use Feliway in their cat examining room.
5. Play soothing music
Instead of your usual music cranked up high, lower the volume and play soothing classical music for your cat. Music has been proven to make your cat feel calmer and may just make them sleepy, so they have a nap on the way to the vet.
6. Make a carrier fun
Cats shouldn’t fear their carriers. Their carriers should be a tranquil kitty cave to them. Leave the carrier out and open. Spray it with catnip. Put some treats inside. Your cat will get curious and walk right in. That’s when you sneak up and quickly close the door. Now you’ve avoided that yowling fest of trying to get your cat in the carrier before the vet visit.
7. Ask for introductions
If your vet clinic is new to you and your cat, ask the receptionist if you can drop by for introductions. During this visit you’ll get to meet the vet. Your cat can come out of the carrier and explore. There won’t be any shots, care, or examinations involved. After a few minutes, your kitty goes back in the carrier and back home. You can expect to pay a modest fee for this service, but it will help to get your cat used to the clinic.
8. Bring treats
Many vet clinics offer cat treats at the end of the exam. You may wish to bring your own in case they don’t offer free treats. Your cat will be pleased to get the treats and may associate the next vet trip with more treats. They won’t be as stressed as a result.
9. Act normal
On the day of the vet visit be sure to act the same as you always do. Don’t change the routine. Cats can sense when something unusual is going to happen. If your cat won’t go into the cat carrier naturally, then nonchalantly go up and pet them, then pick them up and put them in it.
10. Stay with your cat
Many people don’t want to be in the room when their cat is checked or given shots, but it’s important. You can help to hold and soothe your cat during the exam. Your cat can also get anxious if they see you walking out of the room. But if you’re there with them, there will be no fear that you’ve dumped them off at a scary location.
The vet clinic may never be your cat’s favorite spot to hang out but you can at least make it a more calming and soothing experience by taking the time to follow the tips above. Eventually a trip to the vet will become a regular part of kitty life, and soon they’ll be ready to go for their next vet appointment.