So, you have booked in your feline to see the vet. You have made this appointment well in advance. The day comes, you go to collect your cat carrier for safe transportation and before you know it- your feline is nowhere to be found!
The dreaded cat carrier always only tends to make an appearance when we’re seeing the scary vet! Thankfully, there are a few ways we can get our kitties used to their carrier (a process called ‘desensitising’) in the hope they will be less stressed for their vet visits.
- Use the carrier as a safe place to feed meals or offer treats.
- Place a towel or blanket over the carrier and encourage them to use the top of the carrier as a bed.
- Make it an ‘ordinary’ part of the furniture – i.e. leave it out all the time, or at least days to weeks in advance of the visit.
- Reward desired behaviour.
- Go for a drive and visit the vet for treats only - the carrier is normal and no longer an entryway to doom.
- Calming pheromones such as ‘Feliway’ can also assist in making our cats feel more relaxed at home and prior to a vet visit. Feliway is available as a spray (used in the carrier prior to a veterinary visit) or home diffusers.
- Calming supplements, such as Zylkene, can also help reduce stress.
Reading a cat’s body language is also important so that we can judge what our limitations are. We know that a dog wagging its tail may be a sign of a happy pooch but how about a cat? Not so much. Rapid tail movement can be a sign of agitation. This, along with flattened ears, dilated pupils and raised fur is also a sign of anxiety or fear and can lead to aggressive behaviour.
These extra feisty felines may require medications before their next visit (which can be discussed with our veterinarians) that can help reduce anxiety and make the visit to the vet much less stressful for everyone. It is often safer to approach all cats slowly and with care in our consultation rooms. Following all the tips above can ensure everyone has a comfortable visit.