Do you dread bringing your cat to the vets?

Here is a few pointers to help make the experience a lot less stressful for you and your cat.

 AdobeStock_107108883.jpegUnderstanding your Cat’s Behaviour
  • Cats are most comfortable with the familiar, and need time to adjust to the unfamiliar. The visit to the veterinarian is often difficult because the carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are usually unfamiliar. Respect your cat’s need for time to become familiar with new situations, people and places.

  • Stay calm. Cats can sense our anxiety or frustrations, which may cause them to become fearful or anxious.

  • Cats do not learn from punishment or force. Give rewards to encourage positive behaviour. For example, if your cat is sitting calmly in or near a carrier, give a treat. Likewise, rewards can be given to help your cat become familiar with the type of handling that may be encountered at the veterinarian (e.g. handling paws, ears and mouth). A treat is what is highly desirable to your cat, which may be in the form of food, play or affection. Be persistent and reward every time.

Helping Your Cat Become Comfortable with the Carrier

The goal is for your cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences and routinely enter voluntarily.

  • Make the carrier a familiar place at home by leaving it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time.

  • Place familiar soft bedding inside the carrier. Bedding or clothing with your scent can make them feel more secure.

  • Place treats, catnip or toys inside the carrier to encourage the cat to enter at home. Often, you will see that treats are removed from the carrier during the night.

  • It may take days or weeks before your cat starts to trust the carrier. Remain calm, patient and reward desired behaviours.

  • If you still have trouble, you may need to assess the carrier itself.

Getting an Unwilling Cat into the Carrier

If your cat needs to go to the veterinarian right away, and is not yet accustomed to the carrier, the following may help:

  • Start by putting the carrier in a small room with few hiding places. Bring the cat into the room and close the door. Move slowly and calmly. Do not chase the cat to get it into the carrier. Encourage the cat with treats or toys to walk into the carrier.

  • If your cat will not walk into the carrier, and your carrier has an opening on the top, gently cradle your cat and lower it into the carrier. Another option is to remove the top half of your carrier while getting the cat to go into the bottom half, and then calmly replace the top as pictured above.

  • Use familiar bedding inside the carrier. Consider use of synthetic feline facial pheromone (Feliway®) analog spray in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transport to help calm the cat.

Coming Home – Keeping the Peace in a Multi-cat Household

Cats are very sensitive to smells, and unfamiliar smells can result in one cat no longer recognising another. Aggressive behaviour can occur when one cat senses another as a stranger. These suggestions can help avoid problems between cats following a veterinary visit:

  • Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all of your cats react.

  • If all cats appear calm and peaceful, let the returning cat out of the carrier.

  • If you sense tension between the cats, or if previous home-comings have resulted in conflict, keep the cat in the carrier and take it to a separate room to avoid potential injury from an upset cat. Provide food, water and litter box for a minimum of 24 hours while it regains the more familiar smell of home.

  • If there is still stress after this time, contact your veterinarian for more advice on slower introduction or medication to help the process.

  • A synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway®) can help provide the sense of familiarity.

For future visits:

  • Use familiar bedding or clothing with your scent, as it retains the smell of home and helps with reintroduction.

  • Use a synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway®).

  • Bring both cats to the veterinary practice together. This can prevent future conflict as both cats will carry the scent of the clinic.

 Keep posted next newsletter for how to choose a good cat carrier. 

What people have to say...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Friendly & knowledgeable staff, always happy to see me & my dog Kye. She loves it here I have to literally carry her out! Thanks guys.

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    We love East Fremantle Veterinary Clinic. They have been wonderful when treating Dougall.

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    The Vets and Staff are fabulous they treat my cats as if they are their own. Had a checkup on my old cat on a condition treatment started for on last Friday ...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    As a family we got our first pup and felt a little lost and overwhelmed as to which vet to join and honestly joining east Fremantle was just the best decisio...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    I always am greeted with a warm happy friendly smile from the girls. Cartier is happy and not worried when she has to come along to the vets, which is a good...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    We are very happy with the service that we receive from the May St Vet Clinic, our cats are like children to us and knowing that your staff care as much abou...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Always Great and friendly services :) love the people there. Also fantastic puppy school program :) koda absolutely loves it and gets excited every time I sa...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    We have been taking our dogs and cats to EFVC and have had nothing but the very best treatment, support, advice and care for us and our pets. Dr Liam always ...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    I don't believe we've ever had a GP that takes as good care of us the way that East Freo Vet does of Bento. In particular, Dr Milad. He is at...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    We visited the clinic on Saturday September 10 and saw Dr Liam Brown, who was very attentive and knowledgable and treated our dog's skin condition thorou...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Can't recommend these guys enough. The nurses are always friendly and helpful when I ring up asking for advice. The vets take the time with you in consul...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    I can't say thank you enough to such a wonderful team. Our beloved Fidget (chocolate sproodle) is treated like family at...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    This is by far the best vets in the area very professional and caring everything you want when your taking your one who is scared already, can't say enou...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Both my dog and my cat have been under their wonderful care, I absolutely treasure these people..So kind,so helpful and great at their jobs!

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    I've been taking my fur babies to the team, since day one! Couldn't ask for a more friendly, warm, genuine, caring team. Thank you for all of your su...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    The team at May street always take the utmost care of our fur baby. I have nothing but good things to say about their professionalism, compassion and friendl...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Dr Liam and staff are fantastic. Always friendly and helpful and Molly, Wallace and Gromit are always welcomed with lots of pats and cuddles. They also take ...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Liam is the most amazing vet. I highly recommend this wonderful practice with the most caring and practical service.

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    I love coming to this very friendly and warm place. All the staff are wonderful!

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    There must be about 20 clinics closer in location to where I live; but this clinic has it all! A small team where people talk to each other and everyone actu...

  • Vet Clinic Testimonial

    Thank you so much for looking after George - he loves all the staff at your clinic!