We understand very well that by the time you’ve arrived at the vet’s with your cat it’s the end of a long journey, even if it’s only down the road! Owners often report this is stressful for both their cat and them. Here’s a few tips to try and make things a bit easier:
The cat basket
Ideally, choose a cat basket that has a top loading option. The top loading doors are bigger than ones at the front and this makes placing your cat in the basket much easier. It also means that don’t have to be dragged out of a small door either, cats are very good at placing a paw at each corner and putting the brakes on!
Cats are clever creatures. Veterinary teams often hear reports “my cat did a runner as soon as I brought the basket in”. If you have a visit scheduled for the veterinary centre, it’s best to plan a few days ahead. Bring the basket into your house, place in a quiet corner leaving the door open with bedding inside. You could also place food in the basket. He/she will have had a few days to familiarise themselves to presence of the basket. There’s every chance they will have started to sleep in there too. This way a cat is less likely to do a ‘Usain Bolt’ when you need to leave for the veterinary appointment!
It’s worth considering Feliway Classic, a friendly feline pheromone clinically proven to reduces stress applied by a quick spray inside the cage. It’s stocked by veterinary centres and there’s a Feliway travel pack available with basket cover too. Always ensure the basket has bedding or newspaper on the bottom of the basket before leaving for the vets, cats don’t appreciate slipping around. It will also soak up an ‘accident’ should this occur during transit and be easily replaced at the vets. Gently pick up your cat and lower in the top loading door. Cats often want to hide when feeling insecure, so, you can cover the basket in a towel or blanket to help your cat feel more at ease by being enclosed. Secure the basket in your car, this will reduce the amount of sliding around your cat does especially if you need to stop quickly.
Arriving at the vets
The veterinary team will greet you both on arrival. Place your cat in the basket on a level surface. Here, at Riverside it’s on top of our reception desk, this way should a dog be in the waiting room, your cat will be out of reach. Cats often feel more comfortable if they’re higher in taxing situations. Do not take your cat out of their basket until in the consultation room with the Vet or Nurse. Waiting rooms can be busy places with pets and people coming and going through open doors. Cats can be stressed by other cats too, so, this is another time when the towel or blanket covering your basket comes in handy. Veterinary staff understand that “accidents” do happen and are always on hand to help out, you may wish to take spare bedding.
In the consultation
Place your basket on the table and give your cat a moment to settle. The veterinary team will open the top loading door (if your basket has one) or alternatively give your cat a moment to walk out. If need be most plastic boxes come apart and the top can be unclipped and lifted off. The consultation rooms at Riverside all have windows in them, and we really believe that this helps cats feel more at ease as this is liken to a home environment and gives cats’ a focus. We happily allow cats to walk around the consultation rooms too when not being examined, as again this is what they do at home.
These are just a few tips that we hope will help you when taking your cat to the vets or cattery. It’s easier said than done but if you’re at ease, often your cat is too! Remember your veterinary team are there to help and often have lots of tips and advice.