Cat Carrier 101: Stress-Free Vet Visits are Paw-sible!

I saw an alarming statistic the other day. Did you know that pet owners tend to take cats to the vet significantly less than they do their dogs? I almost spit out my catnip. The simple fact is, felines need regular wellness exams just as much as canines.

One thing that might be contributing to this lopsided stat is cats’ legendary dread of vet visits. I can speak to this subject because I, too, used to hate going to the doctor. Over time and thanks to some effort on the part of my human, I was able to overcome my fear.

Do you have a skittish kitty? Here’s my main advice for making trips to the vet easy peasy: cozy up that carrier!

The power of negative association is very real, and that’s why so many cats – me included, I’m afraid –
tend to avoid their carriers like the plague. They know that every time they get in theirs, it’s to go somewhere they don’t want to go!

How do you begin making your cat’s carrier a place they enjoy? First, take the top off like my pet parent did and put their favorite bed inside. Maybe even consider using one of your sweatshirts as bedding. I don’t know about your cat companion, but I love the smell of my human. It brings me instant comfort. You might also try spritzing a cat-friendly pheromone spray inside the carrier 30 minutes before departure. FeliwayTM or even a drop or two of lavender essential oil can be calming.

This is important – Do NOT chase your cat when trying to get him or her in the carrier. Try to encourage the cat to go in on their own with treats – yummies are always a good idea – or consider a top-loading carrier.

Once you’ve succeeded in getting your cat into the car, put a light blanket or towel over the carrier, making sure to allow for ventilation. The fewer unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells your cat is exposed to, the better. Your best furry friend should remain in the carrier in the vet’s waiting room as well.

During the examination, feel free to talk to your cat in a low, soothing voice. We love just knowing you’re there. It makes us feel safe and well looked after.

That’s about it fur now. If it’s been over a year since your cat has gone to the doctor, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Call the good folks at Tri-County at (865) 435-1374 today!