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Reducing Stress of Visits to the Vet: Feline Edition

Regular wellness check-ups are important to keeping our furry friends healthier longer, but it’s well known that visiting the vet can be a stressful event. While dogs can be frightened by a visit to the vet’s office, without a doubt, if there was an award for “Most Stressful Performance by a Companion Animal”, cats would win it every time.

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Too often, taking a cat to the vet requires a world class wrestling match to just get them into the carrier (hopefully, without creating the need for a blood transfusion for the owner). Once you’ve corralled your creature, it’s time to get in the car. While we understand that a Valium or two might sound great right about now, it’s important for you to keep your wits about you as it’s most likely going to get worse.

Cats like predictable surroundings, so a ride in the car can produce some wildly unpredictable behavior punctuated by yowling, hissing and scratching anything that gets too close to its carrier. Next comes the wait inside the reception area, where your feline friend may decide to cower in the corner of the carrier, or pace wildly, all while continuing to yowl and hiss about what a terribly abusive owner you are to bring them to such a place. Pretend it doesn’t matter. Virtually everyone in the waiting area is going through the same thing, so they’ll understand.

While taking trips to the vet’s office will most likely never be completely stress free, there are many things you can do to help make these trips to the vet easier for everyone.

• Get your cat used to their carrier by incorporating it into their daily life – don’t save it solely for trips to the vet or they’ll have a bad association.

• Give your cats a regular head to toe examination at home – it helps them get used to being handled, and gives you a chance to catch changes early.

• Take your cat along on short car rides that DON’T end at the vet’s office – getting them used to being in the car can make a world of difference in their behavior.

• Make sure your cat can stand, sit, and turn around comfortably inside their carrier – you wouldn’t want to feel like you’re being restrained, would you?

• Include a favorite blanket or towel from home inside their carrier – the familiar smell of home can help calm your pet.

• Leave your cat inside its carrier while in the waiting room – trust us on this one.

• Animals can pick up on your moods and anxiety so remain calm, and speak to your cat in soothing tones.

So when is the last time your cat got a health check up? If the answer isn’t within the last six months, then it’s time to give us a call. We promise your pet will be treated like our own.

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