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5 Tips to Stop Your Cat Fearing the Vet

Having trouble taking your cat to the vet?
For cat owners, tricking your cat into a walk to the vets is not quite the simple task it as it is for some dog owners. Hoobynoo - home of amazing personalised cat tags - have come up with 5 tips on how to make your next trip to the vet go a little smoother...

In the case of my own cat, Harry, she knows that as soon as the cat carrier comes out it means a trip to the V.E.T. and she will not be having that. As she gets older her trips to the vet have become more frequent and the need to get her in and out of the carrier more pressing. I therefore felt like I needed to do some research into how I could convince the old girl to go along to the vets a little more willingly. 

1). Take the pet carrier out a few days before your appointment. 

My family have found leaving her carrier out in the hallway for up to two weeks before her appointment date to be most handy as she will go awol for hours when she sees it, almost suspecting that if she is out of the house during the hours that the sun is up she will miss her appointment slot...and she's right. 

By taking the carrier out a lot earlier than she expects, it gives her time to become accustomed to it. Eventually she lets her guard down and 'forgets' it's there and we can get her into her carrier somewhat easier than before. (Well anything beats trying to gently wrestle a poor cat into a carrier who is very unwilling to go!).


2). Coax the cat toward the carrier with treats and sprays. 

I have heard of this technique but have yet to try using a Synthetic Feline Pheromone based spray to help encourage my cat into her carrier. The spray is meant to help de-stress the cat and should be lightly sprayed inside the carrier case roughly 30 minutes (or whatever the product suggests) before your trip to the vet. 

Another way to decrease anxiety in your feline friend is to lay out treats and nibbles near or around your carrier. I have done this tip with my cat by hiding a few 'Dreamies' at the back of Harry's case. It used to work well and as she would enquire as to where the treats were hiding we could pop the door back on the case and no problem, we are off to the vets! However as she has gotten older her sense of smell is less powerful: that or she has remembered the trick!

3). Line the carrier with homely reminders. 

Think about it, how would you feel being shoved in a box suddenly after wandering about in a mansion of a building only moments earlier. At least make the box more welcoming with a padded sponge floor or blanket to lie on and maybe a toy or two to keep them company. You may also want to consider a blanket to cover the top of the basket when you are at the vet, just incase you feel your cat wouldn't appreciate seeing all the waiting patients. 

4). Test run the experience  

For a cat, leaving the house in a small box to go into a bigger metal box doesn't quite have the excitement that a dog would experience. For a dog a trip in the car could mean multiple things - most being happy moments like park strolls, beach walks and maybe even a trip to their friends. But a cat doesn't - usually - go for walks or experience trips in the car just for the fun of it. This can be a very scary thing for them. Secure them in the footwell or on the seat (seat-belted in) and place them on top of a blanket to help pad them incase of accidents. 

Their plea for help in the back can cause distress and distractions for the driver too. It is worth doing a couple of test runs so that your cat knows that this is just another part of home life, be it a drive around the block or a drive to the vets without actually going in. Remember to always treat them after this experience so that they can associate the car ride with something positive.

5). A little help from the vet beforehand 

If taking your cat to the vet is too distressing for your cat and they are doing themselves physical harm from the stress such as vomiting, hair pulling, excessive pooping or near starvation, it is worth having a consultation with your vet before your visit - without the cat. They may suggest giving you a mild sedative you could give them before taking them to the vet or they may arrange a home visit.

Never compromise your Cat's health because they don't like the vet: there is always a way to get them checked over to make sure they are fit and healthy. 

Top Tips at the Vets:

If you are worried that your cat will become too distressed because of other non feline pets in the waiting room, place your carrier above floor level either on a chair or counter top. Cover the carrier to minimise sound for your cat and reduce prying eyes from worrying them. Talk quietly and reassuringly to them to help provide comfort. 

to help your appointment go as quickly and as smoothly as possible: 

- make note of your cat's behavior beforehand, ie if they have lost their appetite or have been acting different to usual. 

- have a list of questions to ask the vet if anything has been bothering you.

- remain calm, your cat will look to you for signs of reassurance. 

- pay attention don't be distracted by looking at your phone or running around after small children. 

- book in your next appointment. 


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