The cat carrier
Always transport your cat in a carrier, or other safe container. Since cats can become fearful and aggressive when they are out of their familiar environment, we recommend leaving your cat in its carrier while you are in the office. Train your cat to view the carrier as a safe haven. Keep the carrier out in the home; put treats, favorite toys and blankets inside to entice the cat into the carrier. Carriers with both top and front openings are recommended. Top-loading carriers allow for easier access. Your cat can even be examined while remaining in the bottom half of the carrier. Bring your cat’s favorite treats, toys and blankets
If your cat has had previously negative experiences at a veterinary hospital, the veterinarian may prescribe a short duration anti-anxiety medication that should be given approximately one hour prior to the visit
The car ride
Take your cat for regular rides in the carrier, starting with very short ones, to places other than the Veterinary Hospital. Because cats may get carsick, do not feed your cat for at least an hour prior to travel.
At the hospital
Reward desired behaviors, even small ones, with treats, verbal praise and other things your cat likes. Remain calm and speak in a soft voice to help your cat remain calm. If a situation is upsetting for you, your cat may do better if you leave the room.
Always allow a trained Veterinary Team Member to handle your cat. Even the sweetest and most laid-back cat can become aroused and fearful in a strange environment. Anxiety may cause your cat to act out of character and even physically harm you, the owner.
Discuss, with our staff members, techniques that might make future visits more relaxing for you and your cat. Bring a cat cozy, or towel with your cat’s scent on it for the exam table. Be prepared to allow your Veterinarian to administer feline-safe sedation or analgesia if it is recommended.
Consider your cat’s point of view
I’m happily dreaming in a patch of sunshine. You come up to me and pet me and, before I know it, you’ve shoved me into a small, dark box! We go for a car ride, which is like being on a carnival ride for me and is very upsetting! We arrive at a strange place, full of strange smells and sounds … by now, I may have retreated to the back of my carrier.
A strange person invades my “sanctuary”, pulls me out, plops me on a metal table and starts poking and prodding me … which I don’t like … at all!! All of this adds up to making me so frightened and anxious, that I might vomit, drool, urinate or defecate. I might even try to scratch or bite in order to defend myself … and I might even lash out at you in my fear!
When you finally take me home, I smell like a strange place and the other cats in our house hiss at me and avoid me because I smell different… and, worst of all? My sunny spot has been taken over by one of the other cats!
What a day!