Has it been a while since your feline friend visited the veterinarian? While we realize that a visit to the vet is not your cat’s favorite thing to do, regular veterinary care is essential for lifelong good health. Unfortunately, our feline friends are masters at hiding illness and often do not display signs until a health condition is advanced. By then, little can be done to help.
A veterinary visit does not have to turn into a three-ring circus, complete with a vanishing cat act. Use these tips to help make your cat’s trip to our practice a little easier, and safeguard your furry friend’s health.
#1: Condition your cat to their carrier
Do you only bring the cat carrier out for trips to the veterinarian, then wonder why you have such a hard time getting your cat to go in? Teach your cat that their carrier is a safe haven instead of a feared torture device. Place your cat’s carrier in a quiet corner, and put blankets, toys, and treats inside. Let your cat go in and out, and replenish the treats often. Once your cat is comfortable, close the door for a few seconds while they are inside, then release them. Increase the duration, then add a trip around the house, supporting the carrier from the bottom to avoid jostling your cat.
#2: Hold off on feeding your cat
Food is the most powerful motivator we have to entice your cat to interact with our veterinary team. Skip your cat’s breakfast the morning of their appointment, so they arrive hungry and are more likely to be interested in treats. If your cat has a favorite high-value treat, such as tuna or spray cheese, bring some along, or let us know so that we can prepare for a successful visit.
#3: Practice handling your cat at home
Cats are naturally suspicious and balk at much of the handling involved with a routine veterinary exam. However, if you make handling a game, with lots of treats as rewards, you can acclimate your cat to these activities. Start by touching your cat’s foot, then giving them a treat. Work up to picking up their foot, then add other maneuvers, such as touching their ears, lifting their tail, or opening their mouth.