Cats are the most popular pets, but you sure wouldn’t know it by looking around the veterinarian’s waiting room. A recent Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study revealed a third of pet cats did not see a veterinarian in the preceding year at all. The biggest reason cats
are shortchanged when it comes to their health is that people don’t like catching them, putting them in carriers, and dealing with the difficult behavior of fearful cats. Cats territorial instincts and lack of socialization causes them to be become stressed in most situations
where they are handled by unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar setting. When cats become stressed, their natural coping mechanism is to hide or retreat. They will exhibit aggressive behavior as a last resort. So what can be done?
Some Clinics Are Becoming More Cat Friendly
The lack of preventive care for cats means making these pets happier has become a high priority for many veterinarians. Veterinary behaviorists have been helping veterinarians design facilities and protocols to make cat visits less stressful for all, including pet owners,
and hospital staff. “When I’m practicing, I wear so much of the synthetic cat pheromone called Feliway (a version of feline facial pheromones, which relax cats) that it’s more like aftershave to me.” says DR. MARTY BECKER DVM. Some clinics now are employing the Fear Free approach, there are classes and certifications that pet owners and Veterinary professionals can get to help their pets stay Fear Free traveling to , during, and after Vet visits. Visit fearfree.com to find out more.
What You Can Do
As veterinarians work to make their practices fear free and feline friendly, there’s a lot you can do to help your cat relax when it’s time to see the doctor. The American Academy of Feline Practitioners offers new guidelines. Here are the main points.
1. Get your cat used to being handled. Be patient and build up your cat’s tolerance for handling. Make sessions short and reward your cat with treats or the kind of petting she enjoys, such as under the chin.
2. Choose a cat-friendly carrier. Find a carrier that opens from the front and top or that opens from the front and unclips easily to allow the entire top to come off so the cat can remain on her bedding in the bottom part.
3. Make your cat’s carrier part of the furniture. If the only time your cat sees a carrier is when he’s headed to the vet, he can’t relax inside. Leave the carrier out and place soft bedding inside. If your cat likes treats, give them to him inside the carrier. Spray Feliway liberally in the carrier. It’s kumbaya in a can.
4. Locate your cat the day before a veterinary visit and don’t let him out to disappear. Let the vet’s office know in advance that your cat is uncomfortable with veterinary visits so they can prepare.
5. If your cat has freaked out at the veterinary office before, ask your veterinarian for medication to calm your cat’s anxiety. There are a variety of products that may calm your cat prior to the appointment, some of these include prescription medication and calming
supplements that include chamomile, CBD extract, and melatonin. Always research thoroughly or ask your Veterinarian before giving your pet anything. If your cat becomes car sick, discuss a medication for that as well.
6. Make sure the carrier is belted safely into your car to minimize movement, and put a towel over the carrier to block the view.
7. Try to remain calm and positive. Your anxiety will make your cat’s worse.
Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged, you and your cat will get through this stressful time, and you will definitely figure out the things that work best for your cat before, during and after the vet visits. Just be patient with yourself and your cat and it will all come together
in the end! You got this, I believe in you!