Relaxing at the Vet
Keep Your Cat Calm at the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian is one of the most stressful experiences for cat owners, and as a result, our feline friends often don’t receive the care they need. The Catalyst Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cat welfare, claims that felines only make half as many vet visits as canines.
If you have a kitten, you may skip right over these instructions. All of the same steps apply when dealing with an adult cat, however you’ll need to take things much more slowly:
- Introduce your cat to new people and places as soon as possible.
- Take your cat for walks using a harness and leash, rewarding it with goodies and playtime at each stop.
- Once or twice a week, bring your cat to the vet for a “practice visit”; he won’t get inspected, but he can enjoy some treats and become accustomed to the environment. (Here’s more on how to keep your feline friend from freaking out in the car.)
- Establish a pleasant association with the cat carrier by leaving it open and stocked with treats and warm blankets. Put your cat’s food and treats inside it on a regular basis. (Here’s more on how to keep your feline friend relaxed in transit.)
- Prepare your cat for the vet’s handling by handling her in a similar fashion. Get your cat acclimated to being scruffed, having her hindquarters touched, and lying on her back at home, even if only for a few seconds at first, so she doesn’t react negatively to these actions when you take her to the clinic.
- Veterinarians are just people, too, and they may or may not have a natural affinity towards felines. Not everyone like dogs or cats as pets. Find a veterinarian who will take the time to get to know your cat before rushing into any tests. In the event that you have access to a clinic that treats exclusively cats, you may want to give it a shot.
- Find out when the clinic is least busy if you need to bring your cat in for an appointment. It’s preferable to wait as little as possible.
- You might want to bring a yoga mat or towel to lay out on the exam room table. Stainless steel is favored by veterinarians because of its cleanliness, although it has the drawbacks of being cold and slippery. Offering the cat a handle could prove to be quite helpful.
- Writer of About.com’s Veterinary Medicine column Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby recommends stuffing a goodie bag full of cat food, catnip, and the feline’s favorite toys. If your cat likes to hide, you may want to bring a towel from home so she can rest her head there.
- Some veterinarians suggest simulating a routine exam at home by touching your cat in the same ways your doctor will. Dr. Karen Becker recommends getting your cat used to having basic health examinations at home, where he or she is most comfortable and relaxed: “When your cat is at home, relaxed, and happy, look in his ears; open his mouth – gently and only if you are sure of how to do it; and handle his paws – even introducing a clipper and tapping on a claw.” Ask if you need to bring a sample of your cat’s stool or urine when you make an appointment.
Get the Most Out of Your Cat’s Vet Visit
Just Be Ready
Please remember to bring your cat’s medical records with you if you have just relocated.
Please Don’t Embarrass Me
The vet takes care of your cat like he’s family. Crosby.
Put together a list
Jot down everything that has you worried about your cat, including its fur, nutrition, exercise routine, bathroom habits, etc. You’ll be able to express yourself more clearly.
Put it in writing
Get whatever your vet tells you down on paper. Inquire whether a booklet or handout with additional information is available. Make a note of your cat’s current medication and the dosage it requires. Feel free to ask questions or make comments about anything you’ve seen. Your cat’s veterinarian has your feline’s well-being as a top priority. It’s possible that crucial details will be overlooked if you don’t share your thoughts.
Inquire About Critical Care Insurance
Learn who to contact in case of an emergency outside of business hours. Know the location, contact information, and operating hours of the emergency facility if the animal hospital recommends it.
Types of Visits and Common Questions
Purrs and Visits from the New Kittens
Kitten parents often have numerous inquiries regarding their new pets, including those related to litter training, nutrition, obedience, behavior, spaying and neutering, and vaccinations. In short, your vet has seen it all before and knows the answers.
Note down any and all details you can recall about your cat’s health. Did your cat suddenly stop eating? Does it look like he’s about to throw up? To what extent is this occurring? Where did he get that vomit, anyway? Was there something he ate that he shouldn’t have? Is there any way to guess what it could have been? Has your cat ever been involved in a fight? Is he fresh out of the kennel? Have you lately started feeding your cat a different food? You may have just saved your cat’s life by providing your vet with some crucial background information that will help them solve the diagnostic mystery and treat your pet.
However, even mature cats should have a checkup. You should also inquire about seasonal problems, such as fleas and ticks, and the types of immunizations your cat should have. It’s also an excellent time to talk about any planned plans that might impact your pet, including trips or guests.
Vaccinations for Older Cats
Inquire about your aging cat’s activity tolerance, whether or whether a blood panel is essential to examine your cat’s blood and organ health, and how to spot signs of senility.
Thundershirt: The Secret Trick to Try before Your Cat’s Next Vet Visit
Thundershirt, a Petfinder partner, creates an anti-anxiety and fear-reduction garment for canines and, more recently, felines. The Thundershirt is meant to calm the wearer by applying a light pressure to the torso, which the wearer believes will have a sedative effect on the nervous system. Use it the way you would swaddle a newborn to help them relax.
Improve Your Vet Visits with a Thundershirt!
A Thundershirt may calm some cats’ fears of the vet and make it simpler for them to get into the carrier without resorting to hissing, screaming, snarling, or biting. Soren W., a veterinarian in the Durham, North Carolina area, was kind enough to provide a testimonial for Thundershirt on their website, saying, “Thundershirt is beneficial in terms of making the drive to the vet hospital and while at the clinic.”
This has been our experience using Thundershirt on cats. They quickly unwind after the traumatic experience that is a trip to the vet. As a pet owner, I’ve found that putting my cat in a Thundershirt before cutting his nails helps him relax. (Find out the additional five methods recommended by veterinarians for keeping your cat comfortable during visits.)
Our own Joan spoke about how the Thundershirt for dogs helped her pet overcome his fear of thunderstorms last year. When taking your pet to the vet, have you ever utilized a Thundershirt? Share your story with us and enlighten us!
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