Taking your cat to the veterinary surgery can be a daunting task but our top tips can be introduced to minimise stress and make the experience more tolerable for both you and your cat.
The cat carrier
- Never travel with the cat loose in the car! There are a number of cat carriers available and it can be difficult to know which type is best. Keep in mind that the cat carrier should be robust, easy to clean and not so large that the cat can fall about in it when moved. Top opening carriers can make getting the cat in and out easier than with a front opening carrier.
- Keep the carrier out at home as ‘part of the furniture’ so that the sudden appearance of the carrier does not become a signal for a stressful journey. This also means that the carrier is always to hand should there be an emergency.
- Have a familiar smell within the carrier to reassure the cat. Clothing from the cat’s favorite person can be placed in the carrier and/or a soft cloth can be gently wiped around the cats face to pick up his own sent and the cloth placed into the carrier.
- Try spraying a synthetic feline pheromone such as a calming Spray (available at The Vet), used to promote the feeling of calm and wellbeing, into the carrier at least half an hour before travel.
- With some cats it can be difficult to successfully place the cat in the carrier. It can be helpful to wrap the cat up in a thick towel (preferably one that smells familiar) and pop the cat and the towel into the basket quickly but smoothly. Being wrapped in the towel avoids struggles and the cats developing the well known ‘starfish’ shape that will simply not fit into the opening of the carrier!
Travelling to the veterinary surgery
- Keep the carrier covered with a blanket or large towel during the journey as this will help to keep him/her calm.
- Secure the carrier in the foot well behind the front seat or strap the carrier in using the seat belt. Ensure that the carrier remains as level as possible.
- Drive carefully so the cat is not thrown around in the carrier and refrain from playing loud music. Stay calm yourself – cats can pick up on tension from their owners and talk quietly and reassuringly to the cat throughout the journey.
- Some cats vomit or soil the carrier during the journey so it can be a good idea to take some spare bedding for the return journey if required.
Arriving at the veterinary surgery
- When you arrive at the veterinary clinic avoid rushing and bumping the carrier against your legs as you transport your cat.
- Keep the carrier covered.
- Report to reception and take a seat in the cat waiting area where your feline friend will benefit from their own space away from any dogs and the calming pheromones released in the atmosphere to relax them.
- Once the vet is available to see your cat, you will be called into the cat friendly consultation room.
If your cat should need to stay overnight we provide a dedicated cat-friendly ward so that they will have their own space away from any dogs.
The journey home can also be stressful and so the same care should be taken.