Tails from Ralston Vet

August 16, 2016

Why does my cat hate the vet’s office?

archer sautter editHave you ever told your vet that your cat hates coming in? Do you struggle with getting them into the carrier to go to the vets? Many cat owners deal with this battle. You are not alone. Our furry feline friends are very smart and find ways to out trick us, so they can escape the visit. Have you ever thought about why your cats put up a fight? Have you ever thought how you or your vet’s office can help your cat become less stressed? We have some tips and solutions on getting your baby into the clinic and why they fear going to the vets.

Tell me. Have you ever considered what it looks like to a cat in a carrier? No. Ok, right now close your eyes. Imagine yourself happy and cozy lounging on your favorite spot on the couch in the sun. Then, all of a sudden, a small box appears and you are being plucked up and shoved into that box. The door is locked behind you. You’re lifted in the air knocking into every wall and door on the way out. Then, you are placed into a car and as you’re being driven somewhere, your body slams back and forth between the front and the back of the carrier. Once the car stops you slam once more forwards. You are then lifted back into the air and are being taken into a building with lots of smells you have never smelt before. There are dogs running up to sniff you and bark at you. You become afraid and territorial. No one is going to mess with you today. Finally, you are lifted back into the air knocking into a door and placed on a table. Your loved one opens your door and squeezes your body you through the carrier door backwards. For any person or animal this sounds like a very disturbing experience.

Cats are territorial and do best with the familiar and what they are comfortable with. Did you feel familiar or comfortable in a box, in a car and with odd smells and dogs in your face? Probably not. You wanted to be back on the spot on the couch.

Here are a few tips to help your fury feline companion comfortable with their carrier:

·         To help make your cat at ease with with the carrier, place the carrier in a room where your cat spends a lot of time in.

·         Leave the door open so they can become acquainted with the carrier.

·          You can use Feliway which is a synthetic pheromone that helps cats relax and not feel so threatened or scared. Utilizing a Feliway wipe or spray in the carrier allows the cat to know it is a safe and secure place. This can be done daily.cats in carrier

·         Adding toys or treats in the carrier once your cat has had made productive contact with the carrier will help reassure that this is a positive place. This can also entice engagement. Your cat may not become settled with the carrier instantly. It may take a few days or weeks. Don’t worry, every cat is different. Take the time with them.

·          Reward your baby with a treat once they are being comfortable with the carrier.

·         If you have tried these things and your cat is still unfamiliar with the carrier wipe or spray Feliway 30mins to an hour prior to leaving. Then, take the lid off of your carrier place your cat inside and give a reward. Finally place the lid back on and close the doors.

For more tips click here to watch Cats & Carriers: Friends not Foes.

Hanna and Lokie useSounds great right? Yes, but my cat still hates the vet visit. No worries. Cats associate smells, sounds and handling with bad experiences if they are unfamiliar. Cats can become very stressed with the unfamiliar. This means we all need to work together to help your cat become accustomed. Once you get a new kitten expose it. No different than wanting to socialize a dog. Touch your kitten’s ears, mouth, feet, tail and touch their belly. Get them familiar with handling. Once a cat becomes more familiar to touch, the physical exam given by your veterinarian will be easy on your baby, your vet and of course stress free for you. Here at Ralston Vet we are certified as a Cat Friendly Practice by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Any questions regarding what deems us as a Cat Friendly Practice, you can visit www.catvets.com. We take extra steps to help familiarize your cat to our clinic. We have two dedicated cat rooms. That means no dogs allowed. If your baby is feeling stressed upon entering our practice we may offer a tall sprayed with Feliway and or get you into one of our cat friendly rooms right away with a Feliway diffuser consistently running. In our rooms we have a scale for taking weights right there on the table to limit exposure of being carried around. How scary is a rectal thermometer? Scary for you even scarier for them. We take temperatures on sick cats only to limit stress. Our team members have been trained on fear free holding practices to best assist your baby.

Please call us at 402-331-6322 or click here for more information on helping your cat’s visit to our clinic a stress free visit and view all of the criteria our clinic completes to be honored as a Feline Friendly Practice. Additional information was provided by CEVA Animal Health.

Nicole Mathis

Ralston Vet

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