How To Help Your Cat Overcome The Fear Of Going To The Vet
Anyone who has had owned a cat has had the dubious “pleasure” of taking a cat for a vet visit. You know that it’s no easy feat. It starts with a wrestling match which you do not win. After 15 minutes you finally get your cat into a carrier. If you manage to survive with only a few scratches, consider yourself lucky. Then comes the dreaded drive where he will demonstrate his well-developed hissing and howling talents. Sometimes, he will just cower and look at you meowling in a sad voice. Once you’ve arrived and found parking, it’s time to wait. And wait. And wait.
You may be one of the precious few humans whose cat is as relaxed at the vet’s as they are at home. If so, read no further. If not, there are things you can do to help your pet relax during trips to the vet and get the most out of his medical exam. Feline healthcare may never be a walk in the park, but you can make it more manageable with our five tips for making vet visits less stressful for your cat.
Why is my cat scared?
Pets aren’t born despising specific individuals or spots. Normally two things need to happen before your pet decides that a visit to a veterinary an awful place. The first is unfamiliarity and the second is obnoxious encounters.
Like individuals, pets stick to the well-known and reject the obscure. A bizarre place with unusual clamors and smells can make pets anxious and defensive. Add to that an unpalatable ordeal and you will have a despondent pet.
A pet going by the groomer interestingly doesn’t understand that the scissors are just there to expel hair, not body parts. If the only experience a puppy or kitten gets at the center is a needle in the back, obviously the pet will not cherish visit a vet.
At home check ups
One of the best things you can do for your cat is give him regular head-to-tail check-ups at home. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, simply getting him used to being handled will help enormously at the vet. What’s more, those home check-ups mean you’re more likely to notice a problem with your cat should one arise.
A visit to the vet can be fun
Going to the vet is inevitably going to create some stress and anxiety in your cat. You can reduce this by offering plenty of love and affection before the trip. It may help calm you too; studies suggest that petting and playing with pets can reduce stress levels in humans. This is a great ritual for the hour before your vet visit. You and your pet are both going to need to be as chill as possible before getting into the car, which felines would probably call the “purring tank of terror,” if they were actually able to speak.
Take a drive
Much of what sets cats on edge during vet visits is the journey, not the destination. As a general rule, cats hate cars. This is because cats like things to be familiar and predictable, and cars are not a typical part of any cat’s daily life. Cats’ aversion to cars is reinforced by the fact that, for many, the only time they go inside a vehicle is on the dreaded vet visit. This creates a strong association between two potentially negative events, which may make each seem worse than it actually is.
Veterinarians are no different than other healthcare providers when it comes to bedside manner. A few minutes of casual interaction puts patients at ease, especially the fearful feline ones. Most vets will do this anyway. If yours does not, ask him or her to take a few minutes to break the ice with your cat before diving into the exam. And remember, a friendly rapport between you and the vet can go a long way toward putting your pet at ease.
No cat wants to spend the night away from home, especially not for veterinary care. Unfortunately, there are many reasons a cat might need to spend a night at the vet, including routine procedures such as spaying/neutering or to receive treatment for an illness or injury. This can be very stressful for cats, but there are things you can do to help your pet cope get through it.
When a cat needs to spend a night at the clinic, it helps to have an object from home. Keep in mind that it’s the scent of something familiar that’s most important, not what the cat will actually do with the object. For this reason, a blanket or piece of clothing with your scent on it is better than a toy. Most animals won’t feel like playing in a hospital setting.