It's no secret that cats typically don't like going to the vet; and who can blame them? For most cats, a trip to the vet entails being crammed into a small carrier, having to endure a car ride, and then being poked and prodded by a stranger. If your cat experiences high levels of stress over going to the vet, there are some steps you can take to possibly reduce its stress levels and make it a more enjoyable experience for all involved.
Teach Your Cat to Love Its Carrier
Most cats are only put into their carriers when they're being taken to the vet, so they tend to develop a negative association with being put into their carriers. If constant meowing on the drive over to the vet has you frustrated, try conditioning your cat to associate its carrier with more positive things. For example, you could leave its carrier out in the open at your home, filling it with toys, treats, and catnip to make it an enjoyable haven.
Bring Snacks or Favorite Wet Food
Sometimes, all a cat needs is a little bit of a distraction when being handled at the vet. If your kitty tends to kick, hiss, or scratch when the vet tries to take its temperature or hold it down for a shot, consider bringing a bag of your cat's favorite treats or a can of wet food along. You can feed it to your cat during the examination, and chances are, it'll be too distracted to notice what's going on.
Ask Your Vet About Conditioning Appointments
Some vets these days offer a free service designed to help animals reduce their stress levels in the office. This service typically involves bringing your pet in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis; during that time, members of the animal hospital staff will spend time playing with your pet. If your vet offers this service, it can be a great way to help your cat develop a more positive association with being in the vet's office.
Schedule During Less Busy Times
Finally, if your cat seems to get anxiety in the waiting room of the vet's office, consider scheduling your appointments during non-peak times of day. This way, your cat doesn't have to be around as many barking dogs and other flustered pets. As a result, you can help to reduce your own cat's anxiety levels.
For more tips, contact a company like Howard County Animal Hospital.