One of the biggest reasons cats come to the vet less than dogs is the stress involved with transporting cats to the clinic. Bringing the cat to the vet typically involves the following steps:
- Act casual so as to avoid tipping your cat off that something is up
- Sidle up to the cat and slowly pet them to get in optimal grab position
- Fail to secure that cat and watching them dash off into another room
- Enlist someone to help you flush the cat from their hiding spot
- Shoo the cat from under furniture, only to watch them skirt pass the person in charge of catching them
- Get into an argument with your helper over whose fault it is that the cat eluded both of you
- Call the clinic and reschedule your appointment
- Pour yourself a drink and collapse on the sofa
- Pet your triumphant feline who hops into your lap for petting, knowing that they’ve won the day
Believe it or not, you can train your cat to go into their carrier willingly. The first step is to select the correct cat carrier. The best carriers are medium sized with a hinged door and a top that is easily removed for vet visits. To start,
- Leave your carrier out with the door open. The best places are up off the floor in a secure location on a chair, sofa or in quiet area where your family relaxes.
- Put a small blanket or pillow in the bottom, and toss a catnip toy or a few of their favorite treats inside.
- Let her explore the carrier at her leisure: no stress, no drama. For extra de-stressing power, spray a little Feliway “happy cat” pheromone, inside. If your cat has bad memories of the carrier, it may take a week or more for your cat to begin exploring the carrier. Be patient.
- Once she is comfortable, close the door for a few minutes, and then open it so she does not feel trapped. Over a period of several weeks close the door for longer periods of time, carry her around the room, around the house, always returning to the starting spot and opening the door. Some people even feed their cats in their carriers.
- Now it’s time to take her for short rides around the block and back to her starting point.
Following these tips should help make traveling with your cat a more relaxed and stress-free experience. This will make both of you happier and healthier in the long run.