If your cat despises going to the vet, you’re not alone. According to some surveys, up to 52% of cat owners forgo regular veterinary visits, even if it is to their cat’s detriment in the long run. What is the reason for this? Most cat owners indicated they avoided going to the doctor because they felt their cat was healthy, but many stated their cat’s dislike of the vet’s office kept them away.
Removing obstacles to vet appointments begins at home. America’s cats are in dire need of medical attention. According to Bayer Health Treatment feline health research findings, 52 percent of America’s 74 million cats do not receive regular veterinary care. During the first year after adoption, 83 percent of cats are examined by a veterinarian, but only about half of them return. These figures are concerning, especially given that cats are specialists at concealing any signs of sickness. By the time a cat exhibits symptoms, the condition may have progressed to the point that therapy is ineffective and expensive.
Going to the vet may be an experience for both the cat and the guardian, and the stress begins even before the cat arrives at the veterinary clinic. This is one of the primary reasons why many cats do not receive the veterinary treatment they require. Even the prospect of a vet visit can cause worry in cat owners, and cats, being the sensitive creatures they are, can pick up. Another difficulty is getting the cat inside the carrier.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR CAT HATES VISITING THE VET?
Travel anxiety affects a large number of cats. Many cats’ only time outside the house is on their journey to the veterinarian; the learned dread of an upcoming medical exam can add to an already stressful scenario. Cats who despise the vet may hiss, scratch, try to flee, crouch, or vocalize. These anxiety-related behaviors can be distressing for your cat – and you! – and make it difficult for the veterinarian to assess him properly. What options do you have? Here are some ideas if your cat despises going to the vet.
1. Consider using a home veterinary service
Any reputable home vet service may come in handy. When a licensed veterinarian examines, tests, and even vaccinates your cat at home, he avoids the unpleasant car ride and anxiety-inducing waiting room. You may rest easy knowing that your cat is professionally evaluated while remaining in the comfort of his or her own home.
2. Plan for video follow-ups.
Some competent veterinarians offer video or voice chat follow-up visits in addition to in-home pet care. These are especially useful in instances where a cat’s progress needs to be watched by a veterinarian, such as after surgery or if you’re concerned about a persistent behavioral issue like pica.
3. Make a connection with a veterinarian.
Establishing a relationship with a particular veterinarian early on is one of the most delicate things you can do to lessen your anxiety about going to the vet. When your cat sees the same face year after year, he’ll feel more at ease getting inspected by a veterinarian. The most vital thing is to have your cat examined by a veterinarian regularly. Even if medical visits are stressful, they are ultimately in your cat’s best interest. For the rest of your pet’s life, schedule at least one well visit per year.
Top suggestions for easing the stress of taking your cat to the vet
1. Use Carrier
It is critical to ensure that cats are accustomed to entering their carrier and that the carrier is clean and comfortable. If at all feasible, we recommend leaving the carrier out at all times so that cats regard it as a valued resting spot. This will make transportation easier.
Including a comfortable, clean blanket or towel in the carrier adds to the enjoyment of the journey. It could also be beneficial to put some catnip or tasty goodies inside.
2. The Automobile Ride
The carrier should be placed on the floor behind the passenger seat, as this will offer the cat the most security and the least amount of visual stimulation. To make the cat feel more hidden, cover the entire carrier with a thick towel.
3. The Lobby
To avoid any contact with other patients, most veterinary institutions aim to get feline patients into a cat-only exam room as soon as possible. It is not suggested that the carrier be placed on the ground for any reason. Cats prefer to be up high and feel more secure when they are not on the ground. Instead of being yanked out of the carrier, the cat should come out on its own. If the lid can be removed, it will make it easier to transfer the cat, but the examination can also be done with the lid off in the carrier.
4. The Examination
It’s preferable to let cats out of their carriers on their own timetable. Some simple tasks can even be completed inside their carrier. It’s best if there’s as little handling as possible. Most kitty do not need to be “scruffed” (grabbed by the loose skin around their neck). A large clean towel can be used to cover and manipulate the cat if necessary. We understand that cats are not “nasty” but are simply reacting to their anxiety. The goal is to alleviate these worries and make the visit as pleasant and fearless as possible.
In circumstances when a cat is overly agitated and difficult to handle, ask your family veterinarian whether an oral sedative can be administered at home a few hours before the appointment to assist calm the cat and allow for a more thorough examination.