You know you need to get your cat to the veterinarian regularly for cat vaccinations and routine check-ups, but doing so can be incredibly stressful for you and your cat. Sometimes just wrangling your cat into their travel carrier can be stressful enough, before you even get to the actual vet office visit. Luckily, there are things you can do to make vet visits much less stressful for your cat. Here are four ideas:
Get Them to Love Their Carrier
If you only bring out the cat carrier on vet day, it will probably have negative associations for your cat. Instead, you should leave the carrier out all the time. Make sure there is a comfortable blanket inside, and from time to time leave a couple of your cat's favorite treats inside too. Soon, they will consider their carrier a safe, cozy place they can rest and feel secure. This will make it much easier to get your cat to contentedly travel to the vet (or anywhere) in their carrier.
Make Traveling with Your Cat a Habit
Once your cat is more comfortable with their carrier, start taking them out of the house on small trips. Bring them with you to run errands or just get some fresh air. Give them lots of praise while you are out and about with them in their carrier, and reward them with a treat when you get home. This way, when vet time comes around they will already be relaxed about going places in their carrier and riding in the car, which will eliminate a lot of the stress from the vet visit.
Get Them Used to Being Touched
If you routinely pet and massage your cat, they will get accustomed to being physically handled and will therefore be less anxious about the vet touching them. Plus, by regularly touching your cat you will be more likely to notice something like a lump or cut that may need to be examined by your vet.
Create a Calm Mood on Vet Day
The calmer you are on the day when you take your cat to the vet, the calmer your cat will be. Cats are sensitive creatures and pick up on your anxiety. Make a point of setting a calm mood on vet day. Play relaxing music, do some deep breathing exercises if you feel anxious, and speak to your cat in a soothing voice.
Bringing your cat to the vet may never be fun, but it doesn't have to be super stressful either. By following these four tips, your next vet visit should be much easier for both you and your cat.