Today, August 22 is Take Your Cat to the Vet day. We think to take our dogs in for their yearly check ups, but many people do not think to take their cat to the vet past their one year old mark, until they show symptoms of illness or pain.
Cats are good at hiding their pain from us, so it can be detrimental to deprive them from seeing a veterinarian not often enough.
One of the main reasons we might be hesitant to take them to the vet is the struggle that we have with getting them into a carrier and comfortable with going.
This usually begins with getting your cat into the carrier that you have for them. Here are some steps to getting them comfortable with going in the carrier:
- Cats can sense when we are getting overwhelmed, angry and stressed. Try not to get frustrated when getting them into the carrier as this can in turn stress them out and cause more issue to the situation.
- Reward their positive behavior. Negative reinforcement will not get you where you want to be with your cat. Try using soothing words and treats to coax them into their carrier and reward them for doing what you ask of them.
- Cats can be sensitive creatures, give them ample time to warm up and adjust to the idea of the vet being a comfortable environment.
Comfort with Carrier
- Put the carrier somewhere where they are often interacting with it, in their own environment. This will help them to adjust to having it around, and not only taking it out right when you have to use it.
- Put balnkets or towels inside the carrier with familar scents that they are accustomed to.
- Use treats, toys, catnip and Feliway (which has pleasant cat pheromones) to encourage them to enter the carrier. Feliway is specifically designed to calm cats down, we use these diffusers in our shelter.
Getting your cat in Carrier
- Never chase your cat into the carrier. Bring it into a smaller space to try and coax them in.
- Use treats and toys as mentioned above to get them to walk in.
- If there is an opening that allows for it, gently lift and set them in the carrier.
- Make sure that your cat has access to familiar items when you get home, and is close to food water and the litter box.
- Feliway diffusers can also be helpful to keep a calm environment when they return to their home.
By following these steps, and introducing your cat to their carrier as early on in their life as possible, you can make vet trips easier on both of you. Remember it is very important to take your cat to regular checkups, so learning to make them comfortable with going can make these trips a much smoother process. If you are looking for a new feline friend to take home, check out our Reno and Carson City adoption pages.