A trip to the vet is no walk in the park for a cat.. perhaps that is because they don’t get taken for a walk in the park, or a ride in the car, or to your grandparents house, or on holiday…. You see where I’m going here.
Naturally, when you need to take your cat to the vet you start sneaking around.. trying to get the cat carrier down from the cupboard without them noticing, hoping that they’ll still be asleep and you can quickly pick them up and put them in without blood being drawn for your efforts.
What if it didn’t have to be like that? What if the cat carrier could be their safe haven?
Well… we think.. no scratch that, we KNOW it can be like that!
There are a few simply changes that you need to make, and it will make the WORLD of difference to your cat.. .and you … and us!
We have noticed that your cats are MUCH happier when they are able to be examined IN their carrier when they’re at the vet. With the exception of a couple of VERY confident cats, for the most part, cats feel safer in their carrier.
This means we need you to bring your cat to the vet in a carrier that allows us to examine your cat without taking them out of the carrier. We want to be able to remove the top of the carrier completely, leaving your cat and their comfy, smells-like-home towel/bed/pillow in the base of the carrier.
Take a look at your carrier, is it right for your cat? Research and experience has shown that cats are MUCH more comfortable in a hard carrier. One with a top that can lift off completely and with a door on the front that can be opened. If you were in a carrier… would you like something with a base in it that was stable and didn’t move every time you moved or something with a soft base that made you feel like you were slipping or falling when it was picked up?
You don’t have to break the bank to get a good carrier, ebay, the $2 shop next to Woolworths at the Links, pet stores… just to name a few.
Leave your carrier out! It may sound silly because at the moment your cat runs a mile when the carrier is out….BUT… if you leave the carrier out, with the lid off to start with, they will get used to it being around. It will become part of the furniture… something normal in the house and not to be feared.
Put a comfy towel/pillow/bed in the base of the carrier, make it inviting!
If your cat is food orientated, leave a treat or two in the carrier once or twice a day so they start to have positive associates with the carrier. Alternatively, if your cat is toy motivated, leave a favourite toy in the carrier for them to find.
Choose where you keep the carrier wisely, it needs to be in an attractive spot to sit. This might be near a window so they can watch ‘tv’, near the fire place or a heater vet, perhaps it’s in a quiet corner in your bedroom where they like to laze. You know your cat best and what will work for them.
There is a product called Feliway that may also help get your cat feeling cosy about the carrier. This can be used as a wall plug in diffuser style set up that needs to be changed monthly, or it is available as a spray. The spray can be sprayed directly on to the bedding in the carrier (half an hour before it’s put into the carier). This spray is a synthetic pheromone which mimics the ‘relaxed, calm’ pheromone that cats give off when they’re feeling happy.
On arrival at the clinic, cat carriers are covered in a towel which has been pre sprayed with Feliway. This will reinforce the calm feeling from home and help them relax for the consultation.
During the consultation, we will remove the top of the carrier (if possible) letting your cat sit in the base of the carrier, on their smells-like-home bed for the entirety of the exam. If the cat is feeling confident, they are of course able to get up and explore a little.
Our aim is to create a stress-free experience for your cat, the best way for us to achieve that is with your help!
It is possible, and it starts at home.
Here is a link to the type of carrier the makes your cat's travel more comfortable and their examination more relaxing.