Getting Your Cat to the Vet (Without Bloodshed)

Any cat owner knows the struggle of getting your cat to the veterinary office (insert photo of bloody scratched arm here). It normally ends with both owner and cat stressed out with some wicked battle scars. Luckily there are some tips that can help with this stressful situation. The first step is having the right carrier. Usually the best carriers have hard sides with multiple doors and a top that can be easily removed. Try to get your cat used to the carrier by leaving it in the room that your cat spends most of its time in with the door open. It’s also helpful to put some treats in there to make the carrier a positive and safe place. Try this a couple days or even weeks before your veterinary visit. You can also put familiar smelling bedding, clothing items or even some Feliway spray in the carrier.  Feliway spray is a pheromone spray that mimics the cat’s own facial pheromone and is shown to reduce stress. When it comes time to actually put your kitty in the carrier, remember to approach your cat calmly. Some cats know your departure routine and any indication that they might be coming along for the ride will make your cat run and hide. Hopefully your carrier is already out in the open, even moving the carrier can signal the cat to run under the bed. Try to get your cat either in a small room (like a bathroom) or in the carrier before they even know you are leaving (i.e. before you put on your shoes, get your keys, or put on your coat). If your cat is very food motivated, you can throw some treats or even put some food in the carrier and when they walk in, simply shut the door. You can also try feeding a small portion of their breakfast in the carrier and bring the rest of breakfast to the appointment. It can also help to casually close any doors where your cat typically runs to hide. Ideally, you should be able to calmly pick up your cat and place them in the carrier. Multiple doors on the carrier can make placing them inside easier. Sometimes placing them inside from the top of the carrier is less stressful than pushing them in from a front door. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and not get worked up so that you and your fur baby can have a calm ride to the vet.