Top Tips To Reduce Stress in Cats When Visiting The Vets

A trip to the vets can be a very stressful time for your cat and even the most confident of cats can feel traumatised when they get home. We share some tips you can use to help your cat during its visit to the vets

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Leave The Cat Carrier Out In-between Visits To The Vets/Cattery

  • Stress in cats can be triggered by things that to us seem insignificant, i.e. putting the cat carrier in the hall ready for a vet appointment, so before the stressful event has even happened, your cat can already feel stressed and anxious.
  • By leaving the cat carrier out, you can help your cat desensitise and the carrier stops being a trigger of stress.
  • The carrier should be placed in a quiet area where you think your cat would feel comfortable spending time.
  • You can remove the lid of the carrier to make it feel less restrictive/confined.
  • Offer food and treats in and around the carrier to encourage your cat to spend time near it, but don’t force them to eat meals here, allow them to make the choice. This will help your cat associate the carrier with something good happening.
  • By putting a bed or blanket in the carrier, you will make it a comfortable space for your cat to spend time and even sleep.

Use Feliway Classic Spray In The Cat Carrier

  • Feliway Classic is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone that cats leave behind when they rub their face/cheeks on objects which help them mark their territory as a secure familiar place.
  • When used in the cat’s environment (or cat carrier), it provides the same comforting effect as their natural pheromone.
  • Using the spray in the cat carrier can significantly reduce stress caused by travelling to and from the vets.
  • The spray should be used in the cat carrier 15 minutes before your cat goes in it and lasts up to 4 – 5 hours after initial treatment.

Avoid Strangers Approaching The Front of The Cat Carrier

  • Cats aren’t happy when they are in a confined area so being in a cat carrier can be very stressful, especially when they are surrounded by a new environment, strangers and different smells.
  • It is very tempting to present your cat to fellow cat lovers and to staff at our practices to show them your lovely pet but having strangers peering into the basket can be very intimidating for a cat especially when their usual coping behaviours have been removed by being in a cat carrier.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people not to put their fingers through the carrier door. Try turning the box away from busier areas of the practice.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people to move their dogs away from the carrier; sometimes dog owners don’t perceive there to be a problem because their dog lives with cats, not appreciating that your cat may be scared of dogs.
  • Use a blanket to cover the cat carrier. Cats are more scared if they can see the danger so by covering them up it gives them a more secure environment to be in while waiting to see the vet.
  • In most of our practices we have quieter areas where we can put your cat while waiting for their appointment. This may be in one of our treatment rooms or behind reception but this can really help reduce stress, especially if the waiting room is particularly busy and in our smaller practices where we aren’t able to have separate cat and dog waiting rooms.

Always Use A Cat Carrier

  • To help keep your cat safe during a visit to our practices we advise using a secure cat carrier at all times.
  • A cats natural instinct is to get away from whatever it feels threatened by so if a cat was scared or highly stressed by a situation they may try and escape. If this happened in one of our waiting rooms this could result in your cat been injured by another pet or they could run outside if the door is open, into an area they may not know.

If your cat really doesn’t like going into it’s cat carrier, try the tips above to help reduce stress to both you and your cat.

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