No one likes to have to bring their scared cat to the clinic for examinations. Here we hope that you will find some tips to make these trips MUCH more pleasant for you and your feline friend. These trips are VERY necessary to keep your cat healthy as they are one of the MOST affective domestic animals at hiding illness from others until it is almost too late. Regular visits and screenings ensure that we find out about problems early on while they are still manageable.
Carrier selection is key! What to look for in choosing a carrier:
- Opens from end AND top for easy access. (or at least a removable lid)
- Make sure it is a good size that your cat will be comfortable in! No one likes cramped quarters.
- Made from easy to clean surfaces! Even the best cat has an accident occasionally and if all surfaces are fabric it may be difficult to get rid of odors.
- Safe and secure
- ALWAYS keep your cat in a contained carrier when traveling! Scared cats loose in a car tend to hide under seats then bolt into dangerous and uncontrollable situations when doors get opened.
Make sure your cat has PLENTY of opportunity to be well adapted to the carrier.
- Leave it out all the time so that it doesn’t become known as a “torture device”.
- Allow cats to play ad sleep in it when they want to.
- Keep it clean in between uses…. Who wants to ride in a dusty, smelly environment?
- Reward your cat when they willingly go into their carrier.
- Play games with your cat that involves the carrier.
Still have a nervous kitty? Try Feliway sprayed on a towel or use the wipes to coat the interior of the carrier. Do this at least 15 minutes prior to putting the cat inside the carrier.
Make your cat travel-savvy. Get them adapted to short trips outside the home from a young age.
Let us know that you have a scaredy cat when you call for an appointment. This way we can try to plan your appointment for a time we don’t expect a lot of rambunctious dogs to be coming through and we can put a note on the appointment to get you right into our cat room.
We have one of our exam rooms prepared with a Feliway diffuser to help with stress levels of cats and is already equipped with a scale to minimize unnecessary door noise.
When you arrive, ask to be directed immediately into an exam room for waiting if there is a lot of traffic in the reception area.
For severely anxious cats we may even prescribe medications that can be administered prior to the appointment to ease the anxiety.
Not all dogs love coming to see us yet it is very important that they do. Here are some ideas to help lessen the stress for everyone.
- Socialization is the biggest asset! Bring your dog in for regular visits that do NOT involve any poking or prodding. And not just at the front desk for cookies. Bring them into an exam room, walk them onto the scale, even having a technician walk them around other areas of the clinic.
- Strong sit/stay training goes a LONG way for everything! Having this instilled not only increases safety for a visit to the veterinarian but will also give your dog a “task” to focus other than their anxiety.
- Teach your dog that handling is ok. Rub the ears, even putting your finger inside, handle their feet including each toe nail, run your hands over the entire body as though looking for wounds/lesions, open their mouth, etc. And even have other people do this as well on a routine basis. This keeps your dog adapted to experiences to be had during a physical exam and help them to understand these things are not meant to be painful to them.
- Keep your dog on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet long! Retractable leashes have led to many injuries not only to dogs but to owners who accidentally grab the roping.
- Let us know if your dog is scared when you set up the appointment and we can try to set it up for a quiet time of day.
- Let us know if you have a scared dog when you arrive so that we can usher you to wait in one of our exam rooms rather than a busy waiting area.
- Absolutely let us know if your dog has a tendency towards aggression at other animals so that we can put you in an exam room immediately to prevent accidents.
If your pet is still scared there are medications and collars available that can reduce stress and anxiety for them when used before leaving.