Every once in a while we have a cat that actually likes being at the vet, but they are few and far in between. I find that most cats tolerate the vet-if we don't push them too far. And then there are those cats that really hate the vet. They often turn into a flurry of fur, nails, and teeth. At Southern Animal Hospital, we are trying to change that. We know we can't make all cats love the vet, but we want them to at least tolerate the vet.
We are going to do our part, but we need our cat owners to help us out. So what can you do to make vet visits more pleasant for your cat?
- Acclimate them to the carrier prior to their visit. Leave the carrier out, if possible all the time. Even make it a bed for your cat to use on a regular basis. Put treats in the carrier at times (leaving the door open) so the carrier becomes a pleasant place, not the evil thing that takes them to the vet!
- Ask us about Feliway. Feliway is a natural pheromone that can lower cats anxiety. We can provide wipes that you can wipe the carrier, towels, and even your clothes to help your cat. Not all cats respond to Feliway, but for some cats it can make a huge difference.
- Please bring your cat in a carrier...carrying your cat into a vet clinic outside a carrier is dangerous for your beloved pet. What if they get loose? What is a dog in the lobby scares them? First and foremost we want your beloved pet to be safe!
- Keep the carriers off the floor in areas where there are dogs, so your cat is not intimidated by the dogs or even other cats.
- If you cat has a favorite treat, brush, or toy, bring this along
What are we going to do to make things easier for your feline friend?
- Provide a feline only exam room and treatment area. When constructed these rooms, we strived to make them as soundproof as possible so your cat won't hear barking dogs and other loud noises
- Allow places in the room for your cat to hide and give them time to acclimate to the room.
- Use Feliway in the feline rooms.
- Use calming, minimally restraint techniques
- Train our staff in Fear Free and Low Stress Handling Techniques to try and keep your cat's visits as calm and happy as possible
- Use treats, canned food, toys as distractions whenever we can
- And realize that for some cats a little sedation can make everything easier for them and you.
We look forward to meeting our feline patients!
Boo Donoho, DVM