+372 50 80 660 Õismäe tee 115A, Tallinn
Mon-Fri: 10-18 | Sat, Sun: closed
Haabersti Loomakliinik
+372 50 80 660 Õismäe tee 115A, Tallinn
Mon-Fri: 10-18 | Sat, Sun: closed

 Traveling to the Veterinary Clinic with Your Cat

+372 50 80 660 Õismäe tee 115A, Tallinn
Mon-Fri: 10-18 | Sat, Sun: closed
11 February 2024
Regulations on transportation of animals Rus/Est/eng

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Endocrine diseases of cats

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Tumors in Dogs

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Training a cat to use a carrier: a four-stage approach

Many owners would cite difficulty getting a cat into a carrier as a reason not to visit the vet, or a reason that the visit is stressful. Giving ...

How to Reduce Stress during Your Visit

Every cat needs occasional check-ups at the veterinarian. Prevention of most diseases is easier, cheaper, and less painful than treatment. Many cats dislike going to the clinic, often due to the stress caused by their first encounter with a carrier. The journey to the vet begins at home, and everything matters—from how calmly your cat reacts to the carrier, to how comfortable they feel inside it, and how they fare during the car ride or walk.

Getting Your Cat Used to the Carrier

To prevent negative emotions associated with the carrier, it is desirable to acclimate your cat to it in advance. Place the carrier in a room where your cat spends most of their time. You can put their favorite toy or blanket inside the carrier. It may take several days to several weeks before your cat stops being afraid of the carrier. Each time your cat enters it, you can reward them, which will expedite the adaptation process. Also, remember to bring a familiar blanket for your cat’s visit to the vet. The familiar scent will help your pet cope with stress.

If the pet has not yet had time to get used to carrying, but you need to urgently go to the clinic, then adhere to the following rules. Place the carrier in a small space with few places to hide. Bring the cat into this room and close the door. Move slowly and calmly. Do not immediately try to grab the cat to place it in the carrier. Try encouraging your cat to enter the carrier on their own with treats and toys. If your cat doesn’t want to go into the carrier on its own, you can very gently place it through the lid into the carrier. Another possibility is to completely remove the top of the carrier and place the cat calmly on the bottom of the carrier while covering it with the top.

Using synthetic pheromones (e.g., Feliway) can also be helpful. Spraying them on the carrier 30 minutes before use can reduce stress in your beloved pet.

At the Vet’s Office, try to remain calm and positive. Cats can sense your anxiety, which can amplify their stress. Don’t forget to bring a few treats for your beloved pet.

For example, if your cat sits calmly inside or near the carrier – reward them. Also, encourage your cat to become accustomed to the veterinarian’s manipulations (such as examining the mouth, ears, and touching the paws, etc.) through positive reinforcement. This will help establish a positive association between tasty food and the visit to the clinic. Instead of food, you can support your cat with affectionate words and attention.

Returning Home

Cats are very sensitive to smell. Therefore, if you have multiple cats at home, the others may perceive the returning cat as hostile. To prevent conflicts between cats after a clinic visit, follow these rules:

  • Don’t release the cat from the carrier immediately; observe the reactions of other animals for a while.
  • If the others react calmly, you can release the cat from the carrier.
  • If you sense tension between the cats or there was a conflict in the past, take the cat in the carrier to another room to avoid a confrontation. Place a litter box and food bowls in that room and leave the cat there for at least 24 hours to reestablish the familiar scent of home.
  • Using synthetic pheromones (e.g., Feliway) may also help.
  • If the cat remains stressed despite these measures, consult a veterinarian.
  • Whenever possible, visit the clinic with all your cats at the same time to prevent conflicts, as all cats will have the clinic’s scent.

Choosing the Best Carriers for Transport

A good carrier should be sturdy, lightweight, stable, and have rigid walls. It should open from the top and have a door. If necessary, the top part should be removable.  The easily removable top allows for examination of a fearful, nervous, or pain-experiencing cat at the bottom of the carrier. Your veterinarian can measure blood pressure, take the temperature, or palpate the cat if it is in a carrier with a hinged top, as the animal becomes less anxious. Avoid carriers that require forcing the animal in or out.

When transporting the carrier in a car, place it on the floor in front of the rear seats. You can secure the carrier with a seatbelt only if it has passed a crash test. Some cats enjoy observing their surroundings, while others feel more at ease if the carrier is covered with a towel or blanket.

Remember, the owner plays an important role in ensuring a calm veterinary visit.

For detailed instructions, visit the websites www.catvets.com and www.icatcare.org.