How to Make Cat Vet Visits Easier in St. Paul, MN
Is taking your cat for their bi-annual vet visits a nightmare? A struggle to get them into the carrier, terrified on the car ride, less than friendly with the doctor? Often cat vet visits are avoided due to these difficulties amongst others, but cat visits don’t have to be such traumatic events.
Here are some tips from our St. Paul, MN, veterinarians to help make vet trips less stressful.
Carrier Choice and Preparation
When choosing a carrier make sure to choose a hard sided carrier. This also increases their comfort in making them feel like they are in a secure space that won’t collapse down on them and doesn’t fold in if it is jostled while being carried.
While we are on carrier choice get a carrier that allows you to remove the top easily. Leave the bottom of their carrier out at home. Try covering it with a pillowcase and putting a bed in it to make it more comfortable for them. This gets them used to the carrier and it doesn’t just become a vessel for transport but more a cozy familiar space. That way when you take them in, the doctor can take the top of the carrier off and examine them in the bottom making it a more comfortable experience for kitty.
Reduce Car Anxiety
For indoor only cats, going outside and being transported in a moving vehicle can be a lot to take in. Try having you cat go outside on a harness and a leash to explore. This will allow them to increase their enrichment in a safe way and make trips less scary.
Work on desensitizing your cat to the car as well. Get them in the carrier and sit with them in the car for a few minutes then go bac inside and reward them with a high value treat. Repeat this a few times. Escalate to short trips with them in the car like a quick ride around the block. Remember: you cat should always be secured in the car and should never be allowed to roam the car freely – keep them in a carrier always.
Sometimes additional supplements and/or medications can be helpful. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone spray that mimics the pheromone that cats release then they are calm. Consider spraying this on a blanket that you place in their carrier and spray your car before the trip. There are many oral calming supplements that we can help you pick as well. Common choices include Zylkene, Purina Calming Care, Solliquin, Composure chews, Dr. Fossum’s CBD oil, etc. Ask us about options!
For those cats that may require more stress relief than all these options combined, there are short acting anxiety reducing medications that we can prescribe. These are typically given 12 hours before the visit and again 1-2 hours prior. These medications must be prescribed, and we can help you choose which might be best.
Starting with these tips can make vet trips much easier for you and your cat. We want them to be as comfortable as possible and reduce stress for these visits that are necessary for their health and wellbeing.
More frequent trips allow us to notice subtle changes in your cat’s health that could be indicative of health concerns. With cats being so great at hiding their illness this could be pivotal – allowing us to be proactive rather than reactive.
Try these tips and reach out to our St. Paul, MN, veterinarians if you need more information!