If you're like most cat owners, you dread taking your feline friend to the vet. We have two cats, and it’s not a trip either of us look forward to. It can be a very stressful experience for all involved, but with some planning, you can greatly minimize the stress on your cat. In this blog post, we'll discuss some tips we’ve successfully used to make a trip to the vet less stressful for us and the kitties.
Use a Carrier Designed Specifically for Cats
First, it's important to use a carrier that's designed specifically for cats. There are many different types of carriers on the market, but not all of them are suitable for cats. A carrier that's too small will be very cramped and uncomfortable, while a carrier that's too large will make your cat feel insecure.
Shop around and find a carrier that's just the right size for your cat and has plenty of ventilation. A good cat carrier should also be made of sturdy materials that will withstand biting and clawing. Remember, your goal is to make the experience as stress-free as possible for both you and your cat, so it's worth investing in a high-quality carrier.
Leave Your Cat's Carrier Out in Your Home
Here's an often-overlooked tip that can make a huge difference: leave your cat's carrier out in your home a week or two before the vet visit. During that time, put a soft blanket or towel in the carrier and place some of your cat's favorite treats or toys inside too. This will help your cat get used to the carrier and associate it with positive things.
If possible, try to place the carrier in an area where your cat spends a lot of time, such as next to their bed or in the living room. Doing this will make them more likely to approach the carrier on their own and feel comfortable going inside.
You may even want to feed your cat their meals in the carrier for a few days leading up to the vet visit. This will help create a positive association between the carrier and food. Once it's time for the vet visit, put your cat in the carrier without too much fuss. They should be used to it by then and won't put up too much of a fight!
Visit the Vet During Off-Peak Hours
Another great way to reduce stress during a vet visit is to schedule an appointment during off-peak hours. This means avoiding busy times like weekends and early mornings or late evenings.
If possible, schedule your appointment for the middle of the day during the week. This way, you won't have to wait as long to be seen and your cat won't have to spend as much time in the waiting room around other animals.
Make the Vet Visit as Short and Sweet as Possible
The less time your cat spends at the vet, the better. So, if you can, make the visit short and sweet. Schedule any necessary vaccinations or tests for early in the morning so you can get in and out before your cat gets too anxious.
And when it's time to leave, don't forget to give your kitty a treat! This will help them associate the vet visit with something positive (getting a delicious treat!) instead of something stressful.
In addition, try to make the vet visit as positive an experience as possible. Greet the staff with a smile and speak in a calm, reassuring voice to your cat. This will help them feel more relaxed and less stressed.
Use Stress-Relieving Products
There are a variety of stress-relieving products on the market that can help your cat stay calm during a vet visit. These products usually come in the form of sprays or collars that release a calming scent. There are also treats and food additives that can help your cat relax.
We love The Two Crazy Cat Ladies Feline Essential product, Cat Calm Stress Reducing Liquid Formula, a natural herbal liquid developed to induce calmness and lessen anxiety in cats in 24 hours. We love that it's safe, organic and doesn't contain chemicals or toxins that may harm our kitties.
Jackson Galaxy, cat expert and host of Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell, offers a range of products designed to help stressed-out kitties. His all-natural Holistic Solutions line includes stress and anxiety-relieving products, including Stress Stopper, Scaredy Cat, and Safe Space for Cats. You can spray the product in the carrier or car just before the visit, and apply some on your cat as well. We even spray the exam room at the vet.
There are other proven products to help reduce your cat’s stress, such as pheromone products like Feliway, which helps create a calm environment for cats and herbal treatments such as Rescue Remedy for pets.
CBD oil is another popular option for pet owners looking to relieve their animal's anxiety. CBD oil is derived from hemp and does not contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. This means it will not make your cat high. It's available in several forms, including treats, tinctures, and topical solutions.
If you're considering using CBD oil or any other type of stress-relieving product, be sure to speak with your veterinarian first. They can advise you on whether or not a particular product is right for your cat and provide guidance on dosage.
Should I Give My Cat a Sedative?
If you've tried all the tips above and your cat is still stressed out, you may be wondering if it's time to give them a sedative. In general, it's not a good idea to give your cat a sedative unless absolutely necessary – and only when prescribed by your vet. That's because sedatives can have some serious side effects, including decreased blood pressure, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Instead, we recommend implementing the tips above and working with your veterinarian to come up with a plan to help your cat relax. There are a variety of natural supplements and therapies that can be used to reduce stress in cats. And in most cases, these options are much safer than sedatives.
The Bottom Line
Making a trip to the vet with your cat can be less stressful if you take some simple steps ahead of time. By following the tips above, you can help your cat stay calm and relaxed during their vet visit. And that means less stress for you, too!
What are some of the things you do to make vet visits less stressful for your cat? Let us know in the comments below!