20 Aug 2016

Client Tips for Taking Your Cat to the Vets

I often look around our waiting rooms to see how our feline friends cope in what is often a busy and noisy environment. I have two cats myself, both of which are anxious personality types so hopefully my feline tips will help our lovely and valued clients make their cat’s vet visits less stressful.

Bear in mind that familiar territory is extremely important to our cats so when we take them away from this we inadvertently take away their control and the cat carrier and car journey becomes a frightening issue for them.  Cats have three coping strategies which is to flee, freeze or as a last resort fight. A cat’s wild ancestry remains in our domestic cats.

Firstly we need to consider  the cat carrier and to get your cat used to this you could try leaving it with the door open in the main room of your home for a week for your cat to explore, line it with soft fleeces and place a few cat treats in there to encourage curiosity and pleasant associations. Hopefully when the time has come for the Vet visit, your cat will be less fearful of going in the carrier. Top opening ones like the Catit design “Cabrio” carrier works well as it is easy for owners to get their cat in and out of it and the Vet can examine your cat whilst it is in the carrier. The Cabrio carrier is widely available online.

With regards to the car journey this can be made less stressful if you spray Feliway in the car about 15 minutes before you travel, leave the windows closed in the car for maximum effect. I myself have tested this option and it did make my cat calmer and less vocal whilst travelling. On the journey keep your car radio on as a background noise, Classic FM or in studies Radio 4 works well. Talking in a gentle and soft tone will comfort your cat as your voice will be familiar to him. Keep the carrier securely on the passenger seat or in the foot well if space allows. Cover the cat carrier with a big towel or fleece and spray this with Feliway for added reassurance for your cat. This covered den will help your cat cope better in a waiting room that has dogs waiting as the cover will block the view.

At our Frimley Green surgery we have a tiered cat stand that allows owners to put their cat carrier on as cats feel safer higher up and means they are not nose to nose with a dog. Unfortunately, space at our Camberley surgery is limited and it has been logistically impossible to place one of these stands in the waiting room. I will keep looking for a smaller version though to help our feline friends.

After the actual Veterinary consultation, you are more than welcome to elevate your cat’s carrier up onto the Reception desk whilst you settle the bill as again it is a higher surface.

We have a lovely Vet called Audra who specialises and understands our feline friends very well, she is calm and gentle around them and even the grumpiest cat seems to behave in her presence. Audra works on Thursdays mornings at our Camberley surgery and then the afternoon and evening at our Frimley Green surgery. She has quite a following!

I hope these tips help you “think cat” and that your next visit to the Vets is less stressful for both you and your cat.

Best wishes, carrier 3 Cat vet happy 2

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I was very happy with the care my cats received…the vet gave me a great deal of time and treated my girls like his own. I also received a lot of help from the head nurse who gave me a diet plan to follow which has helped them lose weight. They are now a lot healthier and much more active.

Miss R Gardner

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