Visiting Your Vet with Your Cat

When it is time for your pet’s annual visit to the veterinarian, don’t leave behind your felines.  I know some of you are picturing an empty carrier at your feet, while your cat crouches in the magic spot under the bed that is somehow inaccessible from all four sides.  Others are thinking of the series of deafening meows and cries on the car ride to and from the vet’s office, imagining the horrible things your cat would be saying to you if it could be translated into English.  Don’t stop reading though, there is hope.  You need to know two things: 1) It doesn’t have to be this way and 2) The annual veterinary visits are really important and worth the effort.

There is a misconception that cats are more independent and don’t require the same level of medical care as dogs. This is NOT TRUE! Vaccinations for cats are as important as they are for dogs.  This is not just because the rabies vaccine is required by the county, but also because vaccines provide protection against serious diseases.   Also, preventative care for cats, as with dogs and humans, helps them to lead longer and healthier lives.  Cats are good at hiding sickness, and the veterinarian may be able to detect a problem before the cat becomes seriously ill.  Finding disease early can improve the prognosis and also result in significant cost savings. Some problems that can be discovered or addressed at annual visits include chronic vomiting or diarrhea, changes in urination/water consumption, allergies, ear infections, abnormal growths or masses, heart disease, dental disease, constipation, and more.

So now that we have discussed the importance of these annual visits, here are some pointers to help make these trips less stressful for you and your cat:

  • Always transport your cat in a carrier.
  • Train your cat that the carrier is a positive and safe place.  Keep the carrier out in your home and occasionally put treats inside of it for the cat to find, and make it comfortable with a favorite toy or blanket.
  • Use a carrier that opens from the top and the front so that it is easy to get the cat in and out of the carrier.  If the top half of the carrier is removable, we can often examine the cat while he or she sits comfortably in the bottom half.
  • Your cat will immediately become anxious in the car if they only travel to the veterinary hospital.  Take the cat regularly on short car rides to other places.
  • Do not feed your cat for at least two hours prior to travel to attempt to avoid car sickness.

 

Using these few pointers can make the experience at the animal hospital as stress-free as possible for you and your cat.  This can then help to provide preventative care to help your cat live a longer, healthier life.

 

—Dr. Lindsey Roth, DVM

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