Taking your cat to the vet can be very unpleasant, and not just for the cat. Owners routinely cancel veterinary appointments when their cat bolts at the sight of the carrier. Clients who fail to coax their cats into carriers often wind up bloodied when coaxing turns to altercation. Scared cats sometimes urinate in the carrier, soiling themselves and, in the case of cardboard carriers, ruining the carrier (and perhaps the leather seat of the car used for transport). These same scared cats may lash out at veterinary staff out of fear. If only it could be easier.
On May 1 the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a list of guidelines to help make vet visits more tolerable for all involved. The information comes courtesy of the CATalyst Council (a coalition organized to combat the “second species” status of cats in veterinary medicine and in life in general). Most of the suggestions focus on ways to habituate cats to carriers. From JAVMA:
The CATalyst Council advises cat owners to accustom their animals to traveling, preferably starting at a young age; make the cat carrier into a comfortable resting, feeding, or play spot; transform the cat carrier into a hiding place with familiar blankets or towels; take cats in the car on fun trip and even a social visit to the veterinary clinic for a treat; and refrain from feeding cats immediately before a veterinary visit to prevent motion sickness and increase the cat’ interest in treats from the veterinarian.
For more information, check out the Council’s very cool web site: catalystcouncil.org.