My Cat and His Carrier

Bringing the cat to the vet !

It is true that cats, especially indoor cats, can put up quite the fuss when trying to get them into the clinic for their check-up.  Although many owners are just resigned that the day will be a struggle, there are some great and simple ways to make the trip more comfortable for them and therefore, for you!

Indoor cats often only see their carrier once a year.  It is then taken from its storage spot where it probably still smells of last year’s trip, and kitty is stuffed (sometimes literally) into the box for the voyage.  Some older carriers and most newer carriers now have the fabulous feature where the top can come completely off.  There are a few advantages of this type of carrier.  The first is that instead of trying to push or lower or coerce kitty into the carrier, you can simply take of the lid, put your cat in and then close it up over them.  The second is that when they get here to the clinic, we can also take the lid off and avoid having to pull or shake kitty out of the back of the carrier where he is hiding!  What I recommend with these carriers is to leave the base out at home with a nice comfy blanket or bed in it.  This way, hopefully this will become a comfort spot for your cat to rest in.  The carrier will smell like your cat and his surroundings.  If your cat really likes it, then consider putting the top back on but leaving the door off, but again, being sure it is in a location that is frequented by your cat.  You will find that if the carrier is part of your cat’s everyday life and not something that comes out once yearly that only has fearful associations with it, you will have a much easier time.  You will also find that in the car and while here at the clinic, your cat is much more comfortable and less stressed while surrounded with the comforts of home.

There are also other tricks that can help ease the stress of the visit.  Feliway is a synthetic feline pheromone that is calming to most cats.  This can be sprayed or wiped onto the carrier prior to the trip for added comfort.  In addition, many cats like to feel hidden so it can help to cover the carrier with a blanket to keep it dark and warm.  It is always best to make car trips on an empty stomach as motion sickness is common for cats as well.  We at Guelph Animal Hospital encourage you to bring in your cat’s favorite treats or toy so that he can be distracted if vaccinations or nail trims are needed.

Here is a great video on making the carrier a happy place for your cat: http://www.catalystcouncil.org/resources/health_welfare/cat_carrier_video/index.aspx

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