One of the most important parts of the veterinary visit actually starts at home. This is the “art” of getting your cat into the carrier, then into the car, then into the clinic – without raising their “FAS” or Fear/Anxiety/Stress scale. The more fearful, anxious and stressed they are, the less we are able to handle them and ensure they have a pleasant visit at the vet.
Among cat owners, 44.9 percent did not take their cat or cats to a veterinarian during 2011, up from 36.3 percent in 2006. People don’t take their cat to the vet because it is stressful to their cat – therefore making it stressful for the client!
One of the ways you can begin to ensure your cat has a fear free visit is to get them used to their carriers. That means, don’t get the big scary box that only transports them to the big scary vet the day of the visit! Cats should be trained to love their crates and find them a safe, happy place to sit. Leave the carrier out all the time – or at least several days/weeks prior to the visit. Put their bed in it. Give them yummy food and treats in it. Cats love boxes…make them love their crate!
One of our awesome kitty clients, the Thomas family, leave their crates out before visits and look how relaxed their cats are! They didn’t drag them from under a bed and shove them into the carrier and toss the carrier in the hot car and bring them to the scary vet. They slept in their crates willingly because it is a safe place to them.