Cats need regular wellness exams but statistics show that after their initial kitten vaccinations, pet owners tend to take cats to the vet significantly less often than dogs. Regular exams are just as important for felines as they are for canines. Cats are very adept at hiding injury and illness and waiting until your cat shows symptoms could mean a much more expensive veterinary bill…or worse.
One of the main reasons pet owners cite for not taking their cats to the vet more often is that cats are fearful of visiting the clinic and can be difficult to handle. As the only animal hospital in the area with veterinarians who have achieved Level 3 Fear Free Certified Professional status, we recommend these tips for making veterinary visits less stressful for you and your cat:
- Help your cat become comfortable with its carrier before scheduled vet visits. Leave it open and out in a room where your cat spends a lot of time, place a folded towel or pet bed, treats or toys on the carrier floor, and spend some time playing with your cat around the carrier.
- Spritz Feliway, a cat-friendly pheromone spray, inside the carrier 30 minutes before departure. People can’t smell these pheromones, but cats can—and they are clinically proven to be calming.
- Gently place your cat in its carrier and cover with a light blanket or towel. Try to encourage your cat to go in a side door of the carrier on its own or consider purchasing a top-loading carrier. Placing a light blanket or towel over the carrier helps protect your cat from unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells, but make sure to allow for proper ventilation.
- Warm or cool your car to room temperature before placing your cat in the vehicle. Cats are most comfortable at room temperature. Cooling or heating your car protects them from stressful extreme changes when it’s cold in the winter or hot in the summer.
- Support the carrier from underneath and limit movement. Using the carrier handle or strap causes the carrier to swing which is an uncomfortable sensation for your cat. Consider the angle of your car seat and, if appropriate, prop up one side of the carrier to keep it level or place the carrier on the floor.
- Upon your arrival at the clinic, be mindful of your cat’s comfort. You may choose to wait where you and your cat are most comfortable – in an exam room, our waiting area or your car. Cats in particular like higher elevations so place the carrier next to you once you’re inside the clinic. If you choose to wait in your car, please call and let us know you’ve arrived.
While it’s true that cats can be low-maintenance pets compared to dogs, they still need regular wellness care including exams, vaccines and preventative medications to stay healthy. Call us today at (630)427-4070 to schedule your cat’s wellness exam!