Cats are special as you already know. Cats don’t typically ride in cars and get carried around in a box, in fact they don’t typically do anything they don’t want to do. This makes bringing you cat to us more challenging but is doable.
The following is the way to make a potentially stressful situation ie: taking your cat to a veterinary visit into a Fear Free™, stress free and easy experience.
It starts at home. Your cat should “like to go into” his or her carrier. This can be accomplished by leaving the carrier out either always or at least a week or two before you need to use it. The carrier can be all set up or you can remove the upper part so that it resembles a bed with six inch sides. It should have soft bedding in it and perhaps spray it with Feleway pheromones. Give your cat treats and or feed them in it or in front of it. Strategically place it in an area where your cats like to nap. If your cat likes the carrier things will go better, because if the royal highness or princess is happy we will all be happy. Make sure that the car is comfortable, warmed up in the winter and cooled down in the summer. Consider spraying the car with Feleway pheromones it helps to make the cat feel safer.
It is best to carry the carrier with two hands supporting the bottom to avoid swinging it. Set it level in the car seat, you can use a towel as a wedge to level the carrier. Make the carrier secure and be sure it will not shift when the car is moving.
When you get to our office avoid dogs. We will cover the carrier or put you in a private room. When it is time for the exam we will let your cat explore the room and examine him where he is most comfortable, on your lap, in a chair, in the carrier, on the floor or on the table which has a nice warm pad to make them feel more secure. Some cats will like to hide their heads while we examine them a pheromone infused towel will be used for this. We will be playing “cat music” which has been shown to have a calming effect on cats. Some cats may even need natural or pharmaceutical “chill pills” in order to relax.
Although it may take all of us including you a little more effort to accomplish a Fear Free visit the really important thing is we keep our beloved cats happy and comfortable. We do this by decreasing fear, anxiety and stress. If our pets are happy we all are happy.