Cats may have seven lives but they do get sick once in a while. However, your sick acting cat may turn into a furball of energy once he sees the carrier out! Cats, as a matter of fact, are very intuitive, and they also have a good memory. If you use the carrier only for unpleasant trips to the vet, do not be surprised if you cat will head under your bed as soon as he understands what is about to happen.
It is very important, therefore, to anticipate your cat’s reaction. Having worked at a vet’s office for some time, I have heard my fair share of phone calls from owners cancelling their appointment because their cat turned out AWOL at the last minute. So here are a few tips to help your cat will be a bit more collaborative next time he is going for his physical.
1. Keep the carrier around
Don’t keep your cat’s carrier in a closed closet until it is time to go to the vet. Rather, try to keep it around the home weeks prior, so your cat gets used to it. In some cases, actually, your cat may get so used to seeing it around that he will perceive it as a comfy piece of furniture where he can even nap.
2. Add toys and treats
To make the carrier even more attractive, put some of your cat’s favorite toys in it and every once in a while, place some treats in it. Now the carrier will not seem threatening anymore.
3. Stay calm
When the big day comes act normal. Try not to appear nervous as your cat will read physical cues from you that something is just not right. Rather, try to behave normally.
4. Do not change routine
Cats are very attentive to their surroundings. Your cat knows when you are about to head out, or when you are about to catch him for something unpleasant. Try to act as normally as possible and for as long as you can.
5. Close doors
You want your cat in a safe room where there are not many escape routes. Avoid rooms where your cat may hide behind or under something making their retrieval almost impossible.
6. Entice your cat
Try to entice your cat to get in the carrier himself. This may be challenging but it is the best way. This way your cat will not feel forced inside the carrier therefore, associating it with bad happenings. Take a feather and wriggle it in the carrier hoping he will follow it inside or put some treats. Do not close the door abruptly once inside, do it calmly and gently.
7. Ask for help
If your cat refuses to get inside on its own and is already running around, try to attract your cat to yourself and then carefully place the cat in the carrier. If it is challenging to catch the cat, ask help from an assistant. However, try your best not to traumatize your cat in the catching efforts.
8. Carry the carrier with care
I have seen owners carry a carrier like a useless backpack. No wonder the poor kitty inside is meowing so desperately! Do not make sudden movements and try not to swing it along with your arm as you walk.
9. Drive carefully
Some cats get motion sick easily. especially on curvy or bumpy roads. Such cats may need to be accustomed to the car over days or weeks. In some cases, they may require prescriptions medications such as Acepromazine,
10. Stay inside the car
If the vet’s office is full of barking dogs or is pretty crowded, you may want to keep kitty in the car with you until it is time for your appointment. This will help your cat stay calm, as the reception may be too much for him. Most technicians are fine with this and they will come out to alert you when it is your cat’s turn.
Getting your cat to your vet may be challenging and this is due to your cat’s inherited instinct of being territorial. Most cats will be nervous regardless of the fact of taking them to the vet or to your favorite’s friend’s home. However, getting your kitty used to the car from a young age may make this a much more easier process for both of you. Your cat may not be so excited to go to the vets as to volunteer, but at least he will not act as if its the last place he would want to be.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.