As cat owners ourselves, we know how difficult it can be to bring your cat to the vet. Aside from the stress that comes from leaving home, the task of getting your cat into their carrier can be just as much of a struggle, but that’s why we’re here to help!
“What Kind of Carrier Should I Buy?”
- Your carrier should have hard sides, open from both the front and the top, and come apart in the middle. (Click here for a good example.) This allows for the doctor and/or nurses to easily remove the top instead of having to pull your kitty out from the front. Also, it allows for nervous cats to stay in the bottom half of their carrier for exams.
- It should be able to be seat-belted into the car for travel. This not only keeps your cat safe, but it reduces the bumpiness of the ride.
“My Cat Hates Their Carrier. How Can I Help Them Feel More Comfortable with It?”
Cats are creatures of habit. They need time to adjust to new things like being in a carrier, riding in the car, or going to the vet. When interacting with your cat, always remember to stay calm because cats have an innate sense of our emotions and a stressful situation will only become worse if they can tell that you are upset. Just be patient with them. Cats learn best from positive reinforcement like treats, play, and affection.
- Permanently leave the carrier somewhere in your home where your cat likes to spend a lot of their time.
- Leave the carrier open or remove the door and place bedding inside for them.
- Place food, treats, catnip, or toys inside of it to encourage them to spend more time there.
- Bonus Tips
- When its time to leave home, place a used blanket or towel with the scents of home in the carrier with your cat.
- Then, place a towel over the top of the carrier. This has a calming effect on cats because it blocks out visual stimulation.
- Lastly, use a Feliway spray in the carrier a half hour before you leave. This product is great because it’s a synthetic form of a natural calming pheromone which helps to decrease stress in cats. (If you’ve brought your cat here to Cat Care Professionals, then you may have noticed that we use Feliway diffusers in each exam room.)
“What Should I Do If It’s Time to Go and My Cat Still Doesn’t Want to Get in Their Carrier?”
If your cat has not had time to become accustomed to their carrier before they need to go to the vet, then there are still options.
- Try putting the carrier in a small room without places for your kitty to hide.
- Close the door and try to encourage them to get into their carrier. For example, if they are motivated by treats, then try placing some in the carrier.
- For more unwilling participants, if you have a carrier that opens on the top, then you can hold your cat and lower them into it. Or, you can remove the top half of the carrier, place your cat in the bottom half, and replace the top.
“I Have More Than One Cat. How Do I Keep My Other Cats from Being Aggressive When One Comes Home from the Vet?”
Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell so it’s not uncommon for a cat to be aggressive toward their other feline companions when they come home from the vet.
- Make sure that you bring your cat to the vet with a used blanket or towel that has the scents of home and use a Feliway spray.
- Bring all of your cats to the vet at the same time. If that isn’t an option, then you can try leaving your cat in their carrier for a few minutes once you get home to determine how your other cats will react to him/her. If they show no aggression, then try letting your cat out of their carrier. If there is aggression between them, then put your cat and the carrier in a separate room with food, water, and litter for 24 hours while they regain the scents of home.
If you have any questions, then we welcome you to contact us at our vet clinic in Lake Oswego, Oregon. We look forward to hearing from you!