August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, but of course, it doesn’t have to be on this day specifically! It’s an absolute tragedy that approximately 48% of owned cats NEVER make that trip to their 2nd best friend, their veterinarian, and they spend their lives without proper care and treatment, often suffering silently. Some cat parents feel it is too stressful for kitty to ride in a car ride to that scary place, but that is what I beg you to consider…don’t let it be a scary place:
There are so many incredible veterinarians out there, some feline specific, so do your research and find a practice that is AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) approved, that you’ve received great feedback from other cat parents about and that your gut is telling you, this is a good fit for my cat!
In addition to terrific credentials, you want your cat’s doc to:
- Possess a good “bedside manner”
- To take the time to explain conditions and treatments, including home care
- Keep a clean office and exam rooms
- Have a friendly, knowledgeable staff with little “turn over”
- Practice Fear Free techniques
Practice and Desensitize
Weekly, do a Head-to-Tail check-up at home of your cat. Start slow and stay calm, making it a wonderful bonding experience for her. Getting her accustomed to the human touch and intentional handling, will make her more at ease during veterinary exams too. Learn to check vitals, get familiar with normal behaviors and habits so that you more quickly will notice something not quite right and get her to quick veterinary care.
Next, get your cat accustomed to her travel carrier. Let it become her sanctuary. Put in a favorite blanket and toys. Add treats, some catnip, whatever makes your cat feel comfortable and at ease and leave it in your living room or bedroom with the door open, so that she may enter and exit as she pleases.
When you’re ready to move forward, take kitty in her carrier, armed with her fav treats, and put her in the car with you. Just sit in your garage or driveway feeding her treats and talking gently to her. Bring her back in the house, and let her have the run of the place.
On your next attempt, sit in the car on your driveway with the motor running so that your cat can get used to the vibration and engine noise. Feed those treats and whisper sweet nothings to your favorite feline pal. When she’s comfortable with this, take a ride around the block, come home and present her with her favorite catnip mouse 🙂
Once you’ve had a few successful trial runs, take a drive to your vet’s office. Go in, sit down and feed your cat treats (low calorie of course, as it may require a few). Let her take in the sights, smells and sounds and then head home. It’s important for your cat to get comfortable with her doc’s office and not always associate it with a shot in the behind. Make it a good experience and hopefully those annual check-ups will be pleasant for the both of you with a little practice.
Schedule Your Kitty’s Next Visit Right Away
Don’t delay! As you check-out from your appointment, schedule kitty’s next visit right away and put it on your calendar so that you are doing all you can to keep your cat in the peak of health, and…learn or refresh your pet first aid skills so that you can help your cat even BEFORE you reach veterinary care!