Tips to make your Cats visit less stressful
Most people have seen the cartoons about bathing or pilling your cat. Cats like familiar and routine and car rides are not either. Couple that with the wrestling match to get your cat into what cats would probably call the “Tank of Terror” or the carrier and there is stress. Actually I would say if you only get a couple scratches in the battle, you should consider yourself lucky. Then comes the “drive of doom” where they scream profanity the entire trip. It is no wonder that cats are winning the war on veterinary care with their “Feline Resistance”
Since cats are great at hiding problems until they are seriously ill and they are getting fewer vet checkups, one of the best things you can do for your cat is to give him a regular checkup. Even when you don’t know what you are looking for, you get your cat use to being handled. And you are more likely to find a problem, should one arise, because you are checking them over from head to toe regularly.
As I already mentioned the carrier or “Tank of Terror” is another big problem. When he only gets in the carrier to go to the vet, it’s a run for your life moment when it comes out. The idea to make the carrier a nap place or a treat spot, or even incorporate it into play time; can make it a neat box instead. Additionally I recommend the larger plastic carrier with the top loading alternate door. Give your cat enough room to standup and turn around or stretch. I once owned a kitty who had diabetes; in my younger days before kids when my wife and I could travel more. Unfortunately in addition to hating the car, she got car sick. Saying this to say she needed a carrier large enough to accompany her and a litterbox as she couldn’t always hold it and might get car sick. The top loading features makes it easier to get the kitty out or clean up an accident. Also covering the carrier with a towel (preferably with their scent) helps stop carsickness and can calm them in the car, waiting room and we can let them sit on it during the exam.
Some cats will never relax on a car ride, but most get use to it. Take my diabetic kitty, she also got much better about traveling when she had to go along all the time, so that she could get her insulin injections. Start by taking short drives, around the block, then to a quick errand, and gradually make them longer. Each time, reward him before the trip, with several minutes of petting, treats and attention; as well as after, if they will talk to you. The petting and attention before is important. They sense your anxiety and this relaxes you both. Always keep it positive, no screaming or raising your voice.