Oh no, you just received that dreaded reminder from Kulshan Veterinary Hospital. It is time for Fluffy to visit the veterinarian for her annual exam. Despite your anxiety, you schedule the appointment. You plan the day. You quietly sneak the cat carrier out and brush off the accumulated dust and spider webs. Then it’s off to find Fluffy. She sees you coming and swoosh she’s gone – hidden somewhere under the bed, in the deepest, darkest reaches of the closet or in some other location unknown to mankind.
After a long and frustrating search, you find her, but she sees the carrier and next thing you know, she’s all teeth, claws and hiss. Bleeding and sweating, you finally manage to cram her into the carrier and slam the door. Both you and Fluffy are upset and you haven’t even left the house.
If this sounds at all familiar, let’s start over with a different approach.
Kulshan’s goal is to make your cat’s visit a much more pleasant experience for everyone. As a Cat Friendly practice, we’d like to offer a few tips aimed at reducing the stress of bringing your cat to see us.
Let’s start with your cat carrier. The best type of carrier is one with both a front and roof door. The top of the carrier should come off easily and go back on securely. This makes it less problematic for you to put Fluffy in at home and allows Kulshan’s staff to access Fluffy easier which is less upsetting to her.
Allowing Fluffy to be familiar with the carrier will also reduce her stress. Keeping the carrier accessible so Fluffy can freely investigate it with the door open is a great way to reduce her anxiety. You may even try placing a soft cushion or blanket inside tempting Fluffy to nap there occasionally. Feeding Fluffy in the carrier is another way to encourage her to voluntarily enter it.
Starting this desensitization at least a week before your appointment is best so there is plenty of time for her to feel comfortable going inside the carrier. Even better is having it out all the time so your kitty is well acquainted with the carrier environment. This makes unexpected trips to Kulshan less stressful.
Placing some kitty treats in the carrier can also help to lure your cat inside. This works well if your cat already associates the carrier with food. Once they go in to eat the food, you can easily close the door.
Another way to reduce Fluffy’s anxiety is using a product called Feliway. Feliway is a pheromone that acts to reduce stress and calm your cat. It comes in a liquid that you can spray is the carrier at least 15 minutes before putting your cat in it. You can also use this spray in your car to reduce stress of the ride.
By taking these steps, you and your kitty will arrive at Kulshan much calmer and ready for the Cat Friendly environment that Kulshan strives to maintain. When you arrive, please let our receptionists know. They can provide you with a cover to use on your carrier while you wait. Cats feel more secure is an environment with less visual stimulation and the covers can also be sprayed with Feliway. Now that Fluffy is at the clinic, our trained staff will strive to make Fluffy’s visit as pleasant as possible. We hope to see you soon.