Cat inside crate with text "Kitty Terror ....... 'The Vet'"

Few things strike more fear into the hearts of feline owners than the thought of taking the cat to the veterinarian. That’s because most cats don’t like to go, and the trip can turn into a constant yowling of kitty detest or biting and scratching the veterinary staff.  After the grueling visit, a disgruntled cat hides for a few days before forgiving the owner for the gruesome experience.

Regular visits to the veterinarian are critical for maintaining the cat’s optimal health. Dogs are easy to get into the car; most love to go for a ride. Cats on the other hand, often see travel as a negative experience as they usually end up at the vet, groomer, or a boarding facility.

How can we help kitty feel better about going to see the vet? Acclimate the cat to the carrier.

• Leave the carrier open in a desirable place until the cat enters it readily. Add some catnip or favorite treats to encourage them to hangout in the carrier. Add a favorite blanket.

• Once the cat is happy going in and out of the carrier, begin shutting the crate door and carrying the cat to the car. Leave the cat in the car for about a minute or two, and then bring the cat back inside. Reward with a treat.

• Continue for a few days in a row. Then, take the cat on a short drive.

One of the most effective ways to decrease the cat’s anxiety is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit. Fortunately, with some simple preparation and reassurance both the cat and the owner will come out of the experience unscathed.

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