Most cats find travelling outside their home to be a very stressful experience.
Cats aren’t stupid, they know that the cat carrier means a trip to the vet where they will be poked and prodded, often when they are already feeling under the weather. Or it could be a trip to the cattery while you are away on holiday, either way your cat knows that the cat carrier is not a good thing. I’m sure that more than a few of you have tried getting your cat through that small opening in the cat carrier and ended up completely stressed, with a few battle wounds and a missing cat!
How we can make the situation less stressful
- If possible leave the cat carrier in your home (rather than the shed or garage) with a nice cosy bed in it. Rewarding your cat with a tasty treat when he or she chooses to go near or into the carrier , should encourage frequent use and ensure your cat doesn’t associate it with nasty trips.
- Make sure the carrier is sturdy and escape proof. The last thing you want is a stressed cat running about in the car on the way to the veterinary surgery or cattery, or worse escaping while you are in a car park miles away from home.
- Choose your carrier carefully. It is much easier to pick up a cat and pop him into the open top of a basket, rather than trying to force him through a small doorway in the front – if his feet are on the floor it is much easier to escape! If you cant get a top opening carrier, my tip is to position the carrier so that the door is facing upwards and gently put the cat in.
- It is always a good idea to have some sort of absorbent liner in the carrier in case your cat has an accident. Absorbent pet bedding such as Vet-Bed can be used or you could get some incontinence pads which are quite cheap to buy and easily cut to size.
- Using Feliway (www.feliway.co.uk) spray in the carrier 15 minutes before you place you cat into it may help to keep your cat calmer on the journey and at the vets. Feliway helps cats naturally cope with stressful situations and is available at the surgery.
To avoid stress at the veterinary surgery
- Please always have your cat in a carrier when you visit your vet, your cat will feel much more secure in a confined space than loose in your arms.
- Try not to sit close to any dogs who might be visiting the vets. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen dogs being allowed to sniff the carrier containing a terrified kitty who cannot escape, and the dog owner saying “it’s ok, he’s good with cats”. The same applies to other cats, it is best to face them away from each other when possible.
- Some cats are much happier with a towel over the top of their carrier to give them even more privacy.
- Feliway is often helpful as it will help keep your cat calm.
At Castle Vets we are fortunate enough to have completely separate cat facilities so that our feline patients never have to be worried about dogs nosing their baskets and trying to get in. Our feline patients are much calmer and easy to handle because dogs never enter the waiting room, consulting rooms, kennels or operating theatre. We also use Feliway diffusers throughout the cat areas of the practice to help cats stay calm and relaxed.
We hope you find this article informative, please let us know what you think.
If you have any questions please contact us at the surgery.