On the whole cats are much more likely to find visits to the vet stressful than dogs. There are a number of things you can do to make the transport to and waiting at the vets less stressful for your cat. This is particularly important if you are travelling a long way or if your cat already feels unwell. Here are some tips for minimising the stress.
Use a sturdy carrier that is escape-proof – a loose cat in the car could be dangerous while you are driving! Top-opening carriers or those with clips to lift off the top half make getting your cat in and out of the basket easier. Using the carrier at home as a safe resting place can also reduce the stress associated with it coming out from the cupboard. Place clothing or bedding which smells of home in the carrier. Feliway spray inside the carrier and car 20 minutes before putting the cat in may help for some cats. Place the carrier in the footwell or secured with a seatbelt if possible. Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket will make your cat feel more secure. Take spare bedding or inco-sheets in case your cat does have an accident. Allow plenty of time for your journey so you can drive carefully, to minimise excessive motion. Plan your route! The more relaxed you are in the car, the more chilled your cat will be!
Cat friendly facilities
At Optivet, we have a separate cat waiting area so you and your cat can be apart from any dogs. Remember even if your cat is used to dogs at home, a dog-stranger is not its friend! Placing the carrier at a raised height reduces stress for cats as they feel less vulnerable. Keeping the carrier covered with a towel/blanket will also reduce stress. We also have a separate cat ward, so if you cat needs to stay with us, they are kept well away from any dogs. We also avoid cat-to-cat eye contact within the cat ward, another cause of stress or fear. Our nurses are trained to handle cats with a stress-free, gentle approach.