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Taking Your Cat to the Vet
When Carolina Alves De Lima takes her cat, Lucky to the vet’s office, she knows she is ahead of the game. “If they ask for a stool sample,” she explains. “I can give them one straight away. He poops every time!” Lucky is not a stray cat, he is a Ragdoll and Carolina’s pride and joy.
Helen Brumfield shares; “Joey is a stray cat who on the way to the vet cries really loud.He cries to such an extent, I can actually hear him say, ’I love you’. He always pees in his carrier.”
How often, all over the world, do cat-owners deal with over- anxious, stressed-out kitties facing vet visits? Stray cat, feral cat or pedigreed, some cats will react the same way for the first-time vet visit, or any routine, or long-term care. For the owners, the stress increases, for they are not only worried about the cost of the visit, but how do they make their cat feel comfortable about such an essential part of cat care. How do veterinarians feel about this issue? Do they hold a solution?
Globally now, they speak out when asked: “What tips would you give cat owners to make that first time vet visit successful.”
In Mexico at the Huellas Vet Clinic, their concern lies in cat comfort. Two rooms are provided; one for dogs, the other for cats. If the client’s cat is crying or appears anxious, cat toys are provided. No yelling or shouting occurs even during emergencies, as loud noises increase stress levels.
At Linn Veterinary Hospital in Oregon, they suggest when company arrives you encourage each visitor to interact with your cat. Engage his interest with treats or toys. If your visitors are willing, ask them to sit on the floor and pet kitty gently, acclimating him to a stranger’s touch. Spreading tasty treats on the floor bribes the kitty to stay in the room with strangers. How often you repeat this procedure allows your kitty to become comfortable with other people.
Dr. Susan Little D.V.M. of Bytown Cat Hospital in Canada maintains the proper carrier provides a world of difference. Top-loading cat carriers or soft-sided carriers that zip from the side are best. In traditional carriers, cats forced into entering through a small door in the front will struggle. Although most cats are perfectly willing to come out of the carrier, getting them back in is another issue. Placing the carrier against a wall and putting the cats rear-end in first then easing him backward leaves the person vulnerable to attack. However, soft-sided carriers are not recommended for feral cats or feisty stray cats. Hard carriers provide extra security and don’t succumb to frantic claw marks and bites.
In Scotland at the Parkside Veterinary Group, Feliway Comfort Zone Room Diffusers burn nonstop. The rooms are cleaned and disinfected. Before a new cat arrives, Feliway is sprayed liberally. The vets also spray their clothes. Large, dark, squares of cloth are provided as covers for the carriers.
During an exam at Yongsan Animal Clinic in Korea, pet owners constantly pet their cat. A sign in the front office tips off the clients to have their cats inside the carrier at all times prior to the vet exam.
“Half-wild” (semi-feral cats) is the standard at the P & B Horseshoe Pet Clinic in the Philippines. The vets urge the owners to have a hands-on approach with their cat. Any treatment done to the cat is done in full view of the owner (excluding surgeries).
Never bring your cat to the vet unless he is in a cat carrier in Sweden. The Dalagarden Veterinary Clinic educates cat owners on how to take short trips in the car with their cat secure in a carrier days before the visit. Feeding treats, playing with toys may relax kitty on these short jaunts. This experiment enables all concerned to have successful and low-stress vet visits.
Overnight cat guests at the Chong Wu Bin Tuan/ Pet Troopers in China maintain their Zen by owners providing pieces of clothing permeated with their sweat. Keeping the owner’s scent near has proven crucial in keeping kitties calm while waiting for treatments for the first time.
This procedure of having the owner’s scent nearby is also practiced in South Africa. The Boskruin Veterinary Clinic uses this ploy while the cat is waiting to be seen. They ask each client to bring the cat to the clinic either inside a carrier, or have kitty on a harness or wrapped securely inside a blanket. However, the cost of wrapping a cat in a blanket and expecting him to stay in there when he is stressed can be high. It can end up costing the life of the cat.
Anxious, nervous cats, strays, ferals or house cats can be a danger to themselves, their owners and the vet staff. Tense, fidgety and stressed cats lash out, hiss or even hide. Treatment rooms provide little hidey holes for your cat to flee to. Leave the door of your carrier open so if there is a situation where the cat has to flee, the carrier provides a safe cave to hide in. The problem of jumpy, fearful cats is a world-wide concern. As a cat-owner it falls on you to alleviate this behavior in a positive manner. Practicing this, your vet will thank you. No matter where in the world he practices.