Managing Your Cats Stress when Traveling to the Veterinarian Office

The feline species is often misunderstood.  Their character can be silly and fun loving, but often times a mystery, especially when they are put in stressful situations. Considering cats can be hard to read and possibly even unpredictable, many people hold off on taking their cats to the veterinarian, even when it becomes a necessity. Due to the stress of getting cats in a carrier, driving them in a car, and taking them to an unknown place, cats often become stressed from the situation.  

Annual exams are important because a doctor can diagnose and treat issues before they become extreme problems.  Sadly, most cats only visit the doctor when they become very sick or injured. To become more proactive in your cat’s healthcare, and reduce stress for all our feline friends, South Town Animal Hospital wants to offer some suggestions to help make the trip a little easier for your cats next venture to the doctors office.  

  • Plan Ahead

Start planning ahead a few days before your actual appointment. Limit the rooms or area your pet has access to in your home. This will make life much easier to find your cat when it is time to go.  Cats are masters of hiding, the less small tight areas your pet has to hide, the better. Close bedroom doors to prevent your cat from hiding in the closet or under the bed.

  • Prepare Your Cat Carrier

Next, make sure you have a good carrier for your cat to travel in.  A small carrier is the preferred method of feline travel. Small, plastic carriers keep cats contained safely when outdoors or in the car. Cats are fight or flight creatures. Carriers reduce the risk of cats getting spooked and fleeing the scene.  It also protects them from interacting with something that they are unfamiliar with.

  • Make the Carrier a Friendly Place 

It is recommended to put the carrier out days before the actual event.  This way on appointment day taking the carrier out does not frighten Fluffy away.  Conditioning your cat to be comfortable with a carrier instead of associating it with a stressful event is key to success. Also placing a blanket and treats in the carrier to make it as friendly as possible can be consoling. In addition, placing a towel over the carrier to make it dark can reduce stress. Cats are primarily nocturnal, and find great comfort and peace in darker spaces. 

  • Use Proper Loading Techniques

Make sure your carrier has proper air flow and is functional before your visit.  Carriers typically have doors on the front. Some have doors on the front and top for easier loading purposes. If your carrier only has a front door, and you are having troubles putting your cat in the carrier, tipping the carrier horizontally with the door facing up and loading your cat rear end first is often helpful when you have a resistant cat. 

  • Apply a Calming Spray

There are times when you need a little extra something to help calm your kitty for the trip.  Feliway is a highly recommended product that can assist. Feliway is a feline facial pheromone spray that is used to calm cats in times of stress. When a cat rubs his face against furniture or items in their environment they are actually releasing pheromones to signify that this is a safe territory.  Feliway was created to mimic this pheromone. When sprayed it induces a calming effect for our cats. 

Feliway is not to be sprayed directly on your cat, but can be used on the carrier, or in the car for travel. It is virtually odorless, so to spray it in your cars interior is a great idea.  You can also spray it on the blanket or towel that you place in the carrier. For more questions on this product or to purchase contact South Town Animal Hospital.

  • Please call us if any questions

South Town Animal Hospital knows that getting your kitty to the doctor can be challenging.  We understand. Hopefully these few tips will help the journey, and of course if you have any questions call or contact us at or (847)695-7387. We believe in healthy pets, longer lives and our staff can help your furry loved ones visit to be as painless and stress-free as possible. 

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Dr Denise Crittenden

Dr Deborah Groth

Dr Sheri Cody

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