Now that you understand the importance regular veterinary exams, the real challenge is in getting him or her there. This can be a daunting task: wrestling your loved one into a small, unfamiliar carrier and then exposing them to the noisy, bumpy car ride – only to arrive at the most dreaded of all destinations: the vet! Unlike dogs, who go on regular walks and car rides, the outdoors is an unfamiliar and intimidating place for many cats. Leaving their comfort zone can be incredibly stressful, and minimizing their stress before even leaving the house will lead to a more pleasant trip and a more rewarding vet visit! The key to this is in kitty’s carrier. It should be big enough that he or she can turn around in it, but doesn’t need to be much larger. It’s best if there is a top and front entrance, ideally with an easily removable lid. Next is the most crucial step: getting your cat to like the carrier. This may take some time, but if done right, you will be happy you did! Start by leaving the carrier open in a quiet, undisturbed area of the house where your pet enjoys lounging. You may put a favorite toy or blanket in the carrier so that they feel comfortable lying in it. You can reinforce lying in it with treats or catnip. When it comes time to go to the vet, allow plenty of time to get prepared, so that your kitty does not detect your rushed or anxious nature. You may want to spray a feline facial pheromone, like Feliway, inside the carrier to help reduce stress further. You can use treats or catnip to entice your cat to enter its carrier, then close kitty in. Make sure the garage is already open before carrying them to the car, to avoid unnecessary startling noises. Sometimes covering the carrier with a blanket can help kitty feel even more secure and remove visual stimulation that may be stressful. And then you’re on your way! A trip to the vet may never be kitty’s favorite pastime, but with a little care and attention, the trip may not be half bad.
Here’s a great video for more detailed tips and information: http://www.catalystcouncil.org/resources/health_welfare/cat_carrier_video/