Getting to the veterinary hospital can be stressful for both you and your cat. The process of getting him/her into the cat carrier, the journey, the waiting room and then the examination can be very stressful. We are dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your cat so they can receive the medical care that they deserve. Below are some helpful tips for traveling to the veterinarian with your cat.
- Your cat will be less alarmed if the carrier smells familiar and reassuring.
- Ideally the carrier should be ‘part of the furniture’ and somewhere your cat chooses to sleep or is fed, so it does not only appear when a visit to the vet is imminent!
- Put bedding in the carrier that your cat normally sleeps on or curls up on at home.
- Also place an article of clothing belonging to your cat’s favorite person in the carrier.
- Wipe a soft cloth around your cat’s face to pick up its scent and rub this around the carrier, especially in the corners, and then leave it in the basket.
- At least 15-30 minutes before putting your cat inside the carrier, spray the carrier with Feliway® (a calming synthetic cat scent or pheromone). Apply one spray to each corner of the carrier and two sprays on the floor and ceiling. Feliway® is available for purchase at our hospital. For further information about Feliway®, visit their website.
- For extended vet stays (hospitalization) plug in a Feliway® Diffuser at home for your cat’s return.
- Take some spare bedding (smelling of home) in case your cat is sick or soils the carrier.
Re-Introducing Your Cat to Other Cats at Home
Your cat will have picked up unfamiliar scents while at the hospital. This may be more marked if it has stayed overnight or longer. These smells may provoke anxiety if you have other cats at home. It is best to re-introduce the returning cat gently:
- Make sure you are present to assess the response when the cats are re-introduced.
- Don’t overwhelm the returning cat with attention from humans, other cats or dogs.
- Keep the cats apart initially so that the returning cat can pick up the familiar smells of home.
- If any bedding was left with your cat in the hospital, wash this when you get it home to remove smells of the hospital. Put fresh bedding in with the returning cat that smells of home.
- Mix the cats’ scents by stroking one and then the other, particularly around the head area, and perhaps exchange their bedding.
- If needed, keep your cats in separate rooms for a few hours, or a day or two and allow some gradual supervised contact.
- Spray the areas of your home where the cats spend most of their time with the synthetic cat pheromone (scent) Feliway®.
- Feliway® Diffusers are also available to plug in at home for your cats return.
If you have any questions or concerns about bringing your kitty to the hospital, please do not hesitate to contact one of our healthcare team members. If you would like tips on getting your cat into the carrier, read this article on our website
This information has been adapted from the International Cat Care (iCatCare).