The day you have to take your cat to the vet is rarely a highlight of your life. Whether it’s for routine vaccinations or an emergency trip because you’re worried about your cat’s health, it means stress for you, distress for your cat and potentially some new scars and claw marks for your collection.
Today we’re taking a look at the process of getting your cat to the vet so you can approach it with confidence when the time comes.
Do You Need to Go?
It’s good for you and good for your cat to make sure you’re not visiting the vet if you don’t need to. In more cases than you might think, your cat will recover at home and be happier for it.If your cat keeps vomiting, it can be dramatic and unpleasant but often clears up in a day or two and requires only that you do some cleaning up and offer some more easily digestible food for the duration.
If you’re not sure whether your cat’s in a serious condition, you could call your vet to ask for advice, or try an online vet. These services make preliminary diagnoses using video calls, and can let you know if you need to get your cat into the surgery as a matter or urgency.
Make sure you get a secure, comfortable carrier for your cat. It has to be big enough – if it’s too small they’ll be unwilling to go into it at all and even if you’re able to force them in (potentially damaging your relationship or even harming them!) it won’t be a comfortable trip. Make sure it’s big enough for your cat to turn around inside, while small enough for you to carry comfortably: it’s going to upset your cat even more to be thrown from side to side of the carrier!
Plan ahead and introduce your cat to the carrier well in advance of actually using it. If you can disassemble it, do so and let them explore just the bottom half, open to the air, first. As they get more comfortable with this you can try putting the top on and leaving the door open.
Leave blankets and toys in the carrier. You could even try feeding them in it. This ensures they have some positive associations with it: so it’s not solely an object of confinement and fear.
Check out your route to the vet in advance: you need to know where it is and how you’re going to get there. You really don’t want to be working this out when you’re carrying an anxious cat in one hand.
If you’re driving, do you know where to park? If not, do you know where bus routes stop – and can you navigate the public transport system with a cat carrier?
Working this out in advance will let you feel confident on the day when you have to take your cat in, and ensure your trip to the vet is a success, allowing you to focus on the most important thing: the wellbeing of your cat.