Taking Your Cat To the Vet

Do you dread taking your cat to see the veterinarian? Is the experience a stressful one for both you and your cat? Your cat may be less upset by going to an exclusively cat veterinarian. Read on to find out why.

Some cats of course, take a visit to the vet’s clinic in their stride, it doesn’t seem to faze them at all.
More often though, a cat will object in the strongest possible terms to being taken to a place he or she may well associate with unpleasantness. A place with strange smells, noises and sights.

A place with other animals, especially those animals that bark.

Upsets Before You Get There

cat veterinarian

Your troubles may start even before you get your pet to the vet.

Kitty does not want to get into her carrier, no way, she gets vexed.
Then when you arrive at the clinic kitty gets in a worse state, freaking out at everything. This has an effect on you, before long you are just as overwrought as your cat.
So because of this, maybe you only take your cat to the vet when you absolutely have to, perhaps you only do so in an emergency.

It does not have to be that way. There is plenty you can do to make visiting the veterinarian a positive experience.
There are things you can do to make traveling with your cat, to the vet or anywhere for that matter, far less of a harrowing undertaking. You will find travel tips on this page Cat Travel Tips
For whatever reason you take your cat to the vet, she or he is going to be handled and examined by an unfamiliar human. Some cats are pretty much at ease with this, but very many are not.
When at home get your cat used to being touched, not just in the normal places where you touch her when being groomed or petted, but also her paws and tail, and if possible her tummy too.
The vet will still be a stranger, but at least your feline friend will be a little used to human handling.
Bringing along a towel from home, full of familiar smells, for your cat to lie on while being examined may help, one of her toys may be comforting for her too.

Arriving On Time Will Help

It is always best not to be late for an appointment, but try not to arrive too early.

Arriving for your pet’s appointment on time will mean less hanging around in the reception area, with your cat and possibly you becoming more anxious by the minute.

If you can, schedule the appointment for the veterinarian’s less busy times.

This will mean you cat is more likely to be seen on time and fewer other animals and people around.
Naturally, the above applies to non-emergency visits; in an emergency your cat needs the vet’s attention as soon as possible.

A Cat Veterinarian?

There is a whole raft of possible reasons why you chose the veterinarian that you use.

Have you ever considered using a cat only veterinarian? There seems to be quite a few more of these clinics opening up these days, often they have boarding facilities and refer to themselves as cat hospitals.
Some of the advantages of using a cat only clinic are:

  • Your cat will not be stressed by coming into contact with other species of animal. Some even have screens in the waiting area so your cat will not even see another feline.
  • A cat veterinarian would likely be more sympathetic with the particular challenges of getting a cat to the clinic.
  • Reception staff and technicians would also likely to be attuned to cats needs and be adapt at helping to reduce their stress levels.
  • A cat only clinic may use feline facial pheromone diffusers, such as Feliway, to help keep cats calm.
  • Because they are attuned to the needs of felines, a cat veterinarian may allocate a somewhat longer consultation time than a general clinic in order to let your cat settle. 
  • The clinic may be designed and built to cater to the particular needs of cats.

Maybe there is not an exclusively cat veterinarian anywhere within reasonable distance. In that case look for a vet that offers cat only sessions, or a separate cat only reception room, that way your feline friend will not be stressed out by sharing a waiting area with dogs.
Above all remember that the calmer you are, the calmer your cat is likely to be.
So now you know it need not be a battle to take your cat to the vet you are likely to take her there more often.
Taking your cat for regular health checks can only be good for your cat, and in the long run it can reduce the overall cost of cat care.

On the subject of costs, many people wonder if the services of a cat veterinarian are more expensive than those of a non specializing vet. The answer is they may be, especially so if they employ the use of specialized equipment, but the difference in cost is not likely to be very much.

A version of this article first appeared in The Feline Rules, the email magazine for all things cat.

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