Veterinary Care For Your Cat
The Importance of Routine Examinations
Even if your cat is not showing any signs of being ill, it is important to visit the veterinarian on a regular basis.
Cats cannot tell us when they are not feeling well. It is instinct for them to hide pain so they do not appear weak to the other household animals. It is not uncommon for veterinarians to find ear infections, internal parasites, fleas and ticks, dental disease and weight loss during routine physical exams.
During the exam, the veterinarian will discuss any patient risks or lifestyle changes. This conversation covers vaccinations, diet recommendations, exercise options and parasite control. The health risks for your cat will change over time and with age so to help ensure long-term wellness, it is necessary to review these issues with a veterinarian regularly.
It is important to establish a “normal” baseline for your cat. If your cat is not visiting the veterinarian regularly, they will not know if your cat is losing weight or if any book work values are increasing.
Without routine visits to the veterinarian, serious issues like diabetes and renal failure would not be detected until later in the diseases process. Your cat has the best chance of survival when serious diseases are detected as early as possible.
Reducing the stress of a veterinary visit
Veterinary Visits Are Stressful for You and Your Cat
We know that getting a cat to the veterinary office can be a stressful situation for the whole household. We do not want this to be the reason why cats do not see a veterinarian on a routine basis!
Understanding your Cat’s Behavior
Cats are most comfortable with the familiar, and need time to adjust to the unfamiliar. The visit to the veterinarian is often difficult because the carrier, car and the veterinary hostile are usually unfamiliar. Respect your cat’s need for me to become familiar with new situations, people and places.
Stay calm. Cats can sense our insert or frustrations, which may cause them to become fearful or anxious.
Cats do not learn from punishment or force. Give rewards to encourage positive behavior. For example, if your cat is sitting calmly near or in the carrier, give a treat. Likewise, rewards can be given to help your cat become familiar with the type of handling that may be encountered at the veterinarian (i.e. handling paws, ears and mouth).
Helping Your Cat Become Comfortable with the Carrier
The goal is for your cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences and routinely enter voluntarily.
Put the carrier a familiar place at home by leaving it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time. Place familiar soft bedding inside the carrier. Bedding or clothing with your scent can make them feel more secure.
Place treats or toys inside the carrier to encourage the cat to enter at home. It may take days or weeks before your cat starts to trust the carrier.
Getting an Unwilling Cat into the Carrier
If your cat needs to go to the veterinarian right away, and is not accustomed to the carrier, the following may help:
- Start by putting the carrier in a small room with few hiding places. Bring the cat into the room and close the door. Move slowly and calmly. Do not chase the cat to get it into the carrier. Encourage the cat with treats or toys to walk into the carrier.
- If your cat will not walk into the carrier, and your carrier has an opening on the top, gently cradle your cat and lower in into the carrier. Another option is to remove the top half of your carrier while getting the cat to go into the bottom and half, and then calmly replace the top half.
- Use a synthetic feline facial pheromone (Feliway wipes or spray) in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transport to help calm the cat. Shop online now for Feliway and have it delivered straight to your front door!
Coming Home - Keeping the Peace in a Multi-cat Household
Cats are very sensitive to smells, and unfamiliar smalls can result in once cat no longer recognizing another. Aggressive behavior can occur when one cat senses another as a stranger. These suggestions can help avoid problems between cats following a veterinary visit:
- Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all of the cats react.
- If all of the cats appear calm and peaceful, let the returning cat out of the carrier.
- If you sense tension between the cats, or if previous home-comings have resulted in conflict, keep the cat in the carrier and take it to a separate room. Provide food, water and a litter box for a minimum of 24 hours while it regains the more familiar smell of home.