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Tips on taking your cat to the veterinarian

THE CAT CARRIER

  • Always transport your cat in a carrier or other safe container. Cats can also be trained to be on a leash. This works well for cats who refuse to get into a carrier. However cats on leashes may be more susceptible to dog “attacks” at the vet clinic vs. those in a carrier.
  • You can help your cat view the carrier as a safe haven and "home away from home." You can do this by keeping the carrier out and open in your home. Put a few kibbles of Science Diet® or Ideal Balance™ cat food and treats, her favorite toys, or blankets inside to entice your cat into the carrier.
  • Carriers with both top and front openings are recommended. Top-loading carriers allow for stress-free placement and removal of your cat. It also enables her to be examined while she remains in the bottom half of the carrier.
  • Bring your cat's favorite treats, toys, and blanket. If she likes to be groomed, bring her favorite grooming equipment.
  • If your cat has had negative experiences at a veterinary hospital, your veterinarian may prescribe a short-duration antianxiety medication that should be given approximately one hour prior to the visit.

THE CAR RIDE

  • Take your cat for regular car rides in the carrier, starting with very short ones, to places other than the vet’s office.
  • Because your cat may get carsick, do not feed her for at least an hour prior to travel.

AT THE VETERINARIAN

  • Remain calm and speak in a soft voice to help your cat remain calm. If the situation is upsetting for you, your cat may do better if you step out of the room during the exam.
  • Always allow a trained veterinary team member to handle your cat. Even the sweetest and most laid-back cat can become excited and fearful in a strange environment. Anxiety may cause your cat to act out of character and bite or scratch.
  • Your veterinary health care team is there to support you and your cat during this process. Discuss techniques that might make future visits more relaxing for both you and your cat.
  • Reward desired behaviors, even small ones, with treats, verbal praise, and other things your cat enjoys (e.g., brushing, massaging, playing). Giving a Science Diet® or Ideal Balance™ cat treat is a great way to reinforce your cat’s good behavior.

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