Transporting Your Cat To The Vet
Transporting your cat to the clinic is often seen as a stressful experience. It doesn’t have to be this way! Taking steps to minimise the stress associated with travelling really helps us to build a positive relationship with your cat and to treat them effectively. Here are some top tips from selecting the perfect cat carrier to arriving at Castle Vets!
Cat Carrier Selection
Things to consider when buying a cat carrier:
- The carrier should be large enough to allow the cat to lie down and turn around comfortably, but not too large that it is unsafe for transport
- The carrier should have at least 2 entry points via the front and the top. It’s really useful if the entire top half of the carrier can be removed as the cat can then be examined in the bottom half if they’re more comfortable here than on the consultation table
- The carrier should provide the cat with space to hide - the carrier should not be clear plastic. Cats don’t like to feel exposed, particularly in unfamiliar environments
- The carrier should be able to be covered by a blanket or towel to make the cat feel safe
Preparation of the carrier
You’ve picked a great cat carrier, now to make it feel like home!
- Your cat’s carrier should feel like a safe space for them when in the veterinary clinic. You can build up this association by having it out all the time at home. If you only bring it out when it’s time for a vet visit, it becomes a pretty scary thing to see! We need to avoid this by making it a normal part of their environment
- Train your cat from a young age to enjoy going in their carrier by using soft bedding, feeding them in/near it or playing with them around it. Reward them with treats when they use it so it becomes a fun place to be
- Encourage your cat to go in it by placing it in a space where they like to rest or in an elevated location as cats love to sit up high
- Spray the carrier with a synthetic pheromone spray to reduce stress
If you’ve done these steps, placing your cat inside the carrier should be quick, easy and stress-free! Remember, when carrying the carrier with a cat inside, carry it from the bottom (rather than from the handle) against your chest so it is safe from breakage and motion within the carrier is minimised.
Transport in the car
Time to travel to the clinic. Cat’s generally aren’t used to car travel so here are some tips to make it more comfortable for them:
- Only transport two cats in the same carrier if it is large enough and they are comfortable together. If they aren’t used to being so close or they don’t get alone, they may fight and arrive at the clinic already very stressed
- Cover the cat carrier with a blanket or towel so the cat isn’t worried by unfamiliar surroundings. Even better, spray the towel with a synthetic pheromone spray beforehand!
- Play quiet, calm music in the car. Classical music is shown to be calming for cats so this is a good choice
- Drive as gently as possible and avoid startling noises
- Place the cat carrier somewhere secure, such as behind the front seats on the floor. This minimises movement and noise, as well as being more protective in the case of an accident.
Arrival and the waiting room
You’ve made it to the clinic stress-free... success! Here are some tips for within the practice to keep the calm:
- Place cat carriers above ground level. This can be on your lap, on a chair next to you or on the table and stands provided by us
- Feel free to use the blankets and pheromone sprays provided in our waiting area
- Never take your cat out of the carrier or open the carrier when in the waiting room to avoid escape and exposure to other animals
- Try to keep noise in the waiting room to a minimum
- Feel free to feed your cats some yummy treats while you wait!