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Tips For Taking Your Cat To The Vet: Make A Low-Stress Trip

graphic showing tips for taking your cat to the vet
Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

You and your cat have likely figured out the perfect routine, so when something like a visit to your local vet arises, it can cause quite the disruption. The journey of taking your cat to the vet can be rough and filled with anxiety and frustration for both you and your cat. Your cat may get scared, apprehensive, or aggressive when it comes time to get in the car or into the vet’s office, but the visits are often necessary. How do you make going to the vet for your cat less-traumatic?

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we have treated many feline friends as if they were our own. We understand how important it is for your cat to come see us in Colorado Springs, but we want to help ease the stress of bringing your cat into our veterinary clinic. We’ve provided a list of strategies to make this a much easier process for both you and your cat.

graphic showing tips for taking your cat to the vet

The Carrier

Your cat likely associates the carrier with negative experiences like going to the vet, so they may be resistant to it. Fortunately, there are ways to transform your pet’s perspective on his carrier. Start by making the carrier a daily part of your pet’s life rather than just a means for occasional transport. Place comfortable bedding in the carrier and keep it in a location where your cat may comfortably nap inside. If your cat starts to associate time in the carrier as a good thing, then it will be much easier to transport to the vet later.

The Car Ride

Unlike dogs, cats do not often go on car rides that lead to fun places like parks or hiking trails. Take the time to slowly introduce your cat to car rides. Start with putting your cat inside their carrier in the car and going on small drives, even a quick trip around the block will do wonders! Gradually increase the length of the trips and provide positive associations with each car ride through treats or extra affection.

The Waiting Room

The waiting room can be an especially frightening place for your feline companion. The combination of unfamiliar cats, dogs, and humans can increase your cat’s anxiety. Take a moment to put a towel with a familiar scent—pheromones work well—over your cat’s carrier so they can’t view the waiting room. Make sure you keep your cat inside his carrier rather than holding them in your arms, so that they are secure. If needed, communicate with the veterinary office in advance to see if you can stay in your car until the exam room is ready for you both.

The Exam Room

There are various strategies you can implement before and during the exam process to make the experience more comfortable for your cat. Far in advance, you can work with your cat to build their tolerance to being handled. Practice safely picking up your cat and have your friends do the same so they can become familiar with various touches and people. During the exam, you can make your feline friend more comfortable by bringing a blanket or towel with familiar scents from home as well as toys to distract. Be sure to speak to your cat in a soothing, calm voice and allow your veterinarian to take time playing with your cat to make him comfortable.

Looking for a Cat-Friendly Vet? Give us a Call.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we want to ease the process of bringing your pet in to see us so that both you and your cat are significantly more comfortable with the process. Gradually implementing the different strategies mentioned combined with a great deal of positive reinforcement will set you both up for success. Fortunately, many of these tips and tricks will apply to a lot of situations your cat may face.

Whether it is time for an annual exam, dental check-up, microchipping, or anything else your cat may need, we are here to help. We are happy to discuss scheduling your cat’s exam during a time when the waiting room is a bit more quiet as well. Contact us to schedule an appointment or ask questions about what a cat’s visit to the vet looks like at Ponderosa!

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.