For many cat owners, their pet’s tendency to be independent is a big advantage – but when travel is necessary, it can be a drawback. This is a common problem faced by many of our clients around Kettering.
Whether you’re bringing your cat for their annual check-up, or you’ve arranged a one-off consultation, cats may find the experience of a vet visit stressful for a variety of reasons.
Our vet nurse Helen has put together a few tips which may help next time you visit us at our St Peters Avenue practice – but if you’d like some extra advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Why travel is stressful for cats
- Change in routine – Cats enjoy being able to depend on certain things, so when their owner suddenly keeps them indoors before a trip, or doesn’t feed them as usual, it makes them feel anxious.
- Feeling helpless – Cats like to be in control, so being trapped inside a car can make them panic.
- Feeling unwell or uncomfortable – If the usual reason for travelling with your cat is a vet visit for advice about illness or injury, your cat may come to associate travel with those things.
How you can make travel easier for your cat
- Choose a good carrier – Make sure your carrier is made of robust material and is easy to clean. Plastic is an ideal choice. Many owners prefer a carrier with a top opening, as it’s easier to lift your cat in and out, thus creating less stress.
- Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket – This will help your cat to relax. You can also add a cloth inside the carrier that smells of home, or the cat’s favourite person.
- Secure the carrier carefully in the car – If you can avoid excess movement, the journey will be more comfortable for your cat.
- Stay calm and drive sensibly – If you’re stressed, your cat will sense it. Act confidently and drive carefully, to minimise discomfort.
And on arrival at the vet clinic…
For cats, being in a waiting room full of strange smells and sounds can be terrifying – so don’t make it worse by rushing when you arrive, or being clumsy with the carrier.
Take everything slowly and calmly; and try to choose a quiet area of the waiting room. You could also consider keeping your cat in the car while you notify reception of your arrival, then bring the carrier inside when the vet is ready to see you.
There isn’t much you can do about how your cat feels about being examined, but our friendly team will always take a caring and understanding approach. If you have substantial concerns, please do contact us for extra suggestions.