As a cat owner, you know that making a regular trip to the local cat hospital or veterinarian's office for a check-up is important to your cat's health. You'll have to forgive your cat though if it doesn't see things this way. Cats are notorious for getting stressed out when suddenly thrust into a situation with other unfamiliar animals. If you want your next trip to the vet to go over smoothly, here are some tips that might help keep your cat's stress levels down.
Introduce the Carrier Ahead of the Visit
If you don't regularly place your cat inside a carrier except for when it's time for a trip to the pet doctor, the cat is going to know something is up when the carrier comes out. This likely means that just the sight of the carrier will be enough to stress out your cat and change its behavior. Get around this by introducing the carrier into your cat's normal living situation. It might take some time to adjust if your cat already associates the carrier with the pet doctor but you can help smooth things over by placing some treats or favorite toys inside the carrier.
If your cat is starting to freak out, it can feel natural to want to raise your voice in anger. But this is the worst thing you can do in this situation. Cats may not understand humans but they can certainly pick up on a tone of voice and overall mood. Yelling at your cat is only going to increase its stress level and likely lead to more bad behavior. Speak in a soft tone throughout the experience and gently stroke the cat if waiting inside the veterinarian's office for your appointment.
Reward Good Behavior
If your cat comes around and starts acting, well, normal again during a pet doctor visit, you should seek to reinforce that behavior. Continue speaking in a soft tone, praising your cat. But also don't be afraid to bring a couple treats with you on the trip to give to your cat at the pet doctor's office once the desired behavior is achieved. Go with a favorite toy instead if you are worried your cat might still be a bit nervous and might vomit up the treat.
Cats are smart creatures and can pick up on visual and audio cues that will inform it if a visit to the veterinarian's office or cat hospital is in progress. By normalizing the pet carrier and reinforcing good behavior with a treat or favorite toy, you may eventually be able to get your cat to handle a vet visit without a hitch. For more information, check with a professional like those at the Cat Care Clinic.