Don’t try to grab your cat at the last minute before leaving the house for the veterinary appointment. This is how the experience ends up being very stressful with the cat ending up getting dragged out from under the bed and forced into the carrier. Plan ahead so you can do this in a relaxed way and so you don’t have to keep a large supply of Band-Aids in the medicine cabinet.
Do take the time to desensitize your cat to car travel. Put the cat in the carrier and then place the carrier in the car for a few minutes. In subsequent sessions work up to starting the engine and then take short drives around the block. To help a cat relax during car travel, the trip shouldn’t always end at the veterinary clinic.
Don’t forego your cat’s medical care just because of how she may react at the clinic. Routine veterinarian exams are crucial to your cat’s health.
Do periodic visits to the clinic just to get your cat comfortable with being in the environment. Quick visits, where the cat gets greeted or petted by a staff member may help reduce fear during future visits. This is especially beneficial if you’re training a kitten.
Don’t schedule your appointment for the busiest time. Unless it’s urgent, don’t make a Saturday appointment.
Do bring a towel to cover the carrier so your cat won’t feel so exposed.
Don’t allow other people or dogs to come up to the carrier. Politely inform approaching children that your cat is nervous and needs her space.
Do bring treats, an interesting toy or even some catnip to the appointment to help calm and distract your cat.
Don’t pull or shake the cat out of the carrier. Open the door and give the cat the option to explore and venture out without being yanked out.
Do give the cat the option of remaining in the carrier for as much of the exam as possible. If you use a kennel-type carrier, you can remove the top and allow the cat to remain in the bottom half.