Me: “Close the bedroom door! I’ve almost got the carrier ready! No..wait…she saw me! Did you close the bedroom door?”
Me: “Ouch!!!!! Grab her!!! Whew that was close! Ok! Got her……no blood…wait…is this blood? No…ok, I’m good.”
I’m not sure if this is a relatable conversation in your home or not, but I have a feeling that it is the way it goes with getting a cat ready for a visit for lots of people and their families.
The assumption is that getting our feline friends ready for a visit, whether it’s their first visit or a regular checkup might turn out like this scenario….and more times than not, the bedroom door doesn’t actually get closed and the cat ends up hiding under the bed for the next 12 days!
All joking aside, this can be a very anxiety-ridden time for our cats, and us as well. The fantastic news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. By just following a few simple steps or recommendations to prepare our cat and ourselves, this can be as easy as deciding whether or not to eat that extra piece of pizza our spouse or child left behind.
So….. before I share these with you, just understand that all cats and pets, for that matter, are different and have to take time to get acclimated to the process before a vet visit. Especially if it is their first visit. We need to put ourselves in their shoes….I mean paws, when we decide the time is upon us for the visit. Even if we have had other pets before and things went smoothly, it doesn’t mean that it will always be so…But at least with some preparation, we have a fighting chance.
Socialization is a great way to start the process before the first visit. For kittens, it is said that between 2-7 weeks is an appropriate amount of time for them to get used to their first friends and first places. Older cats may need even more time due to the unknown set of circumstances and experiences that they are bringing with them to their new loving homes. The initial keys are patience, understanding, and of course love. The more positive interactions with people and other suitable animals that they can have will put you both ahead of the game. A good practice to begin from the start, is to handle your cat as much as possible… Rub their paws so that the first nail clipping encounter is no stress at all.
The Dreaded Carrier:
I don’t know about you, but the thought of being stuck in an unfamiliar box definitely would cause me to pause, think, and believe it or not, act out ferociously upon first encounter! With that being said, the first step is essential. Start out acclimating your kitties to the carrier as soon as you get them, by feeding them inside of it. This will help reduce fear and angst upon the first visit to the vet. Go for short rides as well in the beginning and always end up at home without making stops. A common misconception is that this is only for dogs. Be sure to drape a blanket over the carrier so that they feel warm and safe inside. The motion of the car ride will become soothing and something they expect. As humans, we all have gadgets and knick-knacks that we tote with us everywhere we go. It is a good idea to put something familiar in their carrier with them, like a blanket or toy.
The Pre-Vet Visit:
In the beginning, a visit to the vet can be just a place to go and meet new friends. You can do yourself and your cats a favor, by dropping by the vet before a scheduled visit and feeding them there or just letting them check out the smells! Most vets always have their patients’ needs at the center of their practice. I am sure that this will almost always be allowed, if not encouraged.
Now you have a few ideas and tips that may seem obvious at first glance, but because of the stress involved, it’s essential to get things right! The caring staff at Aloha Veterinary Hospital want to be your first choice when it comes to helping you shape and develop this long-term, loving relationship between you and your pets!