For many cat owners, taking kitty to the veterinarian is so fraught with struggle and discomfort that they avoid visits altogether. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats outnumber dogs as pets in this country, but dog owners take their pets to the veterinarian twice as often as cat owners do.
Your cat's good health is dependent on regular examinations. The good news is that there's plenty you can do to make the veterinary experience a better one for both you and your pet.
Cat Veterinary Office Tips
Marilyn Krieger, a Redwood City, Calif., certified cat behavior consultant, recommends using a hard carrier. Begin by taking the top off and leaving the bottom out for your cat. Place a soft, familiar blanket or treats in the carrier. Play with your kitty around the carrier. Eventually, you can add the top, but leave the door off. "Put the door on after your cat goes in and out on its own," says Krieger. When you're ready to travel with the carrier, try a spritz of Feliway, a calming pheromone spray. Bring another towel to cover the carrier, which can provide some security.
What Your Veterinarian Can Do
Veterinarians can also work to make each visit a better experience. They should consider:
If both you and your veterinarian work to control the experience, you're likely to be pleasantly surprised.
Kim Boatman is a Northern California-based journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as The Miami Herald, Detroit Free Press and San Jose Mercury News. She is a lifelong lover of animals and shares her home with three adopted cats.
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