East Padden Animal Hospital is now a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Cat Friendly Practice (CFP) program! The CFP’s mission is to innovate and raise the standards of feline pet care. Founded in 2012, this program conducts research, identifies trends, and creates strategic solutions for the unique needs of cats in the veterinary industry. Our Silver Standard certification means that our practice has incorporated the optimum cat friendly practices to educate cat owners about feline behavior, reduce the stress caused by veterinary visits, and adopt innovative techniques to address feline needs including updates to facilities, equipment, and staff training with feline handling.
Frequent veterinary visits lead to a longer and more comfortable life for your cat. However, getting your pet to the veterinarian can be a challenge in itself. Making the trip less stressful is the key to an easy visit and a happy cat.
Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior
Cats are most comfortable with the familiar and need time to adjust to the unfamiliar. A veterinary visit is often difficult because the carrier, car, and the veterinary hospital are new, strange places. Allowing time for your cat to become comfortable with each new location will make the trip much easier. Remember to stay calm. Cats can sense their owner’s anxiety or frustrations, which may cause them to become fearful or anxious. Treats and other positive reinforcement are a great way to reward behavior and create an enjoyable association with veterinary visits.
Getting Your Cat to the Vet
Your cat carrier is an important component in getting your pet to the vet. The goal is for your cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences and routinely enter voluntarily. Make the carrier a familiar place by leaving it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time and then place treats, catnip, or toys inside to encourage the cat to enter. It may take days or weeks until your cat starts to trust the carrier. Remain calm, patient, and reward desired behaviors.
Unwilling cats can often be persuaded using toys and treats to lure them into entering the carrier. If they are still resistant, calmly cradle your pet and place them inside. Consider applying synthetic feline facial pheromone (Feliway®) analog spray to the carrier 30 minutes prior to transport to calm the cat and facilitate the process.
Coming Home—Keeping the Peace in a Multi-cat Household
Cats are very sensitive to scent, and unfamiliar smells can result in one cat no longer recognizing another. When coming home from the vet, leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all of your cats react. If all cats appear calm and peaceful, let the returning cat out of the carrier. If you sense tension or aggression between the cats, keep the cat in the carrier and take it to a separate room to avoid potential injury. Provide food, water and a litter box for a minimum of 24 hours while it regains the more familiar smell of home.