MPH Blog

Posts for: February, 2013

By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
February 07, 2013
Category: Pet Travel

 

Here Kitty, Kitty...

Has your cat caught one glimpse of the “dreaded” pet carrier and bolted for the door or to a far away hiding place just out of your reach.  We cannot tell you the amount of times an owner has had to call us to reschedule an appointment because they can't get little "Fluffy" out from under the bed! 

For your cat, a trip to the veterinarian involves dealing with one stressor after another.  We at Morena Pet Hospital understand!  After all, imagine how you may feel if after having full reign of the house, someone crammed you into a small cage, and then proceeded to load you into a car and drive you away from the warm, comfort of your own home!  As pet owners, we empathize with our pets.  When they are stressed and anxious, we become stressed and anxious.  Many of our feline pet-owners have openly admitted to being frustrated when taking their cats in for their veterinary visits.  

To help make this experience more enjoyable for both you and your cat, we have provided some tips and tools that have been known to help:

Cat Carrier

Tip # 1: Understand Why Your Cat Behaves this Way

  • Cats are most comfortable with the familiar.  So a visit to the veterinarian that involves new people, places, and situations are difficult for them.  Understand that your cat will need time to adjust.
  • Cats have the tendency to pick up on our anxiety and sense when we are frustrated, which may cause them to act in a similar manner.  It is best to remain calm.
  • Cats are not ones to learn from negative reinforcements.  Thus, punishing or forcing your cat into the carrier will be a wasted effort and may actually deter your cat from wanting to enter the carrier for future visits.  Instead, encourage your cat by offering rewards (e.g. treats, play-time, and/or affection) for positive behaviors .

Tip # 2: Get Your Cat to Associate the Carrier with Positive Experiences

  • The goal is to familiiarize your cat with the carrier so he/she will enter freely.  While at home, leave the carrier out in a room that your cat spends a lot of time and try placing treats, catnip, and/or toys inside the carrier
  • To make the carrier even more inviting,  try putting a familiar blanket or towel inside.
  • If you are still having trouble, perhaps try a different style of carrier

Tip # 3: How to Get Your Unwilling Cat Into the Carrier

In the case that your cat needs to visit the veterinarian right away and is not yet fully accustomed to the carrier, consider the following:

  • Place your cat and the carrier in a small room with very few hiding places.
  • Calmly try to encourage your cat with treats or toys.
  • If your cat is still apprehensive to enter the carrier, gently cradle your cat and lower it into the carrier opening (Many carriers now come with a top opening for just this reason!).  Another option depending on the style of carrier you have is to unscrew the bolts attaching the top portion of the carrier and gently placing your cat in the bottom portion.  Once your have your cat inside, carefully replace the top and secure the carrier by tightening the bolts. 
  • Consider using a synthetic feline facial pheromone analog spray (e.g. Feliway) in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transporting to help calm your cat

Tip # 4: After It's All Said and Done…Or Is It?  How to Keep the Peace in Multi-Cat Households.

  • Cats are very sensitive to smells and unfamiliar smells can result in one cat no longer recognizing his feline roommate.  Aggressive behavior can likely occur when one cat views another as a stranger.
  • Keep the cat in the carrier for a few minutes following a veterinary visit.  If both cats appear content, let the returning cat out of the carrier.  However, if you sense some tension or have had previous conflicts after visits, it is best to keep kitty in the carrier for a bit longer.  Take him/her to a calm, quiet room in order to avoid any potential injury from an upset cat.  Provide food, water, and a litter box for a minimum of 24 hours while your cat regains the more familiar smell of the home.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Morena Pet Hospital at (619) 275-0888.

For a full guideline document, visit www.catvets.com and www.isfm.net