Reduce cat’s veterinary visit anxiety
Does your cat hide or become scared prior to a trip to the veterinarian? Dr. Lee shares advice for reducing anxiety in cats prior to vet visits.
Q:Although she’s sweet at home, my cat Twinkie becomes so anxious when we see the vet that she gets aggressive. What can I do about this?
Editor’s Note: First-time cat parent? These tips for taking your cat to the vet will guide you in asking the right questions during the visit.
A:Schedule an appointment with a veterinarian who makes house calls. Shortly before the visit, confine Twinkie to a bathroom so she can’t hide under furniture and become stressed when you try to pull her out.
At some point, Twinkie probably will need to visit the animal hospital, so it would be a good idea to help her feel secure about the trip. At home, accustom her to her carrier by putting especially tasty treats or a plate of yummy canned food inside. Add a soft bed or fluffy towel, so she’ll feel safe sleeping there.
Once she’s comfortable in her carrier, spray the inside of it with Feliway, the feline facial pheromone that promotes relaxation, and take her for a short ride in the car. Repeat this activity weekly until she’s calm during the drives.
Before Twinkie’s next visit to the animal hospital, ask your veterinarian about giving her medication, such as gabapentin or trazodone, to decrease her anxiety.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.