Buying a Carrier
- Top-loading carriers make it easier to place your cat inside.
- Carriers with a top and side opening have additional versatility.
- If your carrier has a removable top, your cat may feel more secure remaining inside throughout the examination.
Practice at Home
- Leave the carrier out for several days before the appointment so your cat gets used to it.
- Put treats, toys, blankets and a favourite person’s clothes in the carrier for a comfortable and familiar environment.
- Reinforce your cat’s positive associations with the carrier using calm praise.
- Never dump your cat out of the carrier – either let her walk out or gently remove her from the carrier.
- Practice regular care such as brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing at home.
- Touch your cat’s face, ears, feet and tail at home so she will be used to similar procedures at the clinic.
- Always put your cat in a carrier when traveling in the car – it’s safer for you and your cat.
- A synthetic feline pheromone in the carrier may help your cat stay calm during transit.
- Drape a blanket or towel over the carrier to reduce motion sickness.
- Take your cat for a few short car trips to build familiarity.
- Do not feed your cat for several hours before traveling to reduce motion sickness.
- After each successful car trip, reward your pet with positive attention and treats.
At the Clinic
- Go to the veterinarian for visits that don’t involve examinations or procedures (such as weighing the cat) to create positive associations.
- Ahead of time, ask the clinic staff if you can take your cat directly to a consultation room upon arrival.
- Speak softly, because if you remain calm, chances are your cat will too
- Learn more about cat handling.
Recognising Feline Fear
It is easy to confuse fear with aggression or anger in cats. These illustrations show the progression of a cat’s facial expression and body posture from a neutral emotional state (left), through increasing levels of fear (middle and right):
- Reward good behaviour with treats and ignore bad behaviour – never speak harshly or use punishment.
- Ask a staff member if you can open the carrier so your cat can adjust to the consultation room and explore.
- Avoid direct eye contact with your cat.
- Handle your cat with a towel if necessary.
- Speak in soft, soothing tones but avoid whispering.