Two ways a person can prepare their cat for a vet appointment

Here are two ways that a person can prepare their cat for a vet appointment.

They can work on desensitising their cat to being handled

When a cat is brought in for an appointment, the vet will almost always need to perform a physical exam. If a person prepares their cat for this examination, their pet will be less likely to get anxious or aggressive and then make it difficult for the vet to evaluate them. One reason why a cat may become anxious or aggressive is due to them being unused to being handled and examined. If for example, a person pets their cat on the head regularly but never touches their torso or their paws and never carries them, then this cat is more likely to have a bad reaction when the vet tries to pick them up or when they examine the cat's body at an appointment.

As such, it's important for a cat owner who has booked a vet appointment to try to gradually desensitise their cat to being handled in the way that they will during the vet's examination of them. They can do this by lightly petting their cat on the back and on their face, gently holding each of their paws for a few seconds at a time and picking them up for brief periods. Ideally, they should do this when the cat is relaxed and should stop right away if the cat reacts badly. If they do this regularly, the cat should begin to feel more comfortable with being handled in this manner and their future vet appointments should go quite smoothly.

They should focus on creating a calming environment for their cat on the journey to the vet

Cats are not known for enjoying travel and many get anxious when they're put into their carriers and are driven in vehicles. If a cat has a distressing journey to the vet, it's more likely they will get aggressive or very nervous when the time comes for the vet to examine them. As such, a person in this situation should also try to create a calming environment for their cat on the journey to the vet. They can do this by making the carrier's interior as comfortable as possible for their cat. They might, for example, want to put a fluffy blanket inside it, along with any toys that could distract and soothe their pet.

Additionally, if their vet says it's safe to do so, the pet owner could also sprinkle some catnip inside the carrier. This could calm the cat down and ensure they arrive at the vet clinic in a relaxed state. However, because the effects of catnip are quite short-lived, it's best for the owner to wait until they are approaching the vet clinic before dispersing the catnip inside the carrier. Timing the use of it in this way will mean that it will have a calming effect on the cat during the period when they'll be in their carrier in the waiting room and surrounded by other animals, which is when they're likely to be at their most anxious.