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Answers from vets about your cat:

Tips for Getting Your Cat to the Vet

Reviewed by Dr. Bill Saxon DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC on Monday, June 8, 2015
Posted December 18, 2014 in My Cat's Veterinarian

Dr. Ruth MacPete offers tips to help you have an easier time getting your cat to the vet. For more from Dr. MacPete, find her on Facebook or at!

There are more cats in American homes than dogs, yet despite their popularity, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that cats are brought to the veterinarian less often than dogs.

Cat stressed out and hiding

Why is this true? Don’t cat parents love their pets as much as dog parents do? Of course they do, so why the discrepancy? Anyone with cats will confide that they don’t go as often as they should because their cats hate going to the vet. Some cats become so stressed that they vomit or defecate from fear. Others transform into hissing and spitting balls of fury. You know you should be taking your cat to the veterinarian for their routine wellness examination at least once a year, and more frequently if you have a senior cat, but the mere thought of it probably makes your blood pressure rise. Is there anything you do to make the visit less stressful for you and your cat? Here are a few tips to make the visit a more pleasant experience for you and your feline friend.

1. Bring out the carrier out a few days ahead so that your cat can become accustomed to it. Leave the door of the crate open so they can come and go and explore as they please.

2. Spray the interior of your cat carrier with a synthetic feline pheromone product. These products have been shown to prevent and decrease stress in cats. So try spraying the inside of your cat carrier with one of these products 30 minutes before using it. This simple step may help to calm your cat and decrease anxiety.

3. Use lots of treats. Put some your cat’s favorite treats inside the carrier. Try putting treats or catnip inside your cat carrier so that your cat associates the carrier with a positive experience. Avoid treats if your cat is being fasted for anesthesia or special blood testing.

4. Make the carrier more inviting by placing a cozy blanket from home and favorite toys inside. Putting familiar objects inside will make the carrier less foreign and more inviting.

5. Practice makes perfect. Go on mock trips to the vet with your cat. Even if you just drive around the block,

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.