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Posted on 01-02-2015

The Cat Carrier Nightmare - tricks for getting your cat to the Vet.

   One of the most difficult tasks for any cat owner is putting their pet into a carrier. It's one of the most common reasons we hear for missed or canceled appointments.  It is a common scenario that as soon as the carrier is taken out at home, the cat disappears. The struggle then begins - pulling the cat out from underneath the bed or from behind the sofa. This is because your cat associates that crate with one thing - going to the Vets! Instead of storing the carrier in the garage or basement, and taking it out for that once or twice a year trip, make the carrier a comfortable, safe  place for your cat to sleep and escape to all year round. Put the carrier in a safe, quiet place like your bedroom.  Leave the crate door open - or take the door off all together - place a comfy bed or towels inside, and put some treats or catnip inside.  Eventually, your cat will become more comfortable with the carrier. It's even easier if you start this when your cat is a kitten.

 For travel, a hard sided crate that opens from the front and top is the safest and typically the easiest.  Cats should not be allowed out of the crate in the car; in the case of an accident, cats typically escape and usually are not found.  Also, cats find a way of wedging themselves under the car's pedals making your trip more dangerous.  A crate provides safety and protection for your cat while traveling and in the vet’s waiting room. It is important to always use a seat-belt to secure the carrier!

   Some carriers' tops can easily be taken apart, allowing you to place your cat inside without using the door.  When shopping for a carrier take your time and choose one that will be easy to access and comfortable for your cat.   Putting the cat in the carrier backwards (rear end first) seems to work better for cats that fight or put up a struggle, or even turning the carrier upwards and dropping in from above works well.  Be careful not to get bitten or scratched, some cats put up quite a fight.

   Anti-anxiety medicine can be very helpful.  A very effective anti anxiety product that we have for purchase is Feliway.  It is a synthetic feline pheromone that relaxes most cats – spay and wipes work well for carriers.  Rescue Remedy – purchased at pet stores – can be very help also, but must be given sometime before the ride. 

   While it can be a challenge getting your cat to the Veterinarian's office it's very important that every cat has a physical exam every year to catch potential medical problems before it’s too late – issues such as dental disease, weight gain or loss, and internal diseases such as diabetes are often detectable in their early stages, when they are easier to treat.. Preventative health care can allow your cat to have a healthier, longer, more comfortable life.  Vaccines are important, but the examination is too.  Hopefully these tips make it easier for you to bring you cat to the office!

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