THE CAT CARRIER
Always transport the cat in a carrier or other safe container.
Train cats to view the carrier as a safe haven and "home away from home." Keep the carrier out in the home. Put a few kibbles of Science Diet™ cat food, favorite toys, or blankets inside to entice the cat into the carrier.
Carriers with both top and front openings are recommended. Top-loading carriers allow for stress-free placement and removal of the cat and enable them to be examined while remaining in the bottom half of the carrier.
Bring the cat's favorite treats, toys, and blanket. If the cat likes to be groomed, bring its favorite grooming equipment.
If the cat has previously had negative experiences at a veterinary hospital, the veterinarian may prescribe a short-duration antianxiety medication that should be given approximately one hour prior to the visit.
THE CAR RIDE
Take the cat for regular rides in the carrier, starting with very short ones, to places other than the veterinary hospital.
Because cats may get carsick, do not feed the cat for at least an hour prior to travel.
AT THE HOSPITAL
Reward desired behaviors, even small ones, with treats, verbal praise, and other things the cat likes (e.g., brushing, massaging, playing).
Remain calm and speak in a soft voice to help the cat remain calm. If a situation is upsetting for the pet owner, the cat may do better if that person leaves the room.
Always allow a trained veterinary team member to handle the cat. Even the sweetest and most laid-back cat can become aroused and fearful in a strange environment. Anxiety may cause the cat to act out of character and bite or scratch.
Discuss techniques that might make future visits more relaxing for the pet owner and the cat.
Download a printable PDF of these tips.
Source: Making Your Practice Feline-friendly Brochure
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