Your cat needs regular exam to stay healthy and live a long, happy life.
Getting your cat to the veterinary clinic is challenging sometimes, but it’s worth it.
Here are a few tips to make it easier for both of you:
- Start with a carrier that is easy to take your cat in and out of (top loading carriers work best)
- Help your cat be more comfortable in the car by using the carrier and taking short rides to place other than the veterinary clinic
- Avoid feeding your cat for several hours before riding in the car (cats travel better on an empty stomach)
- Bring your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you to the veterinary clinic
- Practice regular care routines at home. like grooming, nail trimming and teeth brushing
- Pretend to do routine veterinary procedures with your cat, like touching the cat’s face, ears, feet and tail
- Give your cat and veterinary healthcare team a chance to interact in a less stressful situation by taking your cat to the clinic for a weight check, rather than only for exam and procedures
Here are questions that veterinary professionals frequently get asked about cats.
Q: I’ve heard that cats are naturally very healthy and don’t need to go to the veterinarian as often as dogs do. Is this right?
A: Cats are no more or less healthy than dogs and require annual wellness exams just as much as dogs do. Also, cats are notorious for hiding illness, and cat owners may not be aware their cats are sick until the illness has become critical and requires longer and more extensive treatment.
Q: I can’t get my kitty in a carrier to take her to the veterinarian. She runs off and hides and then when I find her and pick her up, she tries to bite and scratch me. It’s been almost two years since she’s been to the veterinarian. Any ideas would be helpful, because I know she needs her shots.
A: Your cat is just being fearful of the carrier because it means a ride in the car and a visit to an unfamiliar place. Try keeping the carrier open in your home with her favorite blanket, toy or treats in it. This allows her to become accustomed to the carrier and see it as a comfortable place to sleep or play. After a couple of weeks of this, try getting her in the carrier and taking a short ride in the car. Do this several more times so she’ll begin to lose her fear and allow you to get her to the clinic for the exam. For more tips of taking your cat to the veterinarian, watch our helpful instructional video.
Q: My cat is very healthy, so I don’t know why she needs to go to the veterinarian every year for an exam. If she get sick, I’ll know it and we’ll go then.
A: Did you know that cats instinctively hide illness? There’s a good chance you won’t know if your cat is sick, especially in the early stages of any illness. Annual exams may uncover an underlying illness or condition. Diagnosing illnesses or conditions and beginning treatment early can save your cat a lot of suffering later if the disease or condition has progressed.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners and American Animal Hospital Association recommend a minimum of one annual wellness exam for cats, with more frequent exams for senior and geriatric patients, or those cats with medical or behavioral conditions
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