Hugo talks cats and vets

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Hugo the black clinic cat sits on the reception desk looking superior and imperious
Hugo - Gawler Veterinary Services CEO

It’s no secret that my feline brothers and sisters do not like coming to the vet. Nearly every cat’s human has a story about their moggie hiding somewhere hard to reach or taking a chunk out of their owner’s (or the vet’s) hand.

So what can you, our human pets, do to make our journey to, and time at, the vet clinic bearable?

Well, it’s time to hear it from the kitty’s mouth, with 5 top tips for making your cat’s visit to the vets less unpleasant.

Tip 1: The cat cage is your friend

For many of our humans, the cat cage is an item used only when necessary and kept out of kitty’s sight when not needed. But this means your moggy has no chance to get comfortable in their cage, and they will only associate the it with bad experiences.

Instead, make the cat cage part of your cat’s everyday furniture.

Bright eyed cat sits in rigid framed cat cage with door open
Remember, the cat cage can be your friend and your cat's safe place!

So don’t store your cat cage away, instead, leave it out as a safe and comfortable place for you cat. As puss gets used to the cage, and begins to associate it with safety and familiarity (rather than vet visits and discomfort), it will be much easier to get them into the cage and to the vet when the time comes.

Tip 2: Cats don’t like the unfamiliar

Cat’s rarely come to the vet. I mean, we all know why – it’s hard to get them there, it costs, and, well, look at him, he’s fine, doesn’t seem in any pain.

But cats, just like all pets, can only benefit from regular visits to the vet. Whether it’s a health check, a dental check, or just dropping in with moggy to say hello and have a pat, the more often your cat comes to the vet, the more they will get used to it.

Ginger cat getting a pat from a female hand
I tell all my humans to be ready for happy visits, where cats can come in, get a pat, and leave, helping them associate good feelings with the vet

If you’d like to bring your cat in for a pat, please do, I’ve instructed all my human employees to be ready to heap some love on our feline visitors, and to make them happy to see the vet!

Tip 3: Cats hate Cars

With a few exceptions, cats, as a general rule, hate riding in cars. The smells are strange, the landscape is always changing, everything is unfamiliar. It’s just a horror situation for moggy.

Sad looking cat sits in a car waiting to get out
The constant changing sounds, smells and environments make cats very uncomfortable in cars

But with time and patience they can get used to (and sometimes even enjoy) the driving experience. Taking your cat for drives where the end destination is not the vet can make them more comfortable with riding in the car, which makes it easier get them to the vet when the time comes.

Tip 4: Stay Calm

There aren’t too many cat owners out there who will tell you that a visit to the vet is a pleasant experience. But the anticipation and anxiety that you as an owner feel about the visit to the vet can rub off on your cat.

Your pets will pick up your body language, and they react to their owner’s nervousness. By being relaxed yourself during the visit to the vet, you can go a long way to helping your cat relax too. So, one of the best things you can do to help keep kitty calm is to be calm yourself.

Tip 5: Choose the right Vet

The last step in helping make your cat comfortable when you visit the vet is to choose the right vet! Clinics that employ low-stress handling techniques or are specifically designed to keep cats and dogs apart can go a long way to helping your moggy feel comfortable during their visit.

I’ve made it clear to my humans that this is a priority, and not only are they well on the way to achieving “cat-friendly” accreditation, they’ve even built a new clinic to give my feline friends their own separate waiting room.

So that's my advice - straight from the moggy's mouth. If you want to benefit from more of my expert feline knowledge, you can stay tuned to this blog, or check out The Tail Wag - the GVS Monthly Newspawper, where you'll find my regular column with all sorts of cat care tips.

You can take it from me - I know what cats like!

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