…And What You Can Do to Help
After a decade in practice, I’m thankful I’ve only had to go the hospital for a cat bite once. Since then, I’ve gained a lot of experience and understanding of the feline psyche, and my best summation of how cats perceive going to the vet is this: It’s an alien abduction.
Think about it. For the most part, cats live their whole lives in a relatively small area, and an overwhelming majority of them love it that way.
The most important aspect of a cat’s life is their territory (which includes you). Their territory is their world, their home planet.
Most cats rarely travel in cars and only ever see a travel carrier when they are headed to the vet. Imagine, you’re living your life on your home planet, then you are forced into a pod, and thrust into a metal vessel, and taken to a faraway place that smells aseptic and strange. While there, a weird, hairless ape pokes and prods you. Then, you are thrust back into the pod, whisked home, and your owner acts like nothing happened.
I’m honestly surprised more cats haven’t attacked me. I’d like to think I’d put up a fight too, if I was abducted by aliens. However, maybe if they had a nice spread out and some calming aromatherapy, I’d be amenable to some polite questioning.
Making the Vet Visit as Low Stress as Possible
So that’s what we try to do for your feline family members. Here at Medical District Veterinary Clinic, we are Fear Free Certified. This means all the staff members here have taken training in how to make the veterinary experience as low stress as possible.
We have cat treats at the ready, Feliway spray aplenty, and a separate cat area. We also have gone to great lengths to learn how cats think and how to read their body language. We understand what’s important to them.
Cats often get a bad rap. People think that cats are aloof and don’t care about anything, but cats care about everything! Please know that we are doing our best to be peaceful and compassionate alien overlords.
Try This at Home
There are a few things you can do as well to make the trip to the vet a little less stressful. The first is getting your furry felines accustomed to the carriers you use to take them places.
Just bringing the carrier out before a vet visit can be a trigger. If you’re able to leave the carriers out, put your cat’s favorite treats or toys in there. This small step can help greatly to reduce your cat’s aversion to the carrier.
You can also try using products like Feliway spray, Composure treats for cats, or Rescue Remedy. If you think your kitty needs something stronger, talk to us and we may prescribe medications to help make the visit less stressful. For more information about eliminating the stress in your cat’s life, The Ohio State University Veterinary College has a wonderful site call the Indoor Pet Initiative with information about dogs and cats.
So remember, next time Fluffy’s wellness exam comes around, you may be envisioning All Creatures Great and Small, but they may be thinking more Schwarzenegger in Predator.
—Alyssa Kritzman, DVM