A lot of people have cats as their pets. In some countries, there are even more cats as pets than dogs. However, cats and their care is not on the same level as it is with dogs. Some contribute to how hard it is to calm a cat, put it in the basket and bring it to the vet. Cats are environmental beings which means that they have problems traveling from their established safe space, even if it’s just going to the vet. There are options that can calm a cat for these purposes, one of them is getting the cats used to the travel box. Even putting a blanket or a towel over the box can help. Familiar smells can also reduce stress, this can be done by putting a familiar piece of clothing in the carrier.
In order to learn more about this, keep reading the article by Dr. Med. Vet. Maeva Roman.
The number of domestic cats is increasing in most countries and often exceeds the number of dogs, but their medical care lags behind that of “man’s best friend”, the dog. When asked about the reason for the lack of medical care for their cats, pet owners first mention the difficulty of putting the cat in a basket, going to a vet, and calming the anxious animal during the examination.
Cats are independent and territorial animals that need to be in control of their environment and are sensitive to different smells. Therefore, visits to the vet put them under a lot of stress. Below are some tips on how to reduce stress when visiting the vet or travelling. Travelling is often difficult for cats and they do not feel safe outside their environment. They are very receptive to new visuals, new sounds and new smells.
The majority of cats prefer quiet and solitude and are easily stressed. The majority of cats are very frightened when they see dogs in the veterinary clinic or are crammed in there with them. Several methods can be used to relieve the cat’s stress and care for them properly. This can reduce their anxiety and also reduce the risk of defensive or aggressive reactions. The stress can also affect the parameters of the general examination and alter the laboratory tests, leading to artefacts in the examination.
Preparing at home for the doctor’s visit
The transport and travel box is the key here. It must be sturdy and easy to clean (made of plastic or with a plastic cover). Transport boxes that open from the top, or even better, ones where the lid can be easily removed, are more practical as you can carefully put the cat in and take it out. Covering the box with a blanket or towel during transport can help calm the cat. Secure the box in the car in the footwell or fasten it to a seat so that it does not rock. Carry the box carefully and try to stabilise it. Make sure that it does not rock back and forth or bump into objects.
Familiar smells can reduce stress in the cat
Also use the box at home and let your cat sleep or eat in it, so that it does not only associate it with the visit to the vet. Put a piece of laundry or clothing that smells like home in the carrier. Rub a cloth over your cat’s head so it takes on her scent, then rub it over the outside of the box and place it inside. Calming pheromones (Feliway®) or sprays with calming herbal aromatic oils (Pet Remedy®) are commercially available, which you spray into the box 30 minutes before use. If your cat has a panic attack, wrap it in a blanket and place it in the box like this. Take a change of underwear (that smells like home) in case your cat wets the box.
Cat Friendly Clinic: An important certification for veterinarians and their patients
The ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine) Cat Friendly Clinic programme recognises practices that provide quality medical care for cats because they: – Understand the special needs of cats and make the veterinary visit as cat-friendly as possible. – Know how to touch and handle cats with care and attention. – Have the necessary special knowledge and tools to provide optimal medical care for cats. The “Cat Friendly Clinic” certificate applies to all practice staff: from receptionists to veterinary assistants and laboratory technicians to veterinarians.
What does this certificate mean for my cat and me?
A practice awarded the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic certificate gives you peace of mind and ensures that the practice meets certain certification standards. Also, the practice and its staff are responsive to your cat’s special needs at all times. The practice staff take the time to explain and show you what they are doing to guide you through the practice as much as is possible in the practice. The Cat Friendly Clinic (CFC) certificate comes in three levels of certification: Bronze, Silver and Gold. These levels take into account that veterinary clinics vary in size, location, structure, number of staff and equipment. A complete list of the conditions to be fulfilled can be found on the website – www.catfriendlyclinic.org -as well as the list of certified practices.