We hear it almost every day, “My cat hasn’t been to the vet in years. He/She has been so healthy until now!”
While this might actually be the case, why leave your cat’s health to chance?
Feline wellness appointments are just as important as their canine counterparts. Some studies show that more than 50% of cats don’t receive routine veterinary care. I’m sure this is not shocking to many of you as it is often not the easiest task to get your feline fur baby to the vet. Sure, you can take the first step and call to schedule that appointment, but that is often when the real challenge begins!
Getting your cat into the carrier for travel to the office can often be a true task. You may even wake up the morning of the appointment dreading this said task, fearing that your cat is going to run off and hide under that far corner of your king sized bed, or that they’ll pull out all “weapons” ready to claw any exposed skin as you gently try to shove them in their carrier. With these cartoon visions in your head, it is no wonder getting your seemingly heathy cat to the vet is not on the top of your priority list.
At Brick Town Veterinary Hospital, we are hoping to change this scenario. Since cats are often masters of hiding illness, wellness appointments are even more important. These appointments give our health team a chance to pick up on or discover abnormalities before they become a much larger problem. Cats, even though many are strictly indoor, are just as susceptible to diseases or parasites. Some common problems we can identify include heart disease, kidney disease, skin infections, fleas, intestinal parasites, thyroid disease, dental disease, and urinary issues. At the time of your visit, we can also collect samples that serve as a baseline for health for your cat.
How can you make getting your cat into the carrier a little less like a circus act?
Take your carrier out of storage days in advance; this will give your cat a chance to explore their surroundings in a non-threatening manner. The more comfortable your cat is with their carrier in their daily environment, the more likely your cat will feel comfortable going into the carrier.
Leave the top off the carrier and slowly move your cat’s food dish closer to the carrier until your cat is enjoying their meal standing in the open carrier. If your cat is too smart for this, place the bottom of the open carrier on your cat’s window seat so that they can bask in the sun while lying in the bottom of the carrier.
- Feed your cats treats in the opened carrier.
- Place a warm blanket on the bottom of the carrier.
- Spray the blanket in the carrier with a feline pheromone (feliway) or wipe the sides of the carrier with these product wipes.
- Leave a blanket or towel in the carrier that your cat has been laying on so it has a familiar scent.
- The day of the appointment, skip feeding your cat’s breakfast so they are hungry for a yummy treat or some food placed in their carrier.
- If none of these tips prove helpful, call our office, and we may be able to prescribe a medication to help with anxiety and provide some sedation.
Once you and your cat arrive at our clinic, we will do our best to provide an environment which you and your cat are comfortable. If you're anxious about barking dogs in the waiting room, call us from the parking lot, and one of our staff members can come out to your car to escort you to your exam room when one becomes ready.
Alternatively, try and schedule your appointment on our feline friendly Thursdays, where our feline friends will be the only patients seen at our Wellness Clinic. The doctors and staff at Brick Town Veterinary clinic care about you and your cats, and we can’t wait to meet them. Help us help you by scheduling yearly exams for your feline fur babies.
Dr. Patricia Leff was born and raised in New Jersey until leaving to obtain her undergraduate degree, which she received from Eckerd College in St Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Leff then continued on with her education at the University of Florida, where she obtained both her Masters and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees.