A Trip to the Vet's - one of the Cat Chronicles

by Telesto

A trip to the vet's can be a very traumatic experience for some cats, especially, if they, like mine, are rescue cats and still associate the cat carrier with being re-homed.

Cats may be fiercely independent, but they are also sensitive little creatures. They may need their annual health check, especially as they get older, but, for some cats, the stress of going to the vet’s can be really distressing for the animal and you as an owner. For both your sakes, it makes sense to reduce this stress as much as possible. Try following these simple tips to make life easier. If nothing helps, speak to your vet for advice.

Stress free travel

I’ve been a very bad mummy this week.  I upset the girls when I was trying to apply their flea treatment, I in a hurry and they sensed something was wrong, so they got stressed.  Now I’ve taken the little ones to the vet for their annual check up and vaccination.  Is there no end to the torture I will inflict on these poor little creatures!

Actually, my little ones don’t mind the vets as much as the big ones, they lived there for the first three months of their lives, until an unsuspecting human came along to take them home with her.  (That was me, by the way.)  But fear breeds fear, and when those pet carriers come out, the warning signal goes around fast than the ‘flu’ in winter.  The cats hide in places I didn’t even know they could fit into.  Even getting the cat treats out doesn’t fool them, oops, I mean persuade them, into coming out.  Well, it worked the first time, but they weren’t going fall for that again.  I thought I knew all the hiding places, but after 12 years in the same house, I still don’t. 


Tournée du Chat Noir, c.1896
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It is extremely bad for the human body to try to pick up a cat who is already upset with you, unless of course you are wearing personal protective equipment such as that designed for use by fire fighters or those who work in a similarly dangerous environment.  Cats, particularly younger cats, have extremely sharp claws.  They are thin, so cut like razors.  I have the scars to prove this as a fact. 

So, if you want to get a cat to the vet without incurring serious damage, the only way is to try to make the cat feel safe beforehand.  Unlike humans, cats do not seem to respond to aromatherapy oils being burned or soothing music, so how can you do this?


Preparation is the key.

I find that leaving the pet carriers out for a few days beforehand takes the heat out of the situation.  The cats have a chance to have a sniff around and they get used to seeing them, so they don’t automatically assume they are going somewhere.

Give yourself plenty of time on the day in question.  If you are rushing and feeling stressed, that will transfer to the cats, and they will start to feel stressed.  Stressed cats are not happy cats.

Stroking them beforehand usually helps. 

Cats like to see what’s going on, so if you can, get the kind of carriers that enable cats to be able to see as much as possible – the wire mesh type are really good.  But know your own cat - if your cat gets more stressed by seeing what's going on (this often happens with feral cats), try putting a towel over the top of the carrier.



Updated: 08/28/2014, Telesto
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Telesto on 04/11/2014

Oh no! The worst thing is, my little girls lived there for their first three months. But what can you do?

jptanabe on 04/11/2014

Our cats have always hated the trip to the vet, even when in dire need of their help. And yes, the sight of the carrier is enough to cause instant disappearance of cats. How many times have I called to reschedule because I can't find a cat!

Telesto on 03/18/2014

Yes, you are right. I feel for you.

Guest on 03/18/2014

It's not just dogs who are petrified of fireworks! Many PTSD humans are as well. I loathe the things and won't even be persuaded to attend organised displays any more.

Telesto on 03/18/2014

Oh, poor little thing! It's so awful when they are like that because there is just nothing you can do. One of my dogs, Gemma, was petrified of fireworks and would try to find the smallest, darkest corner of the house in which to hide. I wish I'd known about the dog version of Feliway back in those days...

Guest on 03/17/2014

Our old family cat was the travel-sickest cat you ever knew, right from 6 months old. I had a sign for my car rear window 'Travel Sick Cat On Board - Please Pass' and if I drove at anything over 25mph, the yowls of protest and the resulting evil pongs would almost knock me out if I didn't have the windows open. I took to lining my car boot/trunk with plastic bags in the end, the kind of thick plastic bags which were used by my friends in the plumbing trade to carry awkward pieces of gear about. They, like our cat and his basket, were easily washable with a hose...poor old Fudgie, bless his paws and whiskers. I used to leave the top of the carrier open for him to look out, but he was too busy being ill to notice.

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