Cat owners may hesitate to bring their cat to the veterinarian’s office out of concern for the cat’s stress level in the carrier and the car. While we may not be able to reduce all of the stress (after all, many humans feel stressed going to their doctor’s offices), some things may be done to minimize the stress.

If you don’t already own a cat carrier, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when buying one. While there are many carriers on the market, it is best to choose one that has both a top opening and possibly an additional opening on the side. The top opening makes it easier to place your cat inside, and your cat can easily go into and out of the opening on the side. Other options include carriers on which the top half is removable, so the cat can remain in the bottom half of the carrier during the examination.

Keeping the carrier out in your home and putting favorite treats, blankets, or toys inside helps train your cat to see the carrier as a safe place. If your cat only sees the carrier when he or she is going for a car ride, the sight of the carrier alone will be enough to cause the cat to hide under the bed or start feeling stress.

A synthetic pheromone product (such as Feliway) can help calm cats down during stressful circumstances. Feliway spray or wipes can be used inside the carrier to help put the cat in a more relaxed state of mind.

Despite these measures, some cats will still feel excessive stress. If this is the case with your cat, please talk with one of the veterinarians at Woodland Veterinary Hospital about anti-anxiety medications or other options that may be available. If it were up to our cats, they would never come to the veterinary hospital, but cat owners should overcome this mindset to help ensure the health of their feline friends.