5 Tips to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful for Your Cat

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No cat wants to spend the night away from home, especially not for veterinary care. Unfortunately, there are many reasons a cat might need to spend a night at the vet, including routine procedures such as spaying/neutering or to receive treatment for an illness or injury. This can be very stressful for cats, but there are things you can do to help your pet cope get through it.

When a cat needs to spend a night at the clinic, it helps to have an object from home. Keep in mind that it's the scent of something familiar that's most important, not what the cat will actually do with the object. For this reason, a blanket or piece of clothing with your scent on it is better than a toy. Most animals won't feel like playing in a hospital setting.

Sending your pet for an overnight stay is going to be stressful for you too. It may ease your mind to visit the area where your pet will stay and to ask questions about the overnight staffing, procedures for communicating with you, and whether or not you can visit if your pet is staying more than one night. Some cats may be comforted by a visit, but others may be confused by seeing you come and go. Be sure to ask your vet for guidance on this.

Vet-related stress causes major resistance to veterinary care among cats and their human companions, and veterinarians are working toward solutions for making the process easier for everyone involved. Two groups, the International Society for Feline Medicine and the American Association of Feline Practitioners, have recently developed guidelines to help veterinary staff improve their handling of cats. Their goal is to enhance the feline-friendliness of veterinary practices in order to improve the rate of vet visits among cats worldwide. This is great news for pets and their humans. We're definitely going to need all hands (and paws) on deck to make trips to the vet less stressful for cats.

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