Taking your cat to the vet can be a stressful experience. We are often told a cat has refused to go into the crate, run away when they’ve seen it, or meowed the whole way in the car. Here are some simple tips to reduce stress and make crating your cat an easier experience.
Cat crate set-up
- We recommend crates that open at the top, or can be broken down into the top and bottom, so we don’t need to pull or push a cat in or out.
- A hard crate is best as it won’t collapse on the cat or break as easily.
- A soft towel in the bottom of the crate and a towel covering the crate to keep the cat in darkness.
- Familiar treats and toys in the crate.
- Feliway spray is a pheromone-based spray that may make them feel at home. Spray the towel 15 minutes before using in the crate.
Familiarising the cat crate at home
- Keep the crate out in a familiar area you can use as a bed or feeding station.
- Feed the cat in the crate to create positive emotions. For cats fearful of the crate, either break down the crate and feed in the base at first or feed further away and move closer each time.
- Train your cat to go into the crate on cue! This can be done with delicious treats just as you do with a dog.
- If they become stressed during car rides, short practice rides can help, with a passenger feeding highly tasty treats in the back seat, through the crate door.
On the day of the vet visit
- Keep your cat inside when you have a scheduled vet visit
- If they aren’t trained to enter the crate, lure the cat in with a delicious treat, or gently lift the cat and place in the cage bottom first. If the crate opens at the side, tip it so the door is at the top.
At the vet clinic
- Place the crate off the floor, and keep the cat inside the crate until your consult.
- Keep the towel covering the crate.
Taking your cat out at the clinic
- Once in the consult room, open the cage and allow the cat to leave when they are comfortable.
- If the crate top can be removed, cats can stay on the bottom, and the top lifted off.
- Let your vet gently introduce themselves to the cat before removing it from the crate.
And voila! Hopefully, some of the things you’ve done to prepare your cat for the vet visit will relieve some stress and anxiety. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your local vet or vet nurse team.
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