At Acadia Veterinary Hospital, we recommend annual comprehensive physical exams and consultations regarding nutrition and behaviour for all cats, even for cats that never go outside.
We also recommend bringing in your cat if you notice any of these subtle changes, because catching disease or behavioural problems early on allows us to correct any issues more efficiently and effectively.
Here are some subtle changes to look out for:
- Urinating or defecating outside the litterbox
- A once affectionate, playful cat spends most of the day hiding or shying away from people
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Changes in the amount they are grooming themselves
- Bad breath
- Changes in vocalization
We do, however, understand that transporting your cat to the veterinarian poses its challenges! So here are some tips to help decrease their stress (and yours!).
- If you don’t already own a kennel for your cat- please invest in one! They allow you to bring your cat safely to the veterinarian, with no risk that he or she will get spooked and jump out of your arms!
- We recommend a carrier that you can open from the front and from the top. In addition, at Acadia Veterinary Hospital, we love a carrier that you can easily take apart at the middle. Most cats feel much more comfortable to have their physical exam done right in comfort of the bottom of their kennel.
- Don’t just bring out your kennel once a year when you bring your cat to the vet. It’s better to leave it out with their favourite blanket in it so they use it as a bed or a hide away place. You can also offer treats or cat nip inside of them to make them more enticing.
- For cats that find the car the most stressful part of their trip we recommend taking them on short trips in the car more frequently.
- If you can buckle the carrier in, do so. It allows for a safer and less bumpy ride.
- If your cat normally gets carsick, we recommend not feeding them for several hours before they need to come in.
- Bring an extra towel or blanket to cover the kennel if your cat seems very anxious. Some cats do better with less stimuli
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more quiet times of the day to bring your cat in, or ask for a time when no dogs will be waiting for their appointments.
- Most Veterinary Hospitals have a product called “Feliway”, which can be sprayed in your kennel prior to departure. It’s a calming pheromone designed specifically for cats and can make a big difference in your cat’s stress levels. Please feel free to call and ask us about it!
So hopefully these tips will help you feel more comfortable in bringing your cat to the veterinarian, it’s really important for their overall health and wellbeing.