I see a lot of cat carriers in my line of work. I see a lot of cats in these carriers.
I see this so often I have decided to make them the subject of this (long overdue) blog.
Have I lost my mind? Or run out of any other subject matter?
No, not yet.
It may seem odd, but these carriers have a big impact on how the appointment with my feline patient goes.
A huge issue with feline medicine is the stress of the vet visit. It is the most common reason owners skip taking their cat to the vet, which leads to missed opportunities for preventative care and early disease detection.
The cat carrier is the first stressor for your cat.
Your cat knows what it is, and where they go when they get in it. Then you get to the vet's office, and the vet tech has to extract your stressed out cat from the carrier before I even put my hands on them. If we can lower that initial stress, the whole process will go much better for your cat, and all the humans involved.
No. 1: Leave the carrier out all the time at home. Don’t keep it in the basement and just bring it out right before you put the cat in it. Make it a normal part of your cat’s environment, try feeding them in it be so to create a positive association.
No.2: Choose the right design. The most common cat carrier that you find at stores is a plastic box with the opening on the end. Whoever designed this has never tried to get an angry or timid cat out of one. Get one that opens on the top, or even better, on the long side.
No.3: Size matters. Imagine you have to go somewhere, and your traveling vessel is only slightly bigger than you are, and you can only crouch but not stand up. To me, that sounds terrifying. Most cat carriers I see are far too small for the cat. Get a dog-sized carrier, or even a small dog potty training crate, your cat will thank you.
No. 4: Use Feliway Spray. This calming pheromone spray you can spritz the inside of the carrier with to help your cat, and yes, it really does work.
No. 5: Don’t put food or toys in there when you’re going to the vet. Your cat probably doesn’t feel like eating or playing, and they just get in the way.
I’ve seen a few cat carriers work very well, such as SleepyPod and this 23-Inch Large Hard Cover Pet Carrier.
Anything you can do to make traveling with your cat less stressful is a good thing. Choosing the best cat carrier for your feline friend is the first step to a successful vet appointment!
Dr. Catherine Donworth has lived in Lexington since 2002. She is a native of Dublin, Ireland, and graduated from the Veterinary College of Ireland, University College Dublin, in 2001. She completed the United States veterinary certification examinations in 2002. She lives with her husband and their daughter, as well as three dogs. She enjoys all aspects of small animal medicine, and loves the small town atmosphere of the location on Romany Road. Being a one vet practice allows her to form a close doctor - client relationship with every dog and cat she takes care of. Dr. Donworth enjoys spending her free time with her horse, Skip. To make an appointment, call The Animal Medical Center on Romany at 859-268-1780.