Help Make Your Cat's Next Vet Visit Fear Free

Some Fear Free Strategies

There are a number of ways a clinic can work with you to address your feline’s fears. For instance, if waiting in the lobby is stressful for your cat, a different option may be available, such as allowing you to take her immediately into an exam room or allowing you to wait in the car with your cat until the vet is ready to see her. Or if your cat tends to hide when she first enters the exam room, ask the staff if you can have a little extra time before the vet or staff joins you to give her a chance to get comfortable before her exam.

Another way to help your kitty feel less afraid is to pack a bag with the things she loves. Favorite bedding, toys and treats are all good things to bring with you and have available for the clinic staff to offer your cat during her visit. Unless it is contraindicated by the pet’s medical situation, many clinics may be willing to incorporate positive rewards, like a treat or favorite toy, either during or after handling and procedures.

Many offices are also happy to accommodate requests for things a cat particularly enjoys, such as a warm blanket on the exam table or scale. The vet may also be willing to examine your feline in her crate rather than on the exam table.

You can also ask the staff about the possibility of dropping in for fun visits in between your scheduled appointments to allow your feline to have a positive, procedure-free experience at the clinic. Talk with the vet and her staff about what options are available for your fearful feline.

Other Alternatives

No matter how gentle the approach, your cat’s fear may be too great to be overcome with familiar treats or modifications to clinic routine. In such cases, your veterinarian may recommend medications to help manage your cat’s anxiety and promote relaxation. This approach may involve giving your cat certain medications at home before you leave for the clinic; if needed, additional medications may be added during the visit to keep your cat calm and relaxed during her exam or any necessary treatment.

Extremely anxious cats may fare better at a feline-only practice where they won’t meet up with curious dogs in the waiting area, or with a veterinarian who makes house calls in the environment that’s most familiar and comfortable for you cat.

A partnership with a veterinary staff who are committed to investing in your cat’s emotional health is powerful. Rather than resolving to a feline being a perpetual scaredy-cat at the vet, there are numerous ways to help, starting with collaboration with your vet.

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