Tips for a Stress-Free Vet Visit for Your Cat

My cat hates the VET!

We can help.  It really doesn’t have to be so stressful.

A big barrier to bringing cats in for their annual or semi-annual veterinary visits is the anxiety they feel around the carrier, the car ride, and the hospital visit.

The first challenge is getting the cat into the carrier.  This can be the biggest struggle of all.  One easy tip is to bring the carrier out into the communal space to allow your cat to get comfortable with it.  Don’t just bring it out the day of the vet visit—you can keep the carrier out at all times or bring it out two weeks to a month in advance.   Keep the carrier open, add some catnip, toys, and Feliway calming spray (a pheromone that can be purchased at pet store or online).  This way it can be a nice and familiar place for your cat to go.

Carrier choice can help, too.  We like the carriers that open at the top and the front as well as carriers that have a removable top lid.  Putting the pet in at the top can be easier because the space is larger instead of maneuvering them into the tiny opening in the front.

Gabapentin is a medication that provides some anti-anxiety/calming effect.  This is usually given the night before either by sprinkling it on food or given orally.  After the previous night’s dose, it is administered again about 1-2 hours prior to the appointment in the same way.  This medication helps with the carrier stress, the car stress, AND the visit stress.  The incessant crying in the car can be cured for many cats.  What a relief!

At the clinic, we try to usher our cat patients into the exam room right away so that they are not hanging out in the lobby and encountering dogs and other cats, which can cause distress.

Please don’t let your cat’s anxiety stop you from scheduling regular veterinary exams.  Your cat’s health is too important, and we can help with the stress.  Please give us a call with any questions.

Dr. Taia Lubitz
Manchaca Village Veterinary Care

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.