Easing a Cat’s Anxiety at the Veterinarian’s Office

Elmhurst Animal Care Center pic
Elmhurst Animal Care Center
Image: elmhurstanimalcarecenter.com

At Elmhurst Animal Care Center, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and his team maintain a cat-friendly environment. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince and his fellow veterinarians uphold a commitment to reducing the anxiety that cats often feel during veterinarian visits.

For many cats and their owners, a visit to the veterinarian is synonymous with stress. Part of cats’ fear stems from the negative associations that they develop with key parts of the visit, such as the carrier and the car ride. Owners often find that if they incorporate these experiences more into the cat’s everyday life, the cat becomes less likely to associate them with a stressful vet visit and thus less likely to find them anxiety provoking.

Once the cat actually arrives at the vet, the key to reduced stress comes via an understanding of what the animal finds comforting. Cats generally feel safest when they can hide from perceived threats, so a towel over the cat’s carrier can often help. This also ensures that the cat cannot see other pets in the waiting room.

Waiting rooms can also be stressful because they are filled with loud noises and unpleasant smells. Cats’ heightened sense of smell means that they can become highly anxious if faced with such common veterinary office smells as blood, disinfectants, and deodorizers. Similarly, because cats are particularly perceptive, they can pick up on the stress of other pets or humans in the waiting room.

Cat-friendly practices often strive to eliminate these types of stimuli. If such an office is not available, the owner may wish to advocate for his or her cat’s needs by asking to wait in the hallway or car. Another strategy is the use of feline facial pheromone (FFP), which many practices spray in cat care areas and which is available commercially.

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