Jul 09 2015

Cats in the Car: Tips on Transporting Your Cat to the Veterinary Hospital

photo of a cat lying on a sports car

Here’s a quiz for you.

Even though there are more cats than dogs in the US, veterinarians see more dogs in their hospitals than cats for which of the following reasons?

A. Cats don’t like the ride to the veterinary clinic

B. Cat owners don’t like the stress of dealing with a stressed-out cat

C. Cats are good at hiding their illnesses, so cat owners may not know that they are sick

D. Cats aren’t comfortable in a “dog” environment

E. All of the above

Correct answer:  E

Cats are wonderful, graceful creatures. They are independent, loving (on their own terms), and entertaining. Cat owners love their feline friends and want to take good care of them, but cats sometimes make that a little difficult.

What cats need to stay healthy

Cats, like dogs, should have examinations at least once, and preferably twice, a year. Wellness check-ups allow early diagnosis which means quicker solutions to medical problems. Immunizations, laboratory tests, parasite control and dental care are important parts of a good well health protocol and require occasional trips to the veterinary clinic.

Signs of a sick cat

Cats are very good at hiding their illnesses. They resort to their ancestral instincts and avoid showing any signs of weakness. That’s why pet owners need to be alert for subtle signs of illness. If you note any of the following, your cat needs to see your veterinarian.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody urine
  • Soft stool
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Dry coat or areas of hair loss
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Lameness
  • Uncoordinated movements or head tilt
  • Itchiness

Here are a few tips to make transporting your cat easier:

Train your cat to “like” his carrier. If you only bring out the dreaded cat carrier for doctor visits, your cat will harbor negative feelings about the carrier. The carrier should be viewed as a normal cat care article, just like food and water bowls, litter boxes, or cat toys. Help your cat become comfortable in the carrier by leaving it out all the time. Keep a towel or blanket inside with a little food or a few toys. The carrier can be a welcome retreat for your cat when things get hectic around the house. If he likes the carrier, he’ll get in without a hassle. The best carriers are the soft, but sturdy airline carriers with removable tops.

Cat pet carriers make your cat’s veterinary trip safer for your cat (and you!)

Now for the car ride:

  • Try a few practice runs. Start with short rides so he gets accustomed to the movement of the car.
  • Use the seatbelt to secure the carrier in the middle of the back seat.
  • Cats with empty stomachs are better travelers, so it’s best not to feed kitty right before a road trip.
  • Cats feel more secure in cozy places, so place a towel in the carrier and another on top of the carrier. This will darken the carrier and muffle road noises to create a more relaxed atmosphere.

When you get to the doctor’s office, scout the waiting room for a quiet place to sit. If the reception area is too hectic, ask to wait in your car with your kitty until it’s your turn to see the doctor.

When inside the exam room, talk to your kitty in a calm voice, but leave him in the carrier until the technician or doctor arrives. Carriers with removable tops work well for veterinary visits. With the top removed, much of the physical exam can be accomplished while the cat rests in his familiar spot.

If your cat needs to get out of the carrier, place the towel from the carrier on the exam table. Your kitty will be more relaxed surrounded by a soft towel that smells like home instead of sitting on a cold table top.

Luckily, even the most nervous cats rarely need any encouragement to get back into the carrier. They are usually anxious to return home!

With a little preparation, you can make veterinary visits easier for you and your cat. Some cats even enjoy their doctor’s visits!

LifeLearn Team |