How to make your cat's next trip to the vet less stressful

July 29, 2022
Amber LaRock, Vetted Vet Pro
Cats, Veterinarian

How To Make Your Cat’s Next Trip To The Vet Less Stressful

Many pet parents understand the battle of having a cat that gets stressed out at the vet. Not all cats are easily adaptable to new surroundings and adventures, especially when the vet’s office is involved. A trip to the vet often comes with unfamiliar scents and contact with unknown people, so we can understand why this can be so scary for some cats. 

Whether your cat has never been to the vet before or you know that they do not tolerate the experience well, there are many ways to set them up for success moving forward. Vetted wants to empower you with education and guidance on your pet’s well-being, so let’s dive into the best ways to reduce your cat’s stress at their next vet appointment. 

Why Does My Cat Get So Stressed At The Vet?

It’s important for us to understand where our cats are coming from when helping them through their fear of going to the vet. There are many terrifying aspects of a vet trip for our cat, so let’s break them down below. 

First, all vet trips will begin with an attempt to get them into their carrier. If your cat has never been asked to crawl inside of a carrier before, this can be really scary. If you were asked to get inside of a strange box and head to an unknown location, you would likely be nervous as well. 

The next stressful event that occurs on a trip to the vet is the car ride. Not only may the cat be in a carrier they are not yet used to, but they are now surrounded by the strange sights and sounds of a moving vehicle. 

And last, the arrival to the vet’s office itself can be terrifying for some cats. From the moment you walk in the door they are hit with unknown smells and sounds of other animals, as well as being approached by people they do not know. With each of these factors combined, it’s easy to understand why some cats struggle immensely with their vet visits. 

If you would like to speak with a vet professionalpet professional about your cat's specific fear surrounding the vet, you can always speak with one of our Vetted Vet Prospet experts on our chat platform! A vetted membership offers you 24-7 access to our Vetted Vet Prospet pros, allowing you to seek guidance and advice on all of your pet questions!

How Can I Make My Cat’s Next Vet Visit Less Stressful?

To help make your cat’s next trip to the vet less stressful, we need to help them feel more comfortable with each individual fear. Let’s break down the most effective ways to do just that!

Make Sure Their Carrier Is Not The Bad Guy

Many cat parents state that getting their cats into their carrier is the most challenging part of the entire vet visit. Some cats simply hate their carrier, so we have to help them learn how to love it. To do this, you will need to begin the process of desentizing them to the carrier itself. 

To do this, you can start by putting their open carrier in a part of your home where they like to spend their time. This can be in a sunny spot they typically sunbathe, near a window they like to perch on, or even an area they often relax in. By keeping their carrier here for a few weeks without any stress involved, they will learn that the carrier itself is not a danger. 

Once your cat can be around their carrier comfortably, you can then start to place tasty treats inside of the carrier to entice them to crawl inside. They may not immediately walk into the crate, but they may make their way into the carrier once they work up the courage. If you are consistent enough, you will one day be able to get them into their carrier by placing their favorite treats inside. 

Get Them Used To Going On Car Rides

Once your cat has become more comfortable with their carrier, you can then begin the process of warming them up to car rides. This will need to be a gradual process, as this is a pretty large hurdle for your cat to conquer. To truly set them up for car riding success, you will first need to get them used to being placed in the vehicle. 

We suggest starting by simply putting them into your car with the door open, and then offering them their favorite treat through the crate doors. You can then remove your cat from the car and back into the house, offering them yet another treat once you open the cage doors and let them out. 

Once you repeat this process multiple times until they feel safe, you can then start to take short drives around your neighborhood. Start with 3-5 minute car rides around your block, making sure to reward your cat with treats each step of the way. Once your cat seems comfortable with this process, you can then start to take them on long car rides. If you are consistent with this process, your cat should be a road trip champion in no time. 

Try To Stay Calm For Your Nervous Cat

In many situations involving nervous pets at the vet, the pet parents actually add to their anxiety by being noticeably stressed. We completely understand being worried for your pet and wanting them to feel safe, but the best way to do this is by being a calming factor in the equation. If your cat knows they can lean on you throughout the visit without you panicking through each exam and medical treatment, they will feel much more secure in their surroundings. 

Make Sure Your Vet Knows Your Cat Is Nervous

If you know that your cat is typically stressed or scared at the vet, it is important that you make sure everyone on your veterinary team knows this. If your vet and vet tech go into the visit with an understanding that they are working with a nervous cat, they can approach your little one in a way that helps them best. 

This is especially important if you have a cat that is known to get a little feisty when they are nervous. Your veterinary team’s goal is to support your little one each step of the way, and having the full picture is the only way to do that. When we understand our patient’s needs, we can offer them the best experience possible when they are in our care. 

Final Thoughts

The process of eliminating your cat’s stress at the vet begins long before their actual vet appointment. There are so many ways that we can support our pets from the comfort of our home, and Vetted wants to offer you the tools needed to care for them from day to day! 

Every cat is different, so they may require more or less guidance when it comes to easing their fears. Vetted can help to personalize your cat’s care so that they can get the support they need, as well as empowering their pet parents through behavioral education. 

If you are looking for calming treats or ways to help with feline anxiety, the Vetted app offers access to 24/7 vet professionals, as well as a curated Vetted store. The store is stocked with items chosen by veterinarians, so you can be sure that all items purchased are of the highest standard!