Cat Anxiety: Helping Your Pet Cope
Ask any feline fancier what he or she dreads most, and the answer is usually car trips or vet visits. This is particularly true when cat anxiety leads to hiding or leaping out of reach. Unfortunately, this fear means many cats go without consistent veterinary care, which is essential to health, longevity, pain management, and early detection.
If your feline struggles with travel or exam anxiety, Schertz Animal Hospital is here to help. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips for how to deal with cat anxiety to lessen stress and discomfort for everyone.
Although your initial reaction may be to avoid dreaded car trips, the best way to acclimate your pet is with practice and positive reinforcement.
To begin, make sure you have a secure carrier that can be fastened in with a seat belt. If you haven’t crate trained your kitty, this is a good time to start creating those positive associations. Place meals, treats, and other goodies in an open crate kept in a cat-friendly room.
Once your cat becomes comfy in a crate or carrier, take a few quick trips to a friend’s home or around the block. To add to your pet’s comfort, place a loose, light towel over the crate or carrier to block external noise and views.
Keep these trips short, and reward your feline with snuggles and playtime once you return home. Don’t forget to remain calm throughout this process. The more stressed you are, the more likely this is to increase cat anxiety.
The Mock Vet Exam
Another factor that may contribute to cat anxiety during a vet visit is the novelty of being held or examined. Many cats have not been handled enough and often have a stress response from suddenly being in a new situation.
To help your cat adjust, try conducting a mock exam. Using a bathroom counter, place a soft towel under your cat and practice some of the following moves:
- Inspect the paws and trim nails
- Inspect ears
- Examine gums and teeth (if you already brush your pet’s teeth, even better!)
- Smooth your hands over the legs and sides of your pet
End this mock trial by rewarding your cat with a tasty treat, a luxurious brushing, or some other pleasant reward.
Other Tips for Cat Anxiety
- Talk to someone at Schertz Animal Hospital about ways to address cat anxiety prior to and during a visit.
- Consider using a pheromone spray, such as Feliway, which can help decrease stress and anxiety for some cats.
- For severe anxiety and ongoing challenges, schedule a behavioral consultation with your veterinarian.
Even though many cats experience some level of discomfort during car trips or vet visits, it’s important to remember that progress is possible. Because preventive care and annual visits are so essential, it’s important to tackle cat anxiety from the beginning. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!