Pet Talk: Preparing Your Cat For A Visit To The Vet | Lifestyles

As any cat owner knows, taking your feline friend to the vet can be a challenge, but regular vet checkups are one of the most important things you can do to keep your cat happy and healthy.

To help make this process less stressful for you and your cat, Paula Plummer, surgical oncology technician at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, offers some tips on preparing for a visit to the hospital. veterinary .

One of the first questions pet owners ask themselves is how often they should take their cat to their vet.

“As kittens, they will need monthly check-ups as they go through their kitten vaccine series,” Plummer said. “As your cat grows, a visit may only be required once a year. Your vet can change their recommendations based on your cat’s needs, so it’s best to follow their advice.

Whether you are taking a new kitten on their first date or checking the health of an older cat, it helps to create a list of questions in advance so that nothing is overlooked during the date.

“If you are looking for veterinary care because you have adopted a new kitten, you should educate yourself about nutrition, environmental enrichment, vaccines, flea / tick / heartworm / parasite prevention and information. on general care, ”Plummer said. “If you’re looking for veterinary care for a cat’s condition, educate yourself about the condition, especially medications, treatment options, and any lifestyle changes that may occur. “

If this is the first time you are taking your pet to a new vet, it is important to provide the doctor with a complete record of your cat’s medical history.

Medical history can be brought with you or emailed to your vet in advance. These records may include, but are not limited to, current medications, x-rays, and other imaging, lab, and test results. For newly adopted kittens, owners must bring all the documents they received from the adoption.

Having a good understanding of what brands of food your cat eats, as well as how much, will also help your vet become familiar with your pet.

For cats, the hardest part of a vet visit may not happen at all in the hospital, but rather on the road trip. For cats unaccustomed to driving, a long drive can cause a lot of stress. To help allay the anxieties associated with the car trip, Plummer recommends carrier training from the kitten stage.

“When choosing a cat carrier, think about the vet team and their ability to safely remove your beloved feline family member from it while in the hospital,” Plummer said. “The safest carrier for your cat and team is a hard-sided carrier with a soft, comfortable bed.”

To help your cat become familiar with the carrier, Plummer suggests “leaving the carrier outside the house to allow your pet to get used to it.”

Because cats are sensitive to scents, if there is still hesitation when approaching a carrier, owners can try incorporating heartwarming scents to help create a sense of familiarity. This may include using old bedding or clothes coated with their owner’s scent inside the wearer or spraying a synthetic feline pheromone on and around the wearer.

Above all, car owners should remember that a veterinarian who knows your pet personally will provide the best advice for dealing with travel-related anxieties.

“Veterinarians and their support staff strive to understand each cat’s individual needs by interpreting their body language and facial reactions,” Plummer said. “Being able to assess a cat’s anxiety level allows staff members to alleviate the stress of veterinary control and make the experience enjoyable for both the owner and their cat.”

For this reason, “it’s always best to seek the advice of a veterinarian for specific anxiety-relieving recommendations for you and your beloved feline family member,” she said.

Learning to care for our feline friends begins with routine vet visits to ensure your cat’s individual health needs are being met. By being mindful of a cat’s anxiety levels and comfort zones, owners can help turn a potentially anxious exam into a stress-free adventure.

– Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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