Where is Jack.org is group dedicated to making sure pets are safe when they travel by air. Unfortunately, Jack passed away after all the stress of being lost in the airport. Use their advice and don't let this happen to your pets.
Traveling with your Cat
Remember those long car rides on family vacations before the advent of cell phones or handheld video games (for those under 40 I swear that such a time existed somewhere between the Big Bang and the reign of Justin Bieber)? How about those dreaded trips to the pediatrician with your kids knowing they would end up being poked in the arm or the behind by Nurse Ratched (remember “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest"? No? Well, moving on….). Your cat probably enjoys trips to the veterinarian to about the same extent. Our hospital is committed to helping make the process of seeing their doctor easier for cats and I would like to share our ideas with you.
Probably less than half of the cats in the Rochester area see their vet on an annual basis, with owners choosing to seek medical care only when the cat is ill. One reason for this is the difficulty and frustration that owners experience getting their cats into the carrier and making the road trip to the vet. Stress inducing for both owner and cat to be sure. Although these are valid concerns, they pale in comparison to the problems that can arise in cats who do not receive preventative care, ranging from painful dental disease to unchecked progression of diabetes, renal disease or hyperthyroidism…all treatable conditions and best diagnosed in early stages.
Getting kitty into the carrier
Put the carrier out two nights before the appointment to let the cat explore it at his leisure. On the day of the visit wrap the cat in a towel, making a kitty burrito that covers his body and head and put the cat and towel into the carrier. The towel can be removed leaving the recalcitrant cat in the carrier looking out with a “what just happened” look on his face!
Some cats will go into stress/hiding mode as soon as they see the carrier so the two day lead-in may not work with them; here’s an alternative. Take the cat into the bathroom or powder room where there is nowhere to run or hide. Shut them in and then go retrieve the carrier from storage (or beforehand, hide the carrier in the room, then go get the cat). Top loading carriers work best, but if you don’t have one you can tip the carrier on end and lower the cat in rear-end first; when they can’t see where they are going they typically don’t start to struggle in time to get the upper-hand (or paw as it were) . Do not waste any time sweet-talking. Just pick him up, put him in, and be quick. Stay calm to help your cat stay calm.
When your cat is scared or stressed at home he may head for a close, dark space to hide, usually under the bed or the back of the closet, right? So, make the ride in the car less stressful for him by covering the carrier with a large towel or blanket. The darkness will help calm him.
We have found that using the above guidelines makes traveling with your cat much more comfortable for both of you. With visits to the vet less stressful, we hope to see our patients on a much more regular basis and so be better able to attend to their healthcare needs. A win win situation for all.
Written by Dr. Bob Lann and the staff of Cats Exclusively
P.S. Make sure that you put an absorbent towel in the bottom of the carrier in case your kitty has an “accident”.
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Cats Exclusively Veterinary Hospital 1311 Marsh Road Pittsford NY 14534 (585)248-9590 Updated for July 2017