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August 23, 2012

Tips to make the trip smoother

  • A little nail trimming can go a long way toward mitigating a playful kitten’s scratches. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

  • Kids can learn proper pet care by participating in vet visits with your feline. Fotolia

  • Over time, cats can learn that even if an exam isn’t exactly fun, it doesn’t have to be a source of terror. Ed Lallo

  • Regular vet visits are essential for elderly cat companions. Nancy Peterson/The HSUS

Cats are the most popular pet in the country. But many miss out on regular veterinary visits because the trip can be taxing, for human and feline alike.  

But just as with any pet, regular preventive veterinary checkups are essential—particularly as your cat ages and becomes more prone to weight gain, diabetes, and dental disease.

In honor of Feline Pine‘s “Take Your Cat to the Vet Week,” here are some cat-friendly tips to make feline health-care visits easier for everyone.

1. Get your cat used to his carrier.

Well before the day of the vet visit, try leaving the carrier out with the door open and a tasty treat inside. Make sure the carrier is large enough for your cat to move around comfortably. Let him rest inside the carrier and then leave when he wants to. Positive experiences with the carrier beforehand can help avert the notorious mad dash for a hiding spot whenever the carrier appears.

2. Find a cat-friendly veterinarian.

Some vets focus exclusively on cats, while others have set up their space so that your kitty does not have to come nose-to-nose with a curious canine. Check out the American Association of Feline Practitioners to find an accommodating veterinarian.

3. Praise your cat for a job well done.

Verbal reassurance, a treat through the wire of her carrier, and a steady stream of pets will help to reassure your cat that she is loved and safe—and will survive this harrowing trip.

4. Make a list.

Write down any questions or concerns that you may have about your cat’s health or behavior, so you can make the most of your visit. Don’t be afraid to ask “silly” questions—that’s what your veterinarian is there for. Learn what you need to know in order to keep your cat healthy and happy for many years.

For more extensive tips on getting your cat to the vet, see the AAFP’s brochure [PDF] on reducing the stress of veterinary visits for your cat.

Worried about the cost?

Preventive care and diagnosing a health problem early on can actually save you money. We’ve got resources to make it easier to afford those yearly (or twice-yearly) vet visits that are key to helping you and your cat enjoy a long, healthy life together:

Trouble Affording Veterinary Care?
You Can Afford to Have Your Cat Spayed or Neutered
Having Trouble Affording Your Pet?

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Article source: HSUS

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