When the cat needs to go to the vet...
Most cat owners are always dreading it...how do you get your cat into the carrier in the best way? Not all cats are that easy, and not all baskets either... That is why we have put together some tips for you:
Choose the right carrier
The old-fashioned wicker basket looks very nice, but it is a drama to get the cat IN, but also to get the cat OUT again at the clinic. Thanks to the reed the cat has every possibility to brace itself. The most convenient is a basket with a front AND a top door. And of the right size. A cat must be able to move and turn around easily in the basket.
So preferably not this...
This is a handy carrier
Get the scent right
After a visit to the vet, clean the carrier thoroughly with soda or biotex, especially if the cat has been very scared, even if the carrier does not seem to have become dirty. Cats give off certain pheromones when under stress. The next time you take the basket out of the attic, the cat will still smell how scared and stressed it was last time and the basket will smell like the vet's surgery. Also put in a cleanly laundered rug or towel. Or, even better, use a rug that the cat has slept on in the days before, because it has a 'positive pheromone smell' on it. These 'happy pheromones' are also imitated and sold under the name Feliway. The Feliway spray is very suitable to make a cat basket more attractive. Let Feliway spray soak in for half an hour before you try to put the cat in the basket.
We have Feliway in stock and you can always pick it up at the counter.
Getting used to the carrier
It is best if the cat gets used to the carrier and even gets a positive association with it. This, however, takes some time and practice. It is best to start at a young age. Do not store the carrier in the shed or attic, but make it part of your interior. Put the carrier with the door open in a familiar place, where the cat normally likes to lie. Put a nice rug in the basket, use Feliway if necessary, add some nice toys and treats. If the cat still sees the basket as a scary thing, put a cloth over it if necessary, so that the basket is not recognisable as such. Tempt the cat to come into the basket with, for example, a laser light, a treat, etc. When the basket has become a familiar and safe place, you can close the door now and then. In the beginning, reward the cat when it stays calm. If staying in the basket with the door closed goes well, you can carefully lift the basket with the cat in it and walk it around the room. Always reward the cat if it behaves calmly. If walking around is okay, you can start practising with the car or bike. First a short distance, then a little longer.
It is very important to allow enough time for each step and not to go too fast. If the cat is scared or stressed, take a step back in the process.
At the vet
Does the cat get scared of other cats/dogs/people etc? Make sure that the cat cannot see other people or animals. Keep the basket high up, do not put it on the ground. If necessary, use a towel over the basket to block the view. Once in the consulting room, it is usually most pleasant for the cat if it can get out of the basket on its own, if time permits. If the cat makes no move at all, a basket with an opening at the top is the best way to get it out without struggling.
If your cat is really stressed or scared in the waiting room, you can always ask the assistant if you can wait in another room. We usually have an extra room available where you can take a seat in peace and quiet.
Stay calm yourself
Cats can instantly sense their owner's stress. Stay calm and relaxed at all times and act decisively. If that doesn't work, it might be better to ask another member of the family to take the cat to the vet.
After the visit
Once at home, cats left at home may react aggressively or fearfully. They react especially to the smell that the cat has brought with it from the vet's practice. You can prevent this by rubbing the cat that has been to the vet with a rug or t-shirt that you yourself have worn in the days before, or on which the other cats have been sleeping relaxed.
Wash the transport basket again thoroughly with soda or biotex and place it back in the room. Leave it for at least a few days after the vet visit.
And if it really doesn't work...
If all the above tips have not helped and the cat really has to go into the basket. Take a large towel, wrap it around the cat and let the cat fall into the basket with the towel and all. If you have a basket that can only be opened at the top, put it with the open door upwards and the back towards the bottom. Always let the cat fall in with its butt first, not with its head forward, then it will resist even more.