There is nothing more difficult than taking a cat to the vet, unless you have your shit locked down — like me — and have a cat like Emma. Taking my cat to the vet is easy. She is just perfect and adorable.
(Okay, that’s a lie. My shit is far from locked down, and taking her to the vet can be a pain-in-the-ass.)
Here is how you do it.
Before You Go to the Vet
- You must have a carrier. Cats get motion sickness. No need to medicate for this condition. They do better when they are confined to a box. It’s also safer for you as a driver. Get a cat carrier or ask your vet to borrow one for the visit. Really. Vets loan out carriers all of the time!
- Keep the carrier out in your home at all times. When your carrier is just another normal piece of furniture, it’s not a dreaded object. Move the carrier 1x/week to show your cats that you can move the carrier for no reason. The carrier doesn’t always mean the vet.
- Plan your vet visit for a time of day that’s pretty chill. We go in the morning because the cats have full tummies and low energy levels.
Getting to the Vet
- Breathe. This is no big deal. Really. You are a good parent. They are meowing, not dying.
- Pick a good blanket for the carrier. Cats do best with a blanket that they know and love. Also, a good (and ratty) blanket absorbs any accidental pee.
- Think (and trap) strategically. Two nights before a vet visit, I like to put our carrier in the room where I will trap my cat. You could try to establish a ritual and feed them treats in your “trapping room” for about a week before you actually trap them and take them to the vet.
- Load your carrier into your car with your garage door closed (if possible). Lots of stories about dropped carriers and cats who escape. If you live in an apartment, get your car as close to your apartment door as possible. Move like James Bond: with purpose and intention.
- Be quiet when you drive. The natural tendency is to talk to your cat. You want to calm them down; however, your weird and stressed voice makes it worse. Don’t play the radio, don’t sing, and don’t try to reassure your kitties through a prolonged conversation. If you do talk to your kitties, keep it soft and quiet.
- Your cat carrier should latch into the passenger seatbelt. You don’t want your cat to become a missile if you are in a car accident.
- Be prepared for the sad kitty song. The Ballad of the Blue Kitty® is an old classic meant to trick you into opening the carrier in the car and petting your cat. Don’t do it. It’s not safe. Distracted cat drivers are dangerous, yo. Your cats will meow. They might pee, pant or even poop in the carriers. They are stressed. But this is only temporary.
- Keep it short. If possible, find a vet near your home. Keep the drive under 15 minutes to make everyone happy.
I believe that animals mimic our behaviors. If we are stressed, they are stressed. So CTFD and use your superior intellect to make the experience as simple and easy as possible.
Or find a mobile vet!