Our team at Heartwood Animal Hospital is so excited to welcome your new cat to the family. A cat can bring a lot of comfort and laughs to a family. Making a well socialized cat/kitten can help reduce pet stress over its life, reduce cases of inappropriate eliminations/urinations, and help with making a calm and enjoyable veterinary visit for your cat for years to come. Below is some helpful information in regards to caring for your cat/kitten and helping to support pleasant vet visits throughout its life.

Did you know cats are actually trainable? For some great reading on how to train and socialize your cat, look into: “The Trainable Cat” by John Bradshaw and Sara Ellis. This book also has an audiobook version!

Find the right carrier for transporting your cat. Hard-sided carriers that have a top that can clip on and off is best. This allows the medical team to take the lid off the carrier to examine the cat in the most comfortable manner. Soft-sided carriers work best for highly aggressive patients as medications may be administered through the siding. Below is an example of the preferred type of cat carrier.

Hard-sided carrier with snaps to remove top: preferred carrier type

Soft-sided carrier: preferred for highly aggressive feline patients

If your cat only sees the carrier for travel and visit to the veterinary office, it will likely resent the carrier and shy away when you bring the carrier out of storage. Your cat will feel much more comfortable in the carrier if it is “desensitized” to it and able to create a positive interaction with the presence of the carrier. When you have an upcoming veterinary visit, it is helpful to bring the carrier out of storage a few days prior to the visit. Placing one of your cat’s favorite blankets, some delicious treats, and/or catnip in the carrier a few days before travel can help create a positive interaction and association with the carrier. Doing this makes it much easier to get your cat in the carrier when it is time to travel to the veterinary office.

Now that your cat is less nervous about being in the carrier, it is important to make the travel to the veterinary office as pleasant as possible. A bit of Feliway spray into the carrier right at travel can provide calming pheromones to your kitty during the car ride. If possible, hold the carrier by the sides/bottom to stabilize it when walking with the carrier in your arms. Doing this helps reduce movement inside the carrier and make for a more smooth ride than if the carrier is held by the handle on the top. When in the car, place the carrier on the floor board behind the drivers or passenger seat. This location provides for a smooth and quiet ride for your cat.

Once you have arrived to the veterinary office, you can finally relax and let the veterinary team provide stress-free handling to your cat/kitten.

For more helpful information in regards to kitten care, litter box management, training for appropriate scratching, and much more, our doctors recommend visiting catfriendly.com. This website is created by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), of which Heartwood Animal Hospital is a member. AAFP membership provides Heartwood Animal Hospital with resources to be cat-friendly and support the special needs of our feline patients. Working together, we hope to help you create the most cat-friendly home possible as well!

Please give our hospital a call if you would like to schedule an appointment with our doctors here at Heartwood Animal Hospital to discuss specific care recommendations for your cat/kitten.