Did you know that August 22nd is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day? I’ll admit it; I didn’t have a clue! After looking at some different statistics, I don’t think I’m the only one who missed the memo.

We know that pet owners love their cats, so why aren’t they taking them to the vet for routine exams? It could be for a variety of reasons. Cats are great at hiding illnesses, so it can be easy to forget that cats get sick. Many cats spend a majority of their day indoors, which may lead some cat owners to mistakenly believe that their cats won’t catch any illnesses or parasites. And last, but certainly not least, most cats hate going to the vet, which can make it a stressful experience for cats and their owners.

At Thomas Labs, we know that preventative care and veterinary checkups are so important. And we understand that it can be stressful! We hope to ease some of your stress by telling you what you can expect during routine vet visits and giving you tips for making the visit go smoothly!

What to Expect

If you’ve never brought your cat to the vet for a routine checkup, you may find yourself wondering what exactly will happen during the visit. The Pet Health Network outlines a few different things that may happen during your cat’s routine visit.

Immunizations:

Vaccines help protect your cat from preventable infectious diseases. Your cat may receive immunizations for rabies, feline distemper, or feline calicivirus. Your vet will determine which vaccines your cat will need, depending on your cat’s age, lifestyle, and risk exposure.

Physical Exam:

We mentioned before that cats are great at hiding illnesses, and we meant it! During a routine exam, your vet will check your cat over for signs of illness and any changes or abnormalities. Your vet will look for subtle changes in coat quality, problems with your cat’s teeth, and changes in the amount of muscle. By being proactive, your vet can discover medical issues early and address them before they get worse.

Parasite Prevention:

Parasites are a pain! So why not prevent them? During the visit, your vet will discuss different steps to prevent internal and external parasites. He or she will check your cat for external parasites including fleas, ticks, and ear mites. Your vet may also analyze a stool sample for internal parasites like roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. 

Labwork:

Your vet may recommend screening blood tests during the visit. As cats age, they become more susceptible to certain diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism. Detecting these diseases early can lead to a more successful treatment and outcome.

Tips for Taking Your Cat to the Vet

Now that you know what to expect during your cat’s routine visit, it’s time to make the appointment and head to the vet! If only it was that easy… Just like people sometimes dread going to the doctor, your cat may not go to the vet without putting up a fight. If that’s the case for your cat, check out these helpful tips for taking your cat to the vet!

  • If your cat doesn’t use his carrier or travel often, it’s important to give him time to get acclimated to it. It might be helpful to put the carrier out a few days ahead of the appointment so that your curious cat can look it over. Leaving the carrier out and open will give him a chance to explore and become more comfortable with it.
  • Finding a product designed to decrease anxiety and stress in cats may also be helpful. You can try spraying your cat’s carrier with a feline pheromone product.
  • If your cat has a favorite toy or blanket, you can put these familiar items inside the carrier to make it more comfortable and inviting.
  • Don’t forget the treats! Sometimes a little bribery is all it takes. In the days leading up to the appointment, put treats inside the carrier. This will help him associate the carrier with a positive experience.
  • If your cat doesn’t travel often, the car ride to the vet will probably be scary and stressful for him. It may be helpful to go on a few practice trips with the goal of getting your cat accustomed to the carrier and car. Go for a short drive and then reward your cat with a treat afterward.
  • If you’re afraid your cat might get stressed from too much visual stimulation, you can cover the carrier with a towel during the drive and while sitting in the waiting room.
  • Some veterinary hospitals and clinics have separate waiting areas for cats, or they will take cats immediately into the exam room to avoid additional stress caused by other animals. See if your vet has these options!
  • If all else fails, talk to your vet. He or she may suggest giving your cat a mild sedative before the visit to help calm him down. Or your vet might even do house calls, so you can avoid the vet clinic completely.

Routine checkups and veterinary care are important for protecting your cat from preventable illnesses and detecting diseases early. Even though taking your cat to the vet may not be your definition of fun, you’ll be glad to know your feline friend is safe and healthy. While it’s still fresh in your mind, go ahead and make an appointment for your cat’s routine checkup!