2851 W. IRVING PARK RD  CHICAGO, ILLINOIS  60618     PHONE  (773) 539-9080   FAX  (773) 478-0605

Low-Stress Veterinary Trips and Visits


Cat Hospital of Chicago

One of the biggest concerns of going to the veterinarian is the STRESS it can cause you and your cat.  Let's make it low stress!  Here are some tips to have a pleasant trip to the veterinarian.  If you have any questions, please call us and we will be happy to discuss strategies!

1. Relax! Stay calm! Your cat is very perceptive to your emotions, so it's important for you to be serene.  We know this is easier said than done, but it is critical!

2. No "poor kitty you're going to the veterinarian".  It's WONDERFUL that you care enough to make sure your cat gets good, regular health care!

3. Select a good carrier.  We recommend a hard-sided, top- and side-opening carrier that comes apart.

4. Teach your cat to like his/her carrier.

a. Leave the carrier out and open all the time. It's not just for travel but also a cozy nap!
b. Make it comfortable - keep his favorite bed in there.
c. Toss treats/toys inside and if he goes in, praise him in a soft voice immediately.
d. Leave the carrier in a favorite spot.

5. Acclimate your cat to car rides.

a. Take your cat out to the car, buckle him in, start the car, and sit for a few minutes. Speak softly to him while in the car. Praise him when he gets back inside.
b. Take your cat on short car rides that go nowhere. Speak softly to him during the rides. Praise him when he gets home.

6. At the veterinarian:

a. If you are early and you think your cat may be more comfortable, ask to wait in an examination room which may be quieter than the reception area.
b. In the examination room, place the carrier on the floor and open the door. He can come out if he likes.

7. Other tips.

a. Some cats prefer to have their carrier covered with a blanket or towel. It's quieter.
b. Try using spraying the carrier with a synthetic pheromone (like Feliway) to elicit a calmer response.
c. If your cat has had bad experiences in the past, consider getting a brand new carrier - one without the "memories".
d. And remember, relax and stay calm!

8. Videos and articles.  The following are some excellent resources that go into more details.

ARTICLE: "Pleasant Veterinary Visits"

VIDEO: "Cat & Carriers: Friends, Not Foes"

VIDEO: "Scotty Goes to the Vet"

VIDEO: "Tips for Taking Your Cat to the Veterinarian"

VIDEO: "Cat Carrier Training with Dr. Jacqui Nielson and Bug (Day 1)"

VIDEO: "Day 2 of Cat Carrier Training with Dr. Jacqui Nielson and Bug"

BROCHURE: "Getting your Cat to the Veterinarian"

ARTICLE: "Cat Carrier Training"

« Return to Library

Cat Friendly Practice         AAHA Accredited