Taking your kitten to the vet for the first time
- It’s important that your kitten associates early vet visits with positive experiences
- This will ensure that vet visits throughout their life will be far easier and stress-free
- Look for vets with separate dog and cat areas, and keep your kitten in a comfy carrier
How should I prepare for my kitten’s first visit to the vet?
You will need a basket to transport your kitten to the vet, and it’s important to gradually get them used to it before the day of your first appointment. Have the basket on display and accessible for periods of time. Line it with something that has a familiar scent, such as a favourite blanket or bedding. You can also consider the use of pheromone products to make the carrier more appealing or you can rub a cloth around your cat’s face and wipe the door and inside the carrier with it so that it smells familiar.
Once your kitten is inside their carrier, practise shutting the basket for a minute or two and then opening it again with the cat inside – the carrier is less scary if it doesn’t signal a long period of “imprisonment”.
If your cat is used to getting treats in the basket or even being fed in there, it will be a lot easier to persuade them to get in when you want to take them to the vet. But don’t feed before you set out on the day of the appointment – not only can this make them travel sick but they will be less interested in treats once you arrive at the vets.
What kind of basket should I use to take my kitten to the vet?
Ensure you buy a basket with a top that can be opened or even removed completely; it’s nice for your pet to be able to sit in their own space whilst the vet examines them, and, if necessary, they can easily be lifted out. Dragging a protesting cat through a small side opening isn’t a good start.
See-through baskets allow your pet see out but bear in mind that this can sometimes be quite scary for them, so it’s best to cover at least part of it with a towel so that they can hide if they want to.
What should I look for in a vet practice for my cat?
Consider looking for a cat-friendly practice as these practices have followed guidelines and taken design measures to make a vet visit less stressful for their feline patients.
How do I keep my kitten calm at the vet's?
If the practice has separate cat and dog areas, make sure you sit in the right area. Otherwise avoid sitting next to barking dogs, and keep your pet out of direct eye contact with other cats. Don’t let children and other interested owners bother your pet. If the waiting room is full or very noisy, it may be advisable to wait your turn in the car but make sure the staff know where you can be found.
Take treats and start giving them as soon as the cat is in the consulting room, provided you haven’t been asked to withhold food (e.g if your pet may be having an anaesthetic).
Keep and act as calm and as relaxed as you possibly can – the calmer you are, the calmer your pet will be.