A visit to the vet can be stressful for a cat and therefore for the owner. The solution is to prepare:
Your cat’s carrier should be a familiar and happy place.
Let your cat adjust to the carrier positively and gradually, from as young an age as possible. Locate the carrier (door open or off) in one of his/her favorite places and toss treats inside from time to time until the cat walks inside freely. Sprinkling catnip will help too. Then practice closing him inside for short periods of time.
When it’s time for the trip to the vet and your cat is safely inside, cover the carrier with a towel or small blanket. Hold the carrier from both top and bottom for safety.
Work with your vet.
Felines have the ability to mask symptoms of disease and as a result they are taken to the vet less than half as often as dogs. Be a vigilant observer of your cat’s behavior. Look for clues that something might not be right so you can give your vet the evidence. Hiding or failing to come when called could mean your cat is sick. Urinating outside the litter box could be more than an accident–it could be a painful urinary infection. Vomiting could be more than just a hairball. Sneezing could be more than just dusty litter. Bring your vet your observations.
Pay special attention to your senior cat.
Today cats typically can live into their late teens and twenties with the right care; three times longer than in the past. Most cats will become senior cats. Addressing senior health issues at the initial stage makes for a better outcome than letting the condition progress. Weight gain, as well as weight loss, may signal a need for early intervention. An obese cat often requires a special diet to control diabetes or kidney disease. A thinning cat may have dental disease. A cat who seems lame or stiff or rests in new places may need treatment for arthritis.
Post your emergency vet’s phone number on your refrigerator.
Plan what you will do if your pet becomes sick late at night. Does your family vet provide 24/7 emergency service? If not, what emergency vet will you call? Who will drive your pet to the vet? Make plans for the “what if” scenario.