By Kisha Aleena Abuda

Remember when you were a kid and your mom forced you to go to the clinic even when you absolutely didn’t want to? Just like us, many of our animal companions dislike going to the doctor, whether it’s only for a quick check-up or a serious injury. Our animal companions might not understand the need for medical attention, but as responsible hoomans, it is our duty to take care of our fur babies, whether they like it or not.

What makes the task harder is when they resist going to the vet. While dogs are more cooperative in humanled endeavors, their feline counterparts are not so easy to convince. We all know that cats are the hot-and-cold sort of creatures, but some really do have a certain “cattitude”. And while taking those cats for a visit to the clinic is more challenging, we should also be
hell-bent on doing our part and ease them into it.

If you’re a cat parent and want to be smart in taking them to the vet, here are a few tips you can use – so that you don’t have to wage war on the cute
little killing machine living with you.

Before going to the vet

1. Check the cattitude

Identify what the visit is for and evaluate whether it can be done at home or not. If you’re a new cat parent and notice that your cat dislikes the food you give, try changing the brand you use or alternate the food you give each day.

There’s no need to go to the vet unless it’s something serious. If they have a small wound which you can treat with water and an antiseptic, it’s best if you can treat it yourself.Since cats dislike new environments which may cause them stress, you should make sure that the trip is worth it – not to mention the scratches.

2. Consider the carriage

Transportation is as important as the destination because making your fur baby comfortable should be your first priority. This is especially true if it’s an emergency – you won’t know if there’s going to be heavy traffic that can cause delay to the vet.

If your cat is already sick and irritable, you should pick something that would ensure that the trip is smooth as much as possible. Whether it is a bag, a trolley, or a carrier, make sure that it is well-ventilated and not shaky. A carrier is commonly used for felines because it can easily be handled and cleaned, but you should also consider their preference. Also, bring treats or toys to keep them busy.

3. Call the clinic

It’s wise to make appointments instead of walk-ins to make sure that your cat spends only the ideal amount of time with the vet. If you’re going for their scheduled shots (which you should make sure to complete) or to have them spayed or neutered, it is best to know whether the clinic will be full or sparse.

Just imagine a waiting room full of sick, weepy, and fidgety fur babies with your own cat-child who’s not getting happier with every second that goes by. While you can give immediate comfort to your animal companion, the other critters won’t. Long lines won’t make your cat any friendlier.

While at the vet

1. Caress their coat

The oldest trick to feign calmness is to pet your feline friend. While you can’t explain why you had to take them to the clinic or, because of some unfortunate circumstances, to the emergency room, the best way to let them know that their hooman cares is by caressing them. Stroking their back or soothing their head can ease them into the waiting room and the eventual cat face-to-face with the veterinarian.

Calling their name also helps them know that you’re there for
them and that you won’t leave them. You can also play with them
to take their mind off the impending doom.

2. Pacify the paws

According to cat experts (or catsperts), there is a proper way of handling your cat companion when they are aggressive during the check-up. Holding their neck and binding one pair of feet can help restrain them just enough for a vaccination shot or a quick physical examination.

This can be done when your cat is lying down on their side or
by holding them in front of you. This will give the vet access to
examining and treating your cat. Either way, this will help hasten
the treatment sans the biting and scratching.

Aftercare

1. Give ’em food and go

And now that you’re back home, you also revert to your familiar, day-to-day roles: you as the provider of food, and your cat as the recipient of all your attention. Of course, stress may affect the appetite of your feline friend before and during the trip to the vet, and now that everything has calmed down, their tummies demand to be filled.

While you were all snuggly at the vet’s office, you now want to give your cat some space to relax and rest. And yes, that means they’re back to ignoring you, hooman.

2. Make the trip back quick

The vet’s treatment was not as smooth as you both wanted it to be. The other critters in the room were loud and agitated (as were you in trying to talk sense to your cat). The booster shot hurt your cat-child physically (more than emotionally) and you both just want for things to return just the way they used to be.

Don’t make unnecessary stopovers on the way back and don’t take the longer route home. No drama needed, just get your fur baby home.

Food for thought

Many feisty cats are rescues from the streets or from abusive households. Your cat’s prior experience with humans affects their perception of strangers, especially ones who poke their bodies with sharp needles and touch them in weird places (or even perform surgery on them).

Devilish as they seem to be to other people, you’re the one who truly knows them and has seen them without the horns (and no, not just while they’re asleep). Planning your trip to the vet, comforting them during stressful times, and looking after their well-being help make a difference in their eyes.

Whether they’re spawns of the devil or the gentlest of felines, every cat should receive the care they need, whether medically or emotionally, with the help of their human companions. And isn’t that what matters the most, hooman?

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s July-August 2020 issue.

You might want to read:
– Here’s why you should love a cat as told by celebrity fur-parents Jennylyn Mercado and Dennis Trillo
– Man reunites with his lost cat while looking for new companion in animal shelter
– Tabby hangs around hospital for a year, gets hired as security cat