According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP):
- Almost twice as many cats than dogs NEVER visit the veterinarian
- Cats average 26% fewer visits than dogs
- 41% of cat owners visit the veterinarian only for vaccinations
- 39% of cat owners say they would only take their cat to the veterinarian if the cat was sick
- 60% of cat owners report their cat hates going to the veterinarian
- 38% of cat owners report they get stressed just thinking about bringing their cat to the vet
Why Do Cats Visit The Vet Less Than Dogs?
Taking your cat to the veterinarian often involves a battle against your cat. First, you need to battle your cat into the cat carrier. Then, as you make your way to the veterinarian, your cat is often howling and crying in anger from being in the carrier in the car. You then enter the lobby with an irritated cat as you wait your turn. There are several steps you can take though, which will make the visit to the veterinarian a bit easier.
- Get your pet used to being handled. Giving your cat head-to-tail check-ups at home and getting him used to being handled will help you with your vet visit. Not only does this help during the veterinary examination, it would also ease your mind because if anything is seriously wrong, you are likely to notice it immediately with your own check-up.
- Get your cat used to its carrier. Your cat’s carrier should be their ‘safe haven.’ If your cat is only used to being in his carrier for vet visits, he will associate the carrier with a negative (in his mind) experience. In order to reduce this feeling, you should place treats in your cat carrier with some blankets to make the carrier feel like his comfort zone. Incorporate the carrier into your cat’s daily routine.
- Take your cat on joy rides. Most cats despise car rides. The majority of a cat’s anxiety is not actually the veterinary office; it is on the ride to the veterinary office. Cats prefer predictable to spontaneous. Some cats enjoy the car, but they seem to be few and far between. You can get your cat accustomed to the car by bringing her on short rides. Start with a 5 minute ride and gradually increase the amount of time spent in the car.
Acclimation Is Key
Cats are a bit more difficult to train than dogs; however, it can be done via acclimation to varied conditions. Try to make your cat more comfortable with spontaneous trips, pet him to calm him when he is stressed, and make his carrier his safe haven. This may be extremely difficult with some cats and a very simplest transition with others.