The Egyptians were one of the most powerful, technologically advanced, and long-lived ancient civilizations. And, they worshipped cats. Coincidence? Probably not. Cats are smart enough to know what their human companions are asking of them, and intelligent enough to decide whether or not to do it.
The staff at Arrow Dog and Cat Hospital know and understand that cats are unique. We have modified our hospital and our procedures to ensure these amazing creatures have the best possible experience.
A cat’s experience going to the vet
Many cat owners experience the same struggle—the carrier comes out, and the cat disappears. Once you extract your cat, Molly, from underneath the bed, she seems to grow extra legs that prevent you from getting her into the carrier. When she is at last safely contained, her distressed meows begin. You are a particularly unlucky owner, and the real fun begins when you put the carrier with Molly in the car and, from stress or motion sickness, she is car sick.
You and Molly arrive at the veterinary clinic distressed. From inside the carrier, she is assaulted with the sights, sounds, and smells of distressed, anxious dogs. She has a dog friend at home, but strange dogs are scary. Because she’s locked in a box on the ground, she can’t run away or get to a high place that a dog can’t reach, which is how she normally escapes danger.
You wait patiently for the veterinary staff to call you into the exam room. Meanwhile, Molly is trapped in what seems like a life-threatening situation, her blood pressure and heart rate sky-high, and her fight-or-flight response on high alert.
You’ve brought Molly in for her annual wellness visit, including her vaccinations and deworming. But, because she has already spent more than an hour in the waiting area, feeling like her life was in danger, asking her to sit still for her physical exam is simply too much. Her stress hormones are circulating in full force, and the thermometer tips her over the edge. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but all she wants is to get away from the scary people.
Because Molly is so fearful, the veterinary team suggests some medication to “take the edge off.” Most sedatives are safe, although some risk is always present, but once you are at home and your cat is less stressed, she likely will be groggy and sleepy for the rest of the day.
How Arrow is making veterinary visits better for cats
We recognize that cats have different needs to stay calm and comfortable when they come for veterinary care. Here are six ways to improve Molly’s experience:
- Carrier comfort — Make the cat carrier comfortable with your cat’s favorite bedding and toys, and keep it where your kitty may be enticed to nap inside.
- Carrier training — Train your kitty to like her carrier. Start by dropping a few treats in the carrier every day, closing the door when the cat is inside, and then opening it immediately. Slowly increase the time your cat is in the carrier with the door closed. Familiarity with the carrier should help your cat relax when you make the next trip to the vet.
- Stress reduction — Use a pheromone to help your cat relax. Nothing can make the car ride shorter, but you can make it less stressful. Use Feliway products, which contain pheromones that reduce stress and help cats stay calm and relaxed, at home, in the carrier, and at the veterinary hospital.
- Anti-nausea medication — If your kitty gets car sick, ask us about an anti-nausea medication that could help. If fear and anxiety are her problem, ask our cat-loving team about anti-anxiety medication options. Pre-medicating for anxiety may prevent the need for stronger sedatives at the hospital.
- Cats-only entrance — When you arrive at our hospital, a completely different experience awaits. You and your cat walk in through a cats-only entrance that leads to a quiet waiting room where no dogs are allowed, so there’s no dog smell that will stress your furry feline.
- Individual treatment — We provide the best possible treatment methods for your kitty. Our examination techniques are specially designed to keep her as comfortable as possible by allowing each individual personality to dictate how she is examined. If she is comfortable in your lap, she stays there. If she prefers to hide, we will wait until she’s ready to come out. And, because our goal is to keep your beloved feline as calm and comfortable as possible, we will only take her temperature if it is medically necessary.
Molly might be a hypothetical example, but Biggie is a real-life example of how Arrow Dog and Cat Hospital is working to improve the lives of our feline patients. Biggie was relinquished at a whopping 37 pounds after his owner was unable to continue to care for him. Thanks to compassionate dedication by Dr. Agarwal, Biggie now weighs a healthy 14 pounds. His impressive weight loss even made the LA Times.
The Arrow Dog and Cat Hospital veterinary team is always ready to welcome your kitty with open arms and personal, stress-free treatment. Contact us to make an appointment.