By providing a calm, low stress experience for our feline friends we can ensure they receive optimal medical care. We are working at making a veterinary visit a more relaxed experience for both you and your cat. A cat with less stress and fear will have a safer procedure and better recovery. 

                                                          

    

Preparing for a Veterinary Visit

Chasing your cat around the house, hauling it out from under the bed, cursing when it scratches, forcing it into an unfamiliar cage and removing it from its territory in a strange moving vehicle almost guarantees a poor experience for you and your cat.

To help us help your cat we clearly have to do a better job at this.

We can start by having a suitable cage. One that allows the cat to be placed in from the top is great. Soft zip up cages and ones that can be quickly taken apart are also appropriate.

We need to make the cage a happy place. At a minimum have the cage in a favourite spot in the living room for at least a week before a visit. Put a cosy blanket in the cage and fresh treats in it daily. Play with toys in and around the cage. A daily spray with facial pheromone (feliway) can be helpful.

Cage Familiarisation Video

No matter how chilled your cat might be, every cat must arrive at the clinic with the safety and security of a cage. Please feel free to call the clinic to borrow one if this is needed though this does mean your cat has not had an opportunity to become comfortable with the cage.

Transporting your cat

If your cat has become at ease with its cage it may enter voluntarily with treats. The trick to getting your cat gently into a carrier is to control its feet in your hands. With top opening carriers, placing the cat into the cage head first then releasing the feet at the last minute works well. With front opening cages, often placing cats in backwards will reduce the issue of the cats legs preventing entry. For timid cats, gently wrapping in a blanket to control the legs and putting the cat and blanket into the cage can be the least stressful method.

Covering the cage with a towel can reduce stimulation and arousal during the journey. Ideally, hold the cage by the base rather than swinging from a handle. Keep the cage secure in the car, the best spot is often in the footwell behind the driver on the floor rather than on a seat. Keep noise levels low - no cranking up your favourite song on the car radio.

 

How to approach your cat 

Putting your cat in a carrier

Getting your cat used to travel

 Some cats are already anxious and timid in their home environment. These cats can benefit greatly from some gentle anti-anxiety medication given in a little food two hours before their visit.

Please contact reception to discuss our Calm Cat Kit which contains a Feliway wipe, Gabapenten capsule and cheat sheets.

Arrival at the Clinic

Cats have their own special cat corner at the Clinic which our Reception team will direct you to. Cats like to be elevated so place your cat cage on the bench seat beside you where you can also reassure them. The cat corner has a feline facial pheromone diffuser (feliway) operating all the time to help relax your cat after the trip. We also have a basket of towels that have been sprayed in feliway so please feel free to place one of these over your cats cage to decrease its arousal.  The cat corner area provides a visual barrier from any dogs that may enter the reception area.

If your cat is especially timid you can speak to Reception first so we can ensure there are no boisterous dogs present and can move your cat quickly through to the cat friendly corner or consultation room.

For specific questions please talk to one of our feline advocates, Kirsten, Tayla or Laura     

The consultation

Initially we will open your cats cage to see if it will come out naturally. Please don't try and haul your cat out to be helpful. Ideally a top opening cage, a soft zip open cage or a cage that comes quickly apart is ideal for gaining stress free access to your cat for examination.

We will always handle your cat gently. We may use a towel wrap to reduce anxiety and facilitate a procedure. If your cat is becoming aggitated we will have up to two attempts at a procedure, if reasonable, before stopping. We do not want to create an unpleasant experience your cat will remember at future visits. Your cat may be admitted to hospital to try again later when more relaxed, or some sedation may be appropriate. A visit could be rescheduled, if not urgent, with a previsit anti-anxiety treament given two hours before the visit to see if this helps. We will never forcibly restrain a cat.

Hospital care

When you leave your cat in our care you can trust that we will continue to provide a safe, low stress environment.

We have a separate cat ward that is airconditioned and has an extraction fan. The cages are fully insulated fibreglass to retain warmth. We have designed boxes for cats to hide inside or sit on top of if they wish. The cat ward has specially developed calming music for cats playing all day long and its own pheromone diffuser. The cat ward has its own workstation with cat scales, warm air blanket system and remote video monitoring.

We have at least one nurse who is dedicated to looking after the wellbeing of our hospitalised patients and communicating with the Vet responsible all day.

We have numerous items of equipment specifically useful for cats such as tiny videoscopes for looking in the nose, throat and lungs of cats. We provide in house blood testing including thyroid hormone levels and important digital dental xrays. There are hotdog heating blankets, tiny locking plates for fractures, ultrasound guided biopsies and even laparoscopy. 

Medicating your cat

One of the biggest worries owners have is that we are going to recommend a medication for their cat that they can't administer. To be fair a large bitter pill is a challenge for even Veterinary staff and we don't want treatment to affect your relationship with your cat or for you to be injured.

Fortunately there are many feline friendly options for most of our common conditions these days. These can include medications that can be mixed with food, oral liquids, long acting injections or even medications that can be absorbed through the skin.

Our nurses are a great resource for demonstrating safe techniques for medication administration. Sometimes you will need to help us to help your pet and the following videos will help.

How to give a tablet, option 1

How to give a tablet, option 2

How to give eye medication

How to give ear medication

How to give spot-on treatment