Mind of Your Cat

October 2008 Issue

Help Calm Anxiety at the Vet's Office

Here's some expert advice to help make the experience more pleasant for both of you.

Isnít it remarkable that most cats are well-behaved when they visit their veterinarians? First, they are captured and put into an automobile. They remain in their containers, sheltered but helpless, in a room filled with the scent of unfamiliar cats, humans and even dogs. Finally, every bit of security is lost when the cat is removed from its newfound shelter and the veterinary team places the cat on the examination table. Why do cats behave so nicely? Fear can sometimes render a cat motionless and therefore cooperative. Fearful cats ó whether immobile or aggressive ó can benefit from a behavior modification specifically designed to address high arousal. But what about the average cat, dare I say the "normal" cat? There may be no indication for intensive therapy or anxiety-reducing medication. But clearly, the veterinary experience is not entirely stress-free. Rather than take a catís good behavior for granted, why not reduce some of the stressors that can occur during a visit to the veterinary hospital? Letís examine some components of the visit that could trigger anxiety.

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