June 2015 Issue

Why Cats Hate Veterinary Visits

They fear the unfamiliar — the noise and smells — but these seven easy steps can help ease their anxiety

More than half of cat owners — 58 percent — report that their cat hates going to the veterinarian, according to a study by Bayer Veterinary Care. They hide, hiss and howl for one simple reason: They’re afraid. Through no fault of their own, cats’ native instinct to stay safe by avoiding the unfamiliar doesn’t serve them in the crate, the car and the clinic.

“Cats may be unfamiliar with loud noises, such as barking dogs or vocalizing cats, strange odors in the air and on the floor of the clinic, and that translates into fear,” says Leni K. Kaplan, MS, DVM, a lecturer in the Community Practice Service at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Cats are also routine-oriented, and going to the vet, which most likely involves traveling in a car, is not part of their regular routine.”

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