How Can I Get My Cat To The Vet?

Dr Barron and Ellen’s coffee talk is back

All right. Hi everybody, we’re back. Ta-da. Anyway, my name is Dr. Erica Barron, and this is our head technician at Nova Cat Clinic, Ellen Carozza. And I am back from maternity leave. So we are back to doing our coffee with cats stuff, our discussions. And, today, we’re going to talk about something that makes our lives easier when you do it. And it makes your lives easier when you do it. And your cat will be happy. So we’re going to talk about how to successfully start a cat vet-visit at home. That was kind of hard to say.
You mean to get your cat to the vet clinic at home?
Yeah. We have to start for success by starting at home.
At home. To get the cat to the vet clinic.
That’s what I’m trying to say [laughter]. I have an infant, so I’m a little tired. So we’re just going to put it out there. So I’m sorry ahead of time. Anyway, whenever I think of the best ways to get your cat to the vet, I always think of two people. I think of Dr. Ilona Rodan and I think of Samantha Martin. Samantha Martin’s with the Amazing Acro-Cats. And both of them really talk about how to train your cat to get into a carrier. In fact, Dr. Rodan has many pictures in her book, and throughout her websites and things like that, with just how the cat carriers just live out, not in the closet. They’re always just out. And the cats sort of treat them kind of like dogs with dog crates, how they just really feel comfortable in them. And it’s a good thing. And I know Samantha Martin– does she use a whistle?
Yes. She uses a whistle that the cats actually will get into the cat carriers when they hear a very specific whistle.
Which, if you think about it, is a really good idea. Because I know for me, I get one shot with my little cat Cleo, to try to get her. And then she’s gone for three days, which is amazing because our apartment’s 1,200 square feet [laughter], and I don’t know how she does it. But she does it. And whenever there’s an emergency, like when the fire alarm goes off or something in the building, I always hope it’s not true because most of the time I can’t catch her. And then, I hope it’s not really a fire because I like my cat.
Yeah. They scatter like roaches and you’re like, “You’re on your own.”
And then you feel awful as you’re standing out there waiting for the fire department.
I know. You’re just sitting there like, “I hope it’s not a real fire.” So Ellen, why don’t you talk about some of your favorite ways to get cats into carriers.
My favorite ways to get cats in carriers? Well, first of all, the one thing that we would like to see is our clients actually admit that they’re having difficulty getting their cats to the vet’s office. Because then we’re actually able to help you a little bit better because every single cat is an individual. So not all cat carriers are made the same for every single cat. Some cats will do fantastic with a soft cat carrier. Some cats need a hard cat carrier. That’s a top loader to actually put them in easier because, for some reason, when you try to put a cat into a cat carrier, they become really big, really fast.
Even the little ones. It’s like they are magically large.
And you can’t get them in. It’s like you need to tamp them down. So there are different cat carriers that you are able to flip the lid back on rather quickly versus sometimes with the soft cat carriers, you kind of have to hold their head in place as you’re zipping around hoping they don’t fit their head through a little hole like that and jump back through. So big–
It’s like they get big and little at the same time.
It’s like a hamster. If you can get your head through it, the body goes through it, too. So being honest about what kind of difficulty you’re having makes it easier for us to kind of guide you with the best kind of cat carrier to have for your cat in general. I follow what Dr. Rodan does, and Samantha. I actually have my cat carriers all over my house, and they’re always open. Now, regardless if my cats like it when they actually see me come over, and push them down, and zip it up is a different story. But at least my cats aren’t afraid of the cat carrier. And so when they’re bringing a cat carrier from a shed– and that’s my favorite. They’re always dirty with leaves in it and stuff like that. And you know that this only comes out–
Or when you find mice poop in it, and it’s like, “Urgh.”
Oh, it’s the worst. And you know that’s the only time that a cat carrier comes out is when they go to the vet. And maybe it’s only once a year. And maybe it’s your cat hasn’t been to the vet in 10 years. And you got 10 year’s worth of stuff in it. And it doesn’t have a towel. So if your cat performs the trifecta of vomiting, diarrhea, and urinating all over itself in the car-
Yes. And so when they come in the lab, you’re like, “Oh, it’s the cat’s stressed out.”
That creates even more stress in everybody, and then, of course, we have the poor client saying, “And this is why I don’t come. This is awful.” So if we know ahead of time the stressors that you have and your cat has, we’re able to kind of make life a little bit easier. But I have my cat carriers out at all times in my home, and it drives my husband crazy. He’s like, “There’s way too many cat carriers.” I’m like, “It’s one per cat.” It’s like litter boxes. And then one extra, because then you never know.
Yeah. Who knows? Maybe Betty wants that one today, not this one.
Great. And we’ll both come walking in the house, from after work. Guaranteed there are cats in the cat carriers waiting for us.
Oh, that’s good. So my cat carriers are away because my cats attack the cat carriers. So I decided a while ago to put them away. But what I usually do when I get ready to take my cat somewhere, if I know I have to take him, and I’m not just in a blind rush is, I first put my cats in the bathroom. And unless they’ve been fasted, I make the bathroom a happy place. I put sardines in there – my cats love sardines – or tuna, and I try to make it a happy place. And I put some toys in there and play with them, and then I put the carriers in. And then they usually– Cleo doesn’t always do this, but Cosmos – he’s my good cat at home, not here – he just sort of walks in. And then Cleo will usually kind of get in after him to the other one. So, sometimes, if you can’t keep the cat carriers out, for whatever reason, at least play with them around the cat carrier so you can desensitize them to them. Other things you can do to the cat carriers to make it a good experience for them would be, besides the towels, consider spraying the towel – not in front of the cat because cats don’t like sprays – with some Feliway. Make it smell good.
Right. And the magic number is, it’s eight sprays.
Eight sprays.
You got to do it eight times. And then everybody’s going to complain because it fumigates the house, and it smells awful. Do it outside. Do it on the towel. Wait a few minutes for it to disperse. So actually the pheromones actually soak into the towel because no one wants to be jumping on that alcohol smell. You do that, don’t you? You just pump it and dump them?
No [laughter]. I was smiling because today is August 8th, and you’re saying eight.
Oh, because of the eight? The number–
Yeah. Because the eight– yes.
–eight? Today is brought to you by the number eight. And the animal of the day is a cat.
Yes.
So, anyway, eight is the magic number. Unfortunately, with cats, it’s not like a dog. You just can’t put the leash on and say, “Let’s go.” There is a little bit of work to getting your cat to the vet, to have a successful trip to the vet.
Besides from that, other things you can do is, you can give them Zylkene a couple of days before this is going to happen. Zylkene, to remind you, is a milk casein supplement that you can put in their food. I think, subjectively, it makes a big difference for a lot of things with my cats. Some people don’t–
And you give it daily all the way up until the day of your vet visit?
I do. I do. I’ll do it anytime with my cats if I know there’s going to be something stressful. I’ll do it once a day for a couple of days. It depends on how stressful it’s going to be. I hope that this helps you, Mrs. Greenberg, with Gilbert because I love seeing Gilbert. He’s so cute.
Yes. We love Gilbert.
And I agree with you, Miss Thornton, that Feliway is a lifesaver.
I know. It’s pretty cool.
I feel like with my cats it subjectively helps them fight less when there’s something stressful going on. Let’s see. What are some other ideas we have to get them in the carrier? I like to put a little bit of food and some snacks in there.
Yeah. My favorite is when they have snacks on the day of surgery.
Oh, well not that [laughter]. We don’t like that.

All right. Hi everybody, we’re back. Ta-da. Anyway, my name is Dr. Erica Barron, and this is our head technician at Nova Cat Clinic, Ellen Carozza. And I am back from maternity leave. So we are back to doing our coffee with cats stuff, our discussions. And, today, we’re going to talk about something that makes our lives easier when you do it. And it makes your lives easier when you do it. And your cat will be happy. So we’re going to talk about how to successfully start a cat vet-visit at home. That was kind of hard to say.
You mean to get your cat to the vet clinic at home?
Yeah. We have to start for success by starting at home.
At home. To get the cat to the vet clinic.
That’s what I’m trying to say [laughter]. I have an infant, so I’m a little tired. So we’re just going to put it out there. So I’m sorry ahead of time. Anyway, whenever I think of the best ways to get your cat to the vet, I always think of two people. I think of Dr. Ilona Rodan and I think of Samantha Martin. Samantha Martin’s with the Amazing Acro-Cats. And both of them really talk about how to train your cat to get into a carrier. In fact, Dr. Rodan has many pictures in her book, and throughout her websites and things like that, with just how the cat carriers just live out, not in the closet. They’re always just out. And the cats sort of treat them kind of like dogs with dog crates, how they just really feel comfortable in them. And it’s a good thing. And I know Samantha Martin– does she use a whistle?
Yes. She uses a whistle that the cats actually will get into the cat carriers when they hear a very specific whistle.
Which, if you think about it, is a really good idea. Because I know for me, I get one shot with my little cat Cleo, to try to get her. And then she’s gone for three days, which is amazing because our apartment’s 1,200 square feet [laughter], and I don’t know how she does it. But she does it. And whenever there’s an emergency, like when the fire alarm goes off or something in the building, I always hope it’s not true because most of the time I can’t catch her. And then, I hope it’s not really a fire because I like my cat.
Yeah. They scatter like roaches and you’re like, “You’re on your own.”
And then you feel awful as you’re standing out there waiting for the fire department.
I know. You’re just sitting there like, “I hope it’s not a real fire.” So Ellen, why don’t you talk about some of your favorite ways to get cats into carriers.
My favorite ways to get cats in carriers? Well, first of all, the one thing that we would like to see is our clients actually admit that they’re having difficulty getting their cats to the vet’s office. Because then we’re actually able to help you a little bit better because every single cat is an individual. So not all cat carriers are made the same for every single cat. Some cats will do fantastic with a soft cat carrier. Some cats need a hard cat carrier. That’s a top loader to actually put them in easier because, for some reason, when you try to put a cat into a cat carrier, they become really big, really fast.
Even the little ones. It’s like they are magically large.
And you can’t get them in. It’s like you need to tamp them down. So there are different cat carriers that you are able to flip the lid back on rather quickly versus sometimes with the soft cat carriers, you kind of have to hold their head in place as you’re zipping around hoping they don’t fit their head through a little hole like that and jump back through. So big–
It’s like they get big and little at the same time.
It’s like a hamster. If you can get your head through it, the body goes through it, too. So being honest about what kind of difficulty you’re having makes it easier for us to kind of guide you with the best kind of cat carrier to have for your cat in general. I follow what Dr. Rodan does, and Samantha. I actually have my cat carriers all over my house, and they’re always open. Now, regardless if my cats like it when they actually see me come over, and push them down, and zip it up is a different story. But at least my cats aren’t afraid of the cat carrier. And so when they’re bringing a cat carrier from a shed– and that’s my favorite. They’re always dirty with leaves in it and stuff like that. And you know that this only comes out–
Or when you find mice poop in it, and it’s like, “Urgh.”
Oh, it’s the worst. And you know that’s the only time that a cat carrier comes out is when they go to the vet. And maybe it’s only once a year. And maybe it’s your cat hasn’t been to the vet in 10 years. And you got 10 year’s worth of stuff in it. And it doesn’t have a towel. So if your cat performs the trifecta of vomiting, diarrhea, and urinating all over itself in the car-
Yes. And so when they come in the lab, you’re like, “Oh, it’s the cat’s stressed out.”
That creates even more stress in everybody, and then, of course, we have the poor client saying, “And this is why I don’t come. This is awful.” So if we know ahead of time the stressors that you have and your cat has, we’re able to kind of make life a little bit easier. But I have my cat carriers out at all times in my home, and it drives my husband crazy. He’s like, “There’s way too many cat carriers.” I’m like, “It’s one per cat.” It’s like litter boxes. And then one extra, because then you never know.
Yeah. Who knows? Maybe Betty wants that one today, not this one.
Great. And we’ll both come walking in the house, from after work. Guaranteed there are cats in the cat carriers waiting for us.
Oh, that’s good. So my cat carriers are away because my cats attack the cat carriers. So I decided a while ago to put them away. But what I usually do when I get ready to take my cat somewhere, if I know I have to take him, and I’m not just in a blind rush is, I first put my cats in the bathroom. And unless they’ve been fasted, I make the bathroom a happy place. I put sardines in there – my cats love sardines – or tuna, and I try to make it a happy place. And I put some toys in there and play with them, and then I put the carriers in. And then they usually– Cleo doesn’t always do this, but Cosmos – he’s my good cat at home, not here – he just sort of walks in. And then Cleo will usually kind of get in after him to the other one. So, sometimes, if you can’t keep the cat carriers out, for whatever reason, at least play with them around the cat carrier so you can desensitize them to them. Other things you can do to the cat carriers to make it a good experience for them would be, besides the towels, consider spraying the towel – not in front of the cat because cats don’t like sprays – with some Feliway. Make it smell good.
Right. And the magic number is, it’s eight sprays.
Eight sprays.
You got to do it eight times. And then everybody’s going to complain because it fumigates the house, and it smells awful. Do it outside. Do it on the towel. Wait a few minutes for it to disperse. So actually the pheromones actually soak into the towel because no one wants to be jumping on that alcohol smell. You do that, don’t you? You just pump it and dump them?
No [laughter]. I was smiling because today is August 8th, and you’re saying eight.
Oh, because of the eight? The number–
Yeah. Because the eight– yes.
–eight? Today is brought to you by the number eight. And the animal of the day is a cat.
Yes.
So, anyway, eight is the magic number. Unfortunately, with cats, it’s not like a dog. You just can’t put the leash on and say, “Let’s go.” There is a little bit of work to getting your cat to the vet, to have a successful trip to the vet.
Besides from that, other things you can do is, you can give them Zylkene a couple of days before this is going to happen. Zylkene, to remind you, is a milk casein supplement that you can put in their food. I think, subjectively, it makes a big difference for a lot of things with my cats. Some people don’t–
And you give it daily all the way up until the day of your vet visit?
I do. I do. I’ll do it anytime with my cats if I know there’s going to be something stressful. I’ll do it once a day for a couple of days. It depends on how stressful it’s going to be. I hope that this helps you, Mrs. Greenberg, with Gilbert because I love seeing Gilbert. He’s so cute.
Yes. We love Gilbert.
And I agree with you, Miss Thornton, that Feliway is a lifesaver.
I know. It’s pretty cool.
I feel like with my cats it subjectively helps them fight less when there’s something stressful going on. Let’s see. What are some other ideas we have to get them in the carrier? I like to put a little bit of food and some snacks in there.
Yeah. My favorite is when they have snacks on the day of surgery.
Oh, well not that [laughter]. We don’t like that.