Monday, August 17, 2020

Take Your Cat to the Vet - #Cat2Vet

August 22 is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. Did you know that 83% of cats visit the veterinarian before their 1st birthday, but over 50% don’t return until they become sick or are in pain? 

It's important to take your cat to the vet on a regular basis. With regular veterinary visits, your veterinarian can often detect conditions that may affect your cat’s long-term health.

During the recent worldwide pandemic, more people are staying at home for longer periods of time with their pets. Unfortunately, I was very ill for 3 months during the stay-at-home order and was blessed to live with two beautiful Persian cats who have supported me emotionally with their antics and loving cuddles. I've discovered I'm more aware of Truffle and Brulee's daily habits and behaviors, which helps me recognize when there may be problems that may require a visit to the veterinarian. I can also answer questions the vet may ask better about what is different.

Veterinary Visits

two silver Persian cats in Sleepypod carriers at vet
Truffle and Brulee relaxed in their Sleepypod® Mobile Pet Beds in examination room

Truffle and Brulee visit the veterinarian twice a year for wellness checkups and during the year when they are ill. Our veterinarian, Dr. Boyette, once told me that it was sad to see so many people with cats who never came back to see him after the initial checkup and vaccination, unless the cats were sick. He added that many of these people also owned dogs and that he saw the dogs on a regular basis.

Why is it people are so willing to take their dogs to the veterinarian, but not their cats? Cats are notorious for hiding illness and injury, so pet owners don't always realize something is wrong until there are obvious symptoms and the problem is major. Not only is this dangerous for the cat but the treatment can be more expensive. By taking a cat to the veterinarian on a regular basis for examinations and bloodwork, your vet has a baseline knowledge and written history of your cat. One of the main reasons people give for not taking cats to the veterinarian on a regular basis is the difficulty of getting the cats into a carrier.

Preparing Your Cat for the Trip to the Vet

silver shaded Persian cat inside Sleepypod
Truffle enjoys relaxing in her Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with her nip toy

Cat Carrier

We've written posts about ways to help your cat relax and stay calm during stressful periods and provided tips for taking them to the veterinarian. Today we'd like to focus on getting your cat comfortable to the carrier prior to a vet visit to make life easier and less stressful for both you and your cat.
  • Keep the carrier out in a common area. Too many people keep the carriers in a basement, closet, or garage and only pull it out when it's time to go to the veterinarian. This results in cats associating the carrier with the bad feelings of shots and medication.
  • Make the carrier part of your home. There are many types of carriers that are both stylish and safe that look great in your home. By having the carrier out where your cat spends a lot of time and that is near to you, she feels safe and comfortable.
  • Place treats, catnip, or toys in the carrier. This will entice your cat to get into the carrier at home. Don't force your cat to enter the carrier because she may become suspicious. Allow her time to enter on her own and eventually she'll relax. Consider keeping a blanket in the carrier that will have the smell of home when she goes to the vet.
  • Use synthetic pheromone spray or wipes in the carrier. Pheromone helps to minimize anxiety associated with the carrier. Spray a favorite blanket a few minutes before placing your cat inside to go to the vet. Be sure to wipe down the carrier and wash bedding after visiting the vet to get rid of any stress pheromones that were released at a previous visit to the vet.
  • Find a carrier your cat enjoys. There are many types of carriers: hard-sided, soft-sided, backpacks, crates, and combination bed/carrier. You need to get a carrier that is large enough for your cat and allows room for her to turn around and lay down. If you have a large cat who is strong, you may want to consider a larger hard-sided carrier with an opening on both the top and side. The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is comfortable, safe, and stylish. The entire top zips off and allows your cat to use it as a bed when at home (see photo above) and provides easy access to your cat when the veterinarian needs to examine her.

Additional Tips for Preparation

persian cat in carrier
Brulee safely strapped inside her Sleepypod carrier

Cats don't like change and usually like a calm environment. When your cat is resting in her carrier among her toys and favorite blanket, play serene and quiet music. Play the same music in the car on the way to the vet.

Even with all of the acclimation to the carrier and the calming music, your cat may still be stressed because she senses your tenseness. Fear Free Happy Homes recommends that you not feed your cat before the visit and consider giving your feline an anti-nausea or anti-anxiety supplement or medication your veterinarian may subscribe.


silver Persian cat and telephone
Truffle on telephone duty

During the pandemic, it wasn't always possible to get in to the see the veterinarian. Most only saw patients who were extremely injured or ill. Sometimes, you may need a consultation with the veterinarian to determine if the behavior and symptoms you are seeing need a physical examination. Telehealth appointments are on the rise and offer owners the option to video call with their vet to reduce the risk of traveling altogether. There are some vet chat services available for pet owners for this purpose. Royal Canin® is offering all cat owners access to Ask.Vet's vet chat service for free to connect them to a licensed veterinarian 24/7 from the safety of their home.

Join the #Cat2Vet Movement

#Cat2Vet logo

Royal Canin created the Take Your Cat to the Vet (#Cat2Vet) campaign to raise awareness of the importance of preventive veterinary care to help cats live healthier, happier lives. We encourage you to join the #Cat2Vet movement by first making an appointment for your cat at the veterinarian for a wellness checkup. There are six ways you can participate in the #Cat2Vet movement.

  1. Watch. Tune-in to watch a new cat-centric educational web series: Catology Presents Kitten Lady and Friends. This web series features Hannah Shaw (aka The Kitten Lady) and covers everything cat... from behavior to health and nutrition.
  2. Chat. Be curious about your cat's health and receive a complimentary chat with a veterinarian 24/7, brought to you by Royal Canin and Ask.Vet.
  3. Shop. Purchase your favorite Royal Canin cat food from participating PetSmart locations and receive a free vet visit from Banfield.
  4. Donate. Purchase your Royal Canin cat food from Chewy in August to support veterinary care for shelter cats through GreaterGood.org.
  5. Win. Enter the #Cat2Vet sweepstakes for a chance to win a prize pack to help you get ready for your cat's next vet visit. Every entry will also receive a free sample of Royal Canin Hematuria Detection by Blucare.
  6. Learn. Ready to learn more about cats and their specific needs? The best way to keep your cat healthy is to learn more about them. Stay Curious.
You can find more details about the #Cat2Vet movement at Royalcanin.com/cathealth.

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Share Your Experience

vet holding two silver shaded persian cats
Dr. Hansche holding Truffle and Brulee

We encourage you to take your cat in on a regular basis for wellness checkups to your cats can become accustomed to your vet and your vet can know your cats better. Truffle and Brulee go to the vet twice a year for wellness checkups and whenever they are ill (I tend to be an over reactive cat mom). 

We thought we'd share one of our favorite memories of the girls at the veterinarian. 
Truffle and Brulee were going in for a wellness checkup with one of the new veterinarians in the practice. Dr. Hansche had an outgoing personality and was attentive to Truffle and Brulee. He was talking to them, petting them, and treating them like they belonged to him. After he completed the examination, I began putting them into their carriers when I heard, "don't put them in there until I've had a chance to cuddle with them!" I gave both girls to Dr. Hansche and he held them close for as long as the girls allowed it." I knew then I had another veterinarian who loved cats and who would treat them to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, he had to move to another state so we don't see him anymore, but the photo of him smiling with the two girls always touches my heart.
We'd love to hear about a favorite memory and/or and experiences at the veterinarian with your cat.


American Animal Hospital Association. https://www.aaha.org.

American Association of Feline Practitioners. Cat Friendly Practices. https://catfriendly.com/keep-your-cat-healthy/cat-friendly-practice/expect-cat-friendly-practice/

American Association of Feline Practitioners. 2020. Your Role in Veterinary Visits. Cat Friendly Homeshttps://catfriendly.com/keep-your-cat-healthy/veterinary-care/role-veterinary-visits/

Boyette, Heyward. Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital. July 31, 2018. (telephone conversation).

Would you like to comment?

  1. Funny enough, my annual checkup (and therapy cat evaluation) happens right around Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. Although the therapy organization said there's no rush on the evaluation this year, I still have to go for everything else anyway. So I'll do the evaluation then too.

  2. Yeah, they bring my often enough as it is without a reminder, thank you very much! Seriously though, I guess that's a good thing.

  3. I hope the advent of telemedicine will help cats get more of the care they need. Obviously it’s not a substitute for anything but it could make it easier to get questions answered without all the drama. My cats have their carriers around all the time and most are used to traveling so that’s less of a problem for us than some. I think Royal Canin’s resources are helpful too. As are some of the new apps that let you ask questions online before you have to pay a visit.

  4. We all just went for our checkups. Very important part of health is the Vet.

  5. I'm taking my friendly feral Paddy O'Malley in to the vet next week, but I've put off taking Da Boyz in, due to the pandemic. And they are easy to wrangle into carriers, but like Sweetie who will draw blood...

  6. You girls are so good at the Vet place. I got some mail that said ours wants to see me, yuck!

  7. Thanks for highlighting such an important cause!

  8. All my cats get to the vet at least once a year, usually more. Great post.

  9. I find it so unbelievable that people take their dogs to the vet regularly - but not their cats! I remember that from a post I did a couple years ago. I suppose there are a couple reasons why this is - but I think it also comes back to humans who believe cats are fine on their own and don't want or need our presence in their lives.

  10. We have been inviting the vet to come to my place for the last two years. I hid under the bed the last time.

  11. It's weird how getting yearly checkups seems to be standard practice for most dog owners, but is so much less common for cats. Hopefully posts like this help to raise awareness so more cat owners understand the importance of regular check ups for their cats too!

  12. Love the sleepy pods! So great to bring awareness to this too.

  13. Thank you for sharing this important information, Paula. Spreading awareness to the importance of vet visits for cats is definitely needed!

  14. I'm always surprised to hear how many cat owners aren't taking their feline friends to the vet regularly. Our cats go as regularly as our dogs do, and I can't imagine that ever changing. I would feel SO guilty if something were to develop and we found out that we could have potentially caught it earlier if we had been responsible owners...


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