Most cats HATE car trips to the vet.

But with a few small changes, over time,  most cats can be trained to at least tolerate car trips to the vet. Here are a few tips:

  • A low stress trip to the vet starts at home prior to departure. Store your cat’s carrier in an accessible area of the house, like under a bed or in a closet, so the carrier becomes a safe and comfortable resting spot instead of a symbol of doom.
  • Don’t force your cat inside the carrier, especially head first. Try luring them with treats or through the opening in the top of the carrier.
  • If you’ll be transporting more than one cat, they’re usually most comfortable in separate carriers.
  • Pheromones, like Feliway, can help calm your cat for the trip. Prior to departure,spray it on a blanket inside the carrier and inside the car.
  • Swinging motions can be upsetting, so don’t carry the carrier by its handle – carry it like a heavy package.
  • For most vehicles, the safest place for your cat’s carrier is on the floor behind the passenger seat. Never let your cat travel loose in the car – it can be distracting for you, and dangerous for them.
  • Place a towel over the carrier so just the door is exposed – this way your cat can choose whether to look out or remain hidden.
  • Put some calm music on at a low volume to help offset road noise, roll up the windows and maintain a warm, comfortable temperature inside. Avoid slamming doors, aggressive driving, and curvy roads.
  • Take short drives around your neighborhood on a regular basis, so car rides aren’t just associated with the vet.
  • Especially anxious cats may benefit from medications that calm or sedate them during the trip – ask us if this might be a good option for your cat.
  • After visiting the vet, be careful when reintroducing her to other cats as she may smell strange to them. Consider leaving her in the carrier, isolating her in a separate room, or use the blanket from her carrier to rub the scent on the others.

Nobody likes a trip to the vet with an unhappy cat! But with some effort… most cats tolerate trips to the vet.