relaxing kitten

At Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, we know firsthand how stressful it can be to bring your feline companion(s) to the vet. We are cat friendly certified and committed to breaking those negative associations and ensuring that our feline patients have a more relaxed and comfortable visit.  Below are some helpful tips we have compiled to make a trip to the vet more helpful and less scary (for everyone).

Things you can do at home:

  • Buy a sturdy, large carrier.  Sturdy plastic carriers with removable tops are best. These carriers should be large enough that the cat can easily turn around but not so large the cat is able to pace in the carrier.
  • Make it a comfortable space. Having items from home like a soft blanket, your t-shirt, or towel that smell like home will help cats feel more safe and secure in their carrier. We also recommend a stuffed animal, “Purr Pillow”, that purrs when the head is pressed. This can help some anxious kitties self sooth.
  • Keep your carrier out all the time! Keeping the carrier out all the time, allows cats to associate it as a safe place and not just with visits to the vet.  We recommend leaving the door open and putting in treats, cat nip, special toys and a favorite blanket.

Things you can do in the car:

  • Keep the carrier secure.  You can buckle the carrier in using a seat belt or place the carrier on the floor.
  • Cover the carrier. Most cats are frightened by all of the movement going by outside the window at unnatural speeds.  Covering the carrier with a towel can help keep them calmer.  It should go without saying, but keep the car at a comfortable temperature- we don’t want them overheating in their covered carrier.
  • Turn on calm soothing music. There is some evidence that soothing classical music can reduce the stress of pets. We even play soothing music for all our hospitalized patients.

Things you can do at the clinic:

  • Hold them like a present, not like a suitcase. While this can be awkward, it is much easier on your cat to have the carrier held in your arms rather than carried by the carrier handle.  This type of holding presents the cat from getting knocked around so much inside the carrier.
  • Keep that towel. We do our best to get you and your kitty in a room right away but if you are waiting in our foyer, keep them covered with a towel to keep curious doggy noses out of their faces.
  • Special treats. We have a variety of treats available in the clinic, but if you know that your kitty loves chicken, or hot dogs, or cheese, bring in some of those special treats to help keep their interest.  Don’t give them too many during travel or in the waiting room - save some for their exam!

Additional help:

  • Feliway—this is a synthetic calming pheromone that has been shown to help cats calm down. It comes in sprays, plug in diffusers, and specialty collars.  We keep a giant spray bottle of it on hand to spritz on towels, tables, and ourselves.  We also use plug-in diffusers in all our exam rooms. You purchase a bottle to spray on the blanket in their carrier and/or the towel you cover the carrier with.  There is virtually no downside to using feliway.
  • Gabapentin—This is a drug primarily used for nerve based pain that seems to have a calming effect on some kitties. One capsule mixed with food (on an empty stomach to be sure they eat it) three hours before you put them in their carrier can help your kitty mellow out.  For really angry cats, we may have to use a higher dose.
  • Injectable sedation—Our goal is to have all our cats calm and comfortable in the clinic. But some cats can be more difficult than others.  Injectable sedation is reserved for cats who are so stressed in the clinic that they become a danger to themselves and others if we try to handle them.  It adds on some expense, but is worth it to keep them from becoming so anxious and possibly hurting themselves or others.  Allowing angry kitties to escalate their behavior just makes them more inclined to continue this behavior in future, so don’t be afraid if we recommend full sedation for your cat.  A sedated kitty can get a thorough an exam and any diagnostics we need quickly and easily, something that may not be possible on a cat who is angry and spitting.

We strive to make your cat’s experience an excellent one.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help keep everyone in the family happy, and let’s get your cat’s annual wellness exam scheduled soon!

Our customers value quality care

Thanks for another great year of medical care and help for our babies.
- H.H.

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Gentle Touch and will recommend you to everyone we know!
- Kerrie H.

We wanted to thank you for the extraordinary care, love and attention Yogi received from all of you.
- Mark & Kathy S.

Your vet practice has left an indelible stamp on us through your loving care for both Calliope and Sadie
- Jean & Jim S.

My heart felt thanks to all of you for the way you cared for my pets this past year. You all are the best!
- John M.

We have been nothing but impressed and amazed with their professionalism and true caring. I trust them with the members of our family
- Deb P.

I cannot adequately express my thanks for your care, concern and love Saturn and I feel from all of you.
- Carol G.

Dr. Tasky and crew you are such a blessing
- Scott S.

You are the best and we are lucky to have you
- Bob & Susan D.

We so appreciate all of the “gentle” care you provide for our animal kids.
- Robin & Tracy T.

Bless you all. You are definitely the best Denver Vets I have had the pleasure of working with.
- Carol B.

Boone was never afraid to come to Gentle Touch because he was given so much love from every single person there.
- The K. Family

Throughout Opus’ surgery and follow up visits, you all gave him great care. More importantly, you helped us through our anxiety in dealing with him
- Kerry and Andy Z.

We thank you for the service you provided us the last few years.
- Allen S.

You all do truly have a ‘gentle touch’ that will not be forgotten. Thanks again for your kindness.
- Cathy and Doug S

I know one of the reasons I was lucky enough to have him so many years is the care you took of him even though he wasn’t the most grateful of patients.
- Robin L.

Your pets are family. Get them the care they deserve.

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