How to calm down cats at the vet

Use these tricks to make cats' visits to the vet less stressful.One of the many duties of veterinary technicians is to help keep pets calm as they are provided nursing care during visits to the vet.1 Cats are notorious for being feisty and uncooperative at the vet, but after you earn your veterinary technician degree, you can do a great deal to calm them down and educate their owners about making trips to see the veterinarian more pleasant experiences. Test out these tactics:

Cat treats

When cats are simply refusing to exit their carriers, it can be helpful to have a few treats on hand – especially if owners forgot to bring them along. Ask the veterinarian if you can keep a few different varieties stocked in the office to coax out the felines who are being particularly fussy.2

Clipnosis

As you likely learned during your veterinary technician program, clipnosis is a process by which clips are used to gently squeeze the skin at the back of cats’ necks before minor procedures. It’s a humane and pain-free way to hold cats in place because it is similar to the way their mothers grabbed them in their mouths when they were kittens. It’s important that you put the clips in place before the cat becomes too agitated or upset, otherwise it may not have as much of a relaxing effect as desired.3

Educate about home care

One of the most basic ways you can make cats’ visits to the vet less stressful is by educating owners about what they can do at home to make the trip a more calming experience. Ask them to bring items that can distract their furry friend, and to occasionally interact with their cats at home the way the way that a vet might – looking in the ears and opening their mouths. This will make it less scary when the veterinarian performs an exam.4

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘What Veterinary Technologists and Technicians Do,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinary-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-2
2 Spyrou, Sophie, Yahoo!, ‘Ways to Keep Your cat Calm at the Vet,’ Nov. 20, 2007 – http://voices.yahoo.com/ways-keep-cat-calm-vet-676286.html?cat=53
3 Caldwell, Emily, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, ‘Clipnosis technique can calm cats in vet’s office and at home,’ 2013 – http://voices.yahoo.com/ways-keep-cat-calm-vet-676286.html?cat=53
4 Harrell, Jane, Petfinder, ‘Keep Your Cat Calm During a Vet Exam,’ 2013 – http://www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-health/cat-vet-exam-tips/

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