Brie was so cute at the vet this summer. He curled up underneath his pink, fleece blanket and didn’t come out. I called him “Raspberry Brie” because he looked like a really big berry hiding under there. He even had a chest X-ray under his blankie. He was cute, but it was because he was really scared.
We go to a veterinarian who is so sensitive that she did Nutmeg and Cheshire’s annual exam under the examining table the first time they went because they were comfortable down there. The technicians have great handling practices too. I take a yoga mat to put on the examining table so the cats won’t slip around or get scared by shiny reflections when they’re on the table. They always have a blanket.
The Cheeses – and some of the other guys – eagerly walk into the carrier because we have played fun games, but Brie was still terrified when he went to find out why he was coughing. This was his first time going somewhere out of the house without any of his brothers, and he didn’t feel well. But Cheddar goes places with me on his own, and he gets similarly anxious and hides under his blankie too.
I would really like to know what I could do to make their trips to the vet less stressful. I just learned that veterinary behaviorist Dr. Theresa L. DePorter and cat behavior consultant and pet journalist Steve Dale are studying just this question!
They want to find out how anxious their cats get before going to the vet by surveying cat people. They will send us information about how to recognize cat anxiety – cats try hard not to let on that they are anxious – and a survey to fill out and return.
To get more information about the study check out Steve Dale’s post, “Help Us to Help Cats,” on Chicago Now.
To get a copy of the survey and information on how to recognized cat anxiety, contact Steve Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The researchers plan to use their findings to develop methods to reduce anxiety before leaving the house to visit the vet.
I like that they are looking at anxiety from before cats go in the carrier. More people will take their cats for preventive care and monitoring if the cats aren’t freaking out. If we arrive at the vet office with more relaxed cats, their exams will be easier, too. Veterinarians will get better information about heart rate, breathing, and other important indicators if cats aren’t so stressed.
I’m sending Steve Dale an email now. In the meantime, we are going to focus on making the car ride more acceptable and keep taking the blanket to the vet.