How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful for your Cat

Female veterinarian holding a black and white cat in her arms

We understand—taking your cat to the vet can be a stressful experience, for both of you. But regular check-ups are crucial in keeping them healthy and to help catch any potential issues early on. We want to show you how to best prepare—and hopefully your next visit to the vet is an enjoyable one.

Preparation at Home: Feline Comfort is Key

Carrier Comfort:

  • Cozy Safe Haven: Leave the carrier open in a secluded, quiet corner with your cat’s favourite plush blanket, inviting them to chill out inside. Hopefully, they’ll soon associate it as a cozy and happy place to nap. A safe haven.
  • Catnip Allure: If your feline friend enjoys catnip, sprinkle generously inside the carrier to captivate their curiosity. You can also tempt them with their favourite treat if catnip isn't their cup of tea.

Mock Vet Experiences:

  • Gentle Handling: Introduce a routine of gentle paw and ear handling at home, particularly if you're already used to trimming their claws. Use treats and words of praise as rewards, which can enforce a sense of safety when they’re being handled.
  • Take a Ride: If car rides scare your cat, start practicing now. Load your cat into carrier and start taking short trips around your neighborhood. Cats are clever; rewarding them after each journey will help them realize that not every car journey ends with a trip to the vet.

Positive Associations:

  • Treat-Fueled Positivity: Incorporate their carrier into playtime. Toss a kicker toy inside or use a wand toy around the entrance, encouraging your cat to explore. As always, strategic treats during play can reinforce positive feelings about their carrier.

Choosing the Right Vet: Finding Your Cat's Healthcare Ally

Feline-Friendly Clinics:

  • Cat-Savvy Staff: Do some research and seek out vet offices with a team well-versed in all things feline. A knowledgeable and understanding staff contributes significantly to your cat's overall comfort.
  • Separate Waiting Areas: Prioritize vets that have designated waiting spaces for cats and dogs. This separation can help minimize potential stressors and can help your cat feel more secure.


  • Owner Recommendations: Tap into knowledge of other cat parents you may know or by checking out forums local to your area. A good vet is worth talking about, and cat parents will be more than happy to share where they go.
  • Online Reviews: Once you have your recommendations, dive into their online reviews to gauge the collective satisfaction of cat owners. A positive consensus is a promising sign of a cat-friendly clinic.

Visit First:

  • Environment Evaluation: Take a preliminary visit to the clinic without your cat to assess the overall atmosphere, making sure the environment aligns with your cat's needs, from the waiting room to the examination rooms. If the doctor and staff have time, chat with them and see if they feel like a good fit.

During the Visit: Navigating the Vet Experience with Ease

Familiar Comforts:

  • Home Aromas: Bring a blanket or toy that smells like home. Familiar scents provide a sense of security, making the waiting room a more relaxed space for your cat.
  • Gentle Petting: If you’re able, offer a reassuring hand to your kitty by petting them to help alleviate anxiety while you wait. Your touch serves as a source of comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Soothing Techniques:

  • Calming Sprays or Pheromones: Prioritize your cat's safety by using veterinarian-approved calming sprays in the carrier.

Direct Handling:

  • Communication is Key: Establish a genuine connection with your vet by openly sharing insights into your cat's temperament and any specific health concerns you may have.

Post-Visit Care: Ensuring a Smooth Transition Back Home

Quiet Recovery Space:

  • Cozy Sanctuary: Designate a comfortable space at home where your cat can retreat and recover post-visit. Have their favourite bedding and blankets available, and make sure there’s minimal noise.


  • Observation Period: Keep a vigilant eye on your cat in the days following the vet visit. Your vet should give you a sheet on aftercare if your cat receives vacations and any potential side effects that may come up. Although rare, call up your vet if you notice anything unusual.

Research How Pet Insurance Can Help

Pets Plus Us Support:

  • A pet insurance policy through Pets Plus Us can help cover eligible costs from unexpected veterinary visits. Instead of worrying about your wallet, you can focus on your cat’s recovery. You also get access to these benefits that can help make home life with your beloved feline even more comfortable.
  • Blue Ribbon Benefits from Pets Plus Us:
    1. PetHelpFone™: We have the experts on speed dial, available 24/7. Emergencies often happen outside of office hours. Our experienced veterinary nurses (animal health technicians) are available when your regular veterinary practice isn’t.
    2. Pet Poison Helpline®: A 24/7 animal poison-control service that helps with advice for treating a potentially poisoned pet. Pet Poison Helpline is staffed with veterinary and toxicology professionals, so you never have to second guess.
    3. Compassionate Care Line: Losing a pet is like losing a family member, and grief can be complicated. Our Compassionate care line can bring you comfort and clarity while you cope with the loss of a beloved pet.

Vet visits can be easier and less stressful by preparing and researching. Using these tips can help you foster a positive experience for your feline companion, while keeping their health top of mind.


Written by: Aimee Ellis | Reviewed by: Dr. Sperry, DVM

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