Hello, I’m April Darnell, one of the four Licensed Veterinary Technicians at Ruckersville Animal Hospital. One of my passions includes felines and their well-being and my goal is to make your cat’s trip to the vet an easier and less stressful experience for all involved.
A couple of at-home ways to decrease stress is to leave their travel crate in plain view and make it part of their living space. You can easily turn it into a resting area by placing a bed on top or inside of it, and it can also be utilized as the feeding or treat station. This way you can use the food or treats to make them want to go inside the crate on a normal basis. If your feline friends are used to eating within the crate, then encouraging them to enter it for a trip to the vet will be an easier experience and they will be less likely to be afraid of being placed within the crate.
In my opinion, the best type of travel crate is one that snaps together. This makes taking it apart easier when necessary and they won't need to "pulled" or “dumped” out upon arrival as this always makes for a bad start to a visit. By placing a nice, soft blanket into the crate they will feel that they have a safe space. You can also cover the crate with a blanket or towel while transporting them, so they don’t see the world bouncing around as they are carried and moved while in the crate.
Finally, there are certain supplements or medications which can be used to help the entire process run more smoothly. Feliway is a comforting pheromone, and it can be used to make travel less stressful. This can be purchased as a spray which can be applied into the crate prior to placing your cat inside. You can also spray it within your vehicle to make the entire environment more comforting.
Another option for cats that are especially fractious, is oral Gabapentin, which can be obtained from a pharmacy or through Ruckersville Animal Hospital. This prescription medication is typically mixed into the food the evening prior to and the morning of a veterinary visit and not only does it greatly decrease the amount of stress the cat feels, but it can make the entire experience a breeze and will make it easier for veterinary staff to handle your cat as gently as possible with minimal required restraint.
Here at Ruckersville Animal Hospital, we strive in making every visit as stress-free as possible, especially during our current curbside restrictions so please feel free and call or email us if you would like to discuss more ideas or ways to make bringing your cat to the vet as streamlined as possible.
April Darnell, LVT graduated from Blue Ridge Community College in 2002 with a Veterinary Technology Associate of Applied Science degree. She joined our team in 2016 and has 20 years of experience in the veterinary field.