Making veterinary visits as stress-free as possible starts with choosing the right carrier and training your cat to think of it as a safe oasis.

The first step is choosing the best carrier.

cat in a pet carrierFor most cats, that is a carrier that is sturdy and made of impact-resistant plastic or fiberglass that will protect your cat. Your cat also needs good ventilation, so the carrier needs windows or holes. Your cat also wants the privacy that solid sides provide. Many cats like to have their carrier covered with a large towel.

We like carriers that have both a top and front opening. It is really hard to get a reluctant cat into the front opening of many carriers. How stressful for the cat to be shoved into that small opening! Wrapping the same cat in a towel and placing your cat in the carrier through the top opening will likely be easy and stress-free for the cat.

We also like carriers where the top half can be removed easily. Many cats prefer having their examination done in the carrier bottom. We like anything that keeps your cat happy!

Everyone who loves cats knows how unique they are. To keep them healthy, caretakers need to address their special needs.

cat-woo-in-cat-treeWhen cats are stressed they can become ill and may vomit, house soil, or not eat. The most common cat bladder disease is caused by stress. Cats are stressed when we don’t meet their basic needs.

Although cats are social animals, they are solitary hunters. They get stressed when they have to share resources. This includes food, water, litter pans, scratching posts and places to hide and sleep. This becomes very important when we have more than one cat in a household.

Everyone likes a clean rest room, including your cat! That means having at least one litter pan per cat. Be sure to scoop or clean at least once a day. We recommend doing it in the morning, when you get home from work, and one more time before bed.

Many pets are truly terrified of thunderstorms. There are some steps pet owners can take to help their furry friends cope with storms. Finding what works best for your pet may take some trial and error. We can help make a plan for your pet – here are the basic steps we use.

  1. dog NikkiFind a spot in your house for your pet to stay during the storm that ideally has no windows – like a closet or bathroom. It is great if your pet has chosen their own safe place. Be sure your pet has access to the safe place even if you are not home.

  2. Turn on the radio or TV to help mask the storm noise. There is special music called Through a Dog’s Ear and Through a Cat’s Ear designed to calm pets that is available online as a download or CD.

  3. Sit calmly with your pet and let him know you aren’t afraid of the storm – anxiety is contagious!

Did you know that up to 60% of American cats are overweight? This is amazing because many cats only get the food and exercise their owner’s provide. How can 60% of pet owners get feeding cats wrong?

cat Woo with his food toyMany of us really overestimate how much a cat needs to eat in a day. The average adult cat only needs between 230 and 250 calories. This is a small can of Fancy Feast plus ¼ cup of some grain-free dry cat foods fed in multiple small meals a day. Compare this to filling a bowl with an unlimited supply of dry cat food and letting your cat eat as much as he wants. If he eats a cup of high-calorie dry cat food per day, that alone can be 600 calories - over twice what he should eat!

Calorie content varies widely from one food to another. Your Earlysville Animal Hospital veterinarian can help you figure out how much your cat needs to eat per day.