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Keep Your Cat Calm During a Vet Exam

cat at a vet


Jane Harrell, associate producer

Whether you bring your cat to the vet’s office — or have a vet come to your home, here are some easy steps you can take to keep your cat calm during an exam.

  1. Find a vet who knows cats: Vets are people, too, and some can have varying levels of ease with cats. (After all, not everyone is a “dog” or “cat” person!) Make sure you go to a vet that spends some time talking with and getting to know your cat before jumping to the exam. You might even consider trying a cat-only clinic, if you have one near by.
  2. Schedule your appointment during non-peak hours: If you’re bringing your cat to the clinic, “ask the clinic when the least-busy times are and schedule accordingly,” says Dr. V, small-animal veterinarian and writer of the blog Pawcurious. “The less you have to wait, the better.”
  3. Bring something soft for your cat to stand on: “Think about bringing a towel or yoga mat to put on the exam room table,” Dr. V says. “Vets like stainless steel because it is very easy to clean, but it’s also cold and slippery. Giving the cat something to grip may make a big difference.”
  4. Bring things to distract your cat: Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, who writes’s Veterinary Medicine column, suggests packing a goody bag with items such as treats, catnip and your cat’s favorite toys. If your cat’s a hider, bring a towel that smells like home so she can have her head underneath it.
  5. Practice at home: Many vets recommend practicing touching your cat at home the way your vet might during a basic exam. “When your cat is at home, relaxed and happy, look in his ears; open his mouth — gently and only if you are sure of how to do it; and handle his paws — even introducing a clipper and tapping on a claw — to help make these health-exam basics less scary over time,” says Dr. Crosby.

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