The CATalyst Council has released guidelines to help cat owners keep felines calm during veterinary visits, in hopes of improving the frequency and quality of cats' veterinary care.
A decline in veterinary visits for cats was the primary impetus for the formation of the CATalyst Council by a national coalition of organizations in 2008.
"If we're advising people to get their cats in to their veterinarian more often, then we should be able to tell them how to do that properly," said Dr. Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University and a researcher in feline health.
Dr. Diane R. Eigner, CATalyst chair and founder of a feline practice in Philadelphia, said cat owners can take a number of steps before veterinary visits to make appointments less stressful and more productive.
"With a little planning and training, cats can learn how to travel comfortably and safely in a carrier," Dr. Eigner said.
The CATalyst Council advises cat owners to accustom their animals to traveling, preferably starting at a young age; make the cat carrier into a comfortable resting, feeding, or play spot; transform the cat carrier into a hiding place with familiar blankets or towels; take cats in the car on fun trips and even a social visit to the veterinary clinic for a treat; and refrain from feeding cats immediately before a veterinary visit to prevent motion sickness and increase the cats' interest in treats from the veterinarian.
Information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.