How Do You Convince Your Pet to Go to the Vet?

IMG_5120Today I had to take one of my cats, Walter, to the vet (just a small issue, not a big deal). As I prepared for the visit, I realized that I was doing the same series of things I always do to make the departure process as smooth as possible. I’m curious if you do anything like this for your pets.

  1. The day before the vet appointment, I tell the cat to his face that we’re going to the veterinarian. I figure that way if he accuses me later of tricking him in any way, I can point back to that moment.
  2. Before I go to bed the day before, I bring the cat carrier out of the closet and open it. This instantly sends the cats scurrying, but once they realize nothing bad is going to happen, they go back to their regular routine.
  3. The morning of the visit, I try to act normal, if not overly normal. By that I mean I walk around the condo saying things like, “Hey, it’s just a normal day. Nothing unusual happening today!” The cats don’t seem to see through the act.
  4. When we’re getting close to the departure, I check the cat’s position in the condo, making sure he’s easily accessible. Ideally at this time I would close the door to my bedroom, something I forgot to do today.

My failure to complete step 4 this morning gave Walter the opening he needed. Walter is really good at resisting getting into the cat carrier, but if I turn the carrier on the back side so the hole is facing up, he can’t use his claws to hang on to anything.

So as soon as I put the carrier in that position, I heard a “thump” come from the living room. Walter had heard the cage on the cat carrier and was making a move to get under the bed to safety.

It felt like one of those slow-motion scenes in the movies. I looked up, saw Walter round the corner, and realized what was happening. We both sprinted to get to the bedroom entrance first, but Walter beat me there. I dove across the bed to make one last desperate attempt to intercept him (for some reason he took the long way around instead of going right under the bed), but, well, he’s a cat. He’s made for avoiding people like me.

Lesson learned: Make sure to complete step 4 before upending the cat carrier.

What types of things do you do to get your pet to go to the vet?

12 thoughts on “How Do You Convince Your Pet to Go to the Vet?”

  1. Well, since they’re not likely to go willingly (at least not cats), I pretty much don’t ask. I inform. The cat gets the clue when it’s being scruffed and lowered ass-first into the upended carrier. There is no negotiation about this. Kind of like giving them a bath – I don’t ask them to like it. It’s bath time and that’s all there is to it. Otherwise, it’s rather like trying to negotiate with a toddler. You’re never going to win.

  2. Well trying to shove a cat in a kennel head-first is like trying to stuff a marshmallow into a piggy bank. It just doesn’t work!

  3. Jayme, as a father of 3 with only a Bearded Dragon as my daughter’s pet, this post tells me you’re ready for kids!

  4. Daisy loves to go with me in the car! She knows that we could be going to the vet… but also to a cookout, the lake, the groomer, or to visit my mom. I think the odds are in her favor! Even when we get there, she runs for the door, wanting to get in to say hi to everyone in the waiting area!

  5. Somehow, my little poodle-mix, Claude, loves going to the vet. Despite the fact that since we rescued him, he’s gone through a neutering, tooth removal x8, heartworm treatment, polyp removal in a very unpleasant place, and forced vomiting after chowing down on raisins. He still happily trots into the vet office and gives the assistant lots of kisses. I think he just loves going places and seeing new people, especially if it means he can ride in the car.

    I remember, growing up, my cat hated the vet too, so maybe it’s just a dog vs. cat thing?


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