Fear Free Cats
At Harbor Point Animal Hospital, we are passionate about creating an environment where you and your beloved pet feel comfortable. We believe in fear-free veterinary visits and strive to minimize the stress involved for both you and your companion. Our team will partner with you to make sure your pet feels comfortable throughout the entire experience. Read more to find out how you can play a role in minimizing your pet’s stress level during the veterinary visit.
Our Commitment to Comfort
Minimizing stress in the lobby
We offer call-ahead check-in to avoid wait times in the lobby – we will escort you straight to the exam room. We have a separate “cat only” exam room away from dog exam rooms and we also offer check out services in the exam room to reduce the amount of time your cat spends in the lobby.
Our cat exam room is tailored to delight all of your cat’s senses. We place heated towels on exam room table. Pheromone diffusers speak to your cat’s sense of smell and act as a natural calming agent. We play music specifically designed to reduce anxiety in cats. Catnip grass and scratching towers are available for those adventurous felines that feel right at home in our cat-friendly room.
How You Can Help
The dreaded carrier
We recommend a plastic carrier where the lid can be unsnapped easily (snaps are better than screws). This allows for your cat to stay where he feels comfortable. Almost the entire examination can be performed while your cat rests in the bottom portion of his carrier.
Take out and get your cat’s carrier into their environment a few days prior to the trip to the vet. If practical and if it fits in with your home decor, consider leaving your cat’s carrier out in their environment on a daily basis, allowing them to explore, sleep, play, and maybe even eat in it. This way they won’t associate the carrier just with the trips to the vet.
Spray Feliway, a calming pheromone for cats, into your cat’s carrier and on the seat in your car
Please bring a stool sample to each wellness appointment. Your cat will thank you!
Plan to bring your cat to Harbor Point for happy visits – no needles, no temperatures – just treats and attention. This can help break the association of the vet’s office with stress. This works best if you start when your cat is very young! But it’s not too late if your cat is older!
Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the vet. Aim to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than you think you’d need to get there and prepare everything for your trip several hours in advance (the night before is great, if possible and practical). Not only will this help you minimize your own stress, but it’ll also help you drive safely and with minimal erratic stops and starts, which could otherwise contribute to your cat’s anxiety and car sickness.
Book one of the earlier morning appointment slots with your vet, this way they’re less likely to be running behind and your wait will likely be minimized. (If your wait is to be delayed, and as long as it isn’t too hot or cold outside, consider waiting in the car with your cat until your vet’s team can put you directly into an exam room).
For cats that get particularly stressed during trips to the vet, continue doing the above but also talk to your veterinarian about possible pre-visit sedation options you can administer at home.