Transporting Cats to the Surgery

Transporting Cats to the Surgery

loading-652314_1280Many cat owners are all too aware of the stressors associated with transporting their furry felines to the surgery, with many owners being put off from bringing their cat in for routine checks due to this associated stress. Here are some tips to help make this important journey more bearable to all involved….


  • Never travel with your cat loose in the car – they can be easily frightened and become a hazard – always use a robust carrier.
  • Choose carefully – cardboard is unsuitable as a determined cat will claw its way out!
  • The carrier should be easy to clean – preferably plastic or plastic-coated.
  • Transport cats in separate carriers – even well bonded cats can become aggressive to each other if stressed.
  • The carrier should not be so large that the cat can fall about in it.
  • A carrier that opens at the top is much easier to use as the cat can be gently lifted in and out rather than having to be encouraged through a doorway at the front.


  • Withhold food for 1-2 hours prior to travel to avoid motion sickness and encourage interest in treats at the surgery.
  • Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket during the journey as cats de-stress more quickly in the dark.
  • Spray Feliway (a synthetic facial pheromone available from the surgery), onto the towel or in the corners of the carrier at least 15-30 minutes before using the carrier, to create a reassuring environment.
  • Secure the carrier in the car in a foot-well or on a seat with a seatbelt so it cannot move about.
  • Place the carrier on a towel or padding to keep it level in the car and to absorb any “accidents”.
  • Drive carefully and gently to avoid the cat being thrown around.
  • Stay calm so the cat doesn’t pick up stress from you – be reassuring and avoid loud noises.
  • On arrival at the surgery, avoid rushing. Keep your cat in the carrier and hold it carefully – avoid swinging the carrier or banging it against objects or your legs.
  • When at the clinic, do not put the carrier on the floor, but ideally place it in an elevated position (on your lap or another chair etc.), away from dogs.


  • Your cat will be less alarmed if the carrier smells familiar and reassuring.
  • Ideally the carrier should be “part of the furniture” and somewhere the cat chooses to sleep or is fed, so it does not only appear when a visit to the vets is imminent. Put the carrier in the main living areas and encourage the cat to enter with treats and fuss.
  • Put bedding in the carrier that the cat normally sleeps on or curls up on at home.
  • Wipe a soft cloth around the cat’s face to pick up its scent and rub this around the carrier, especially in the corners, and then leave the cloth in the carrier.
  • If your cat panics at the site of the carrier, keep calm. Keep the carrier close, but out of sight. Wrap the cat in a thick towel / blanket that smells familiar and put the cat into the carrier quickly but gently. A top-opening carrier makes this much easier.
  • Take some spare bedding (smelling of home) in case the cat is sick or soils the carrier.


Don’t forget we hold our CAT ONLY CLINICS on Tuesday afternoons at the Darlington Hospital: 3pm to 4.30pm by appointment. These clinics ensure no dogs are present in reception whilst waiting for your appointment, making life less stressful, especially for nervous cats. Contact the surgery on 01325 380111 to book your appointment.




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