Preparing your pet for their visit to the Vet
Tips for Cat Owners
- We recommend purchasing a carrier that opens from the top and/or has an easily removable top. Pulling or dumping a scared cat from a carrier is stressful.
- Place the carrier in a central area of the home at least 3 days prior to your visit. Wipe the carrier with pheromone wipes (Feliway) and place their bed, treats and toys inside. For best results, try keeping the carrier in a quiet location in your home all year round!
- When carrying the carrier, use both hands to prevent your cat from being jostled and unbalanced.
- When driving, make sure the carrier stays flat and doesn’t tip over.
- Cover the carrier to reduce stimuli.
- Avoid loud music on the ride over and the way home. Instead, play calming classical music to decrease anxiety.
- Speak in a low, calm voice. High pitched praise or reaffirmation often increases anxiety.
- If you must wait in the waiting room, face the carrier away from other cats present and place your cat on the seat next to you or on your lap. Never on the floor.
- On the day of your visit, if your appointment is in the morning, don’t feed your cat breakfast. If they are hungry, your cat will respond better to food rewards at the veterinary hospital. Cats experience similar endorphin release when eating, like people! (does not apply to diabetic cats.)
- If you believe your cat would benefit from an anti-anxiety medication or a natural soothing supplement, please let us know as soon as you arrive.
We hope this helps lessen stress for you and your pet.
Welcome to TLC Pet Hospital’s Kitty Corner. In this video, we learn how to administer SQ Fluids to your feline friend. In this video, we take you step by step through delivering fluids and medication with needle and fluid bag. As part of your at home care for your animal, you may need to administer fluids to your cat or dog. Tent the skin between the shoulder blades. Insert the needle, and open fluids valve. Release fluids into the animal. Close and hold skin in a pinch to keep fluids from draining out. A lump may occur where the fluids are gathered. Replace needle cap.
Did you just Adopt a Cat? You need to be prepared. Learn what to do when you are getting a new cat and bringing it home for the first time.
Like a good Scout, Be prepared should be your motto when bringing a new pet into your home. Felines are sensitive to new surroundings and some may hide under a bed or in a closet for days and sometimes even weeks until they feel comfortable with where they landed. You can help your new cat adapt more easily by following these guidelines:
What To Expect – The First 30
Be Sure To Prepare Before You Bring Your Cat Home:
Cats are territorial, and coming into a new environment leaves them feeling unsettled. There are some many unknowns, and they don’t know what may lurk there. Provide a small area to call his own for the first few days or weeks. Put in the space all of the kitty essentials, such as food, water and a litter box. Spend time with your cat, so make sure there’s a comfortable place for you to sit as well.
Fill a litter box with one or two inches of litter and place it in his room where he can use it undisturbed. Set up a feeding station with food and water bowls. Locate it away from the litter box.
“A new cat may hideout for days or weeks before they are comfortable with their new environment.”
Look at your house with a curious cat’s eye view for its climbing and exploring potential. When your cat is acclimated to your home, you may be surprised to find him on top of the upper kitchen cabinets, so make sure there’s nothing on display there or on other high shelves that can be damaged or knocked off. Look for holes or registers that leave ductwork accessible and cover them up. A kitten can easily slither into one of these. Bone up on how to introduce your cat to other pets. Keep her door closed and don’t let your other pets race in unexpectedly.
Now, you’re ready to bring your cat home. Preferably, bring him or her home in a cat carrier. It will feel safer to her. Take her directly to her new room.Generally, you should restrict her exposure to the whole family, but of course, everyone is going to want to see the new pet. Remind them of the ground rules you’ve set up.
Sit on the floor and let her come to you. Don’t force her. Just let her get acquainted on her own time. If she doesn’t approach, leave her alone and try again later. Some cats are particularly frightened, and she may retreat to her hidey hole and not come out when you’re around at all. She may only come out at night when the house is quiet. Give her time.
Your newly adopted cat may not eat much or at all at first. It’s best to give your cat the same food she had at the shelter or in her foster home, at least at first. Keeping some things familiar will make her feel more secure. Be sure to change her water frequently and make sure that she is drinking. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call your vet to ask for advice.
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats. It is caused by an excessive concentration of circulating thyroxine—a thyroid hormone better known as T4—in the bloodstream.
What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism? read more →
How Do I Know When My Cat Is a “Senior”?
Most cats enter their golden years between 12 and 14 years of age. Many cats, especially those who are black, experience a graying of their coat as they age—but there are other, more subtle signs that your cat is aging. read more →
What Are Some Common Urinary Tract Problems in Cats?
Problems that affect a cat’s lower urinary system often prevent the bladder from emptying correctly or may even cause fatal blockage of the urethra, the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body. Very often the culprit is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Once called Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS), FLUTD is not merely one problem, but a collection of clinical symptoms that may have more than one possible cause. Symptoms of FLUTD include frequent or painful urination, bloody urine and frequent licking of the urinary opening. One key to treating FLUTD is to determine the root cause, which may include bladder stones, urinary tract blockage, infection or cancer. If the cause of these symptoms cannot be determined, the cat is considered to have bladder inflammation (cystitis).
For upper urinary tract issues in cats, please see our article on Kidney Problems.
What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Cats?
- Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
- Urethral plug (accumulation of debris from urine)
- Bladder inflammation or infection
- Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder
- Injury to, or tumor in, the urinary tract
- Spinal cord problems
- Congenital abnormality
What Health Conditions Might Lead to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
Endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus can cause lower urinary tract problems in cats.
Which Cats Are Prone to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
FLUTD is rarely diagnosed in animals younger than one year; the average age is typically four years. Male cats are generally more prone to urethral blockages because of their narrower urethras.
How Can I Tell if My Cat Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
The following signs may indicate that your cat is having trouble with his urinary tract:
- Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Loss of bladder control, dribbling urine
- Increased frequency of urination or visits to the litter box
- Straining and/or crying out in pain when trying to pass urine
- Prolonged squatting in litter box
- Fear/avoidance of litter box and soiling in inappropriate places
- Constant licking of urinary opening
- Strong odor of ammonia in urine
- Increased water consumption
- Hard, distended abdomen
What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
Please see your veterinarian for immediate medical attention, especially if your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain. This could be a medical emergency!
How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Diagnosed?
To diagnose a lower urinary tract problem, your vet should conduct a complete physical exam, a urinalysis and possibly urine culture, blood work, radiographs or ultrasound.
How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Treated?
Because feline urinary problems are so varied and potentially serious in nature, your first step is to get immediate veterinary care. Depending on your cat’s prognosis, one of the following may be recommended:
- Antibiotics or other medications
- Dietary changes
- Increase in water intake
- Urinary acidifiers
- Expelling of small stones through urethra
- Surgery to either remove bladder stones or tumor, or to correct congenital abnormality
- Urinary catheter or surgery to remove urethral blockage in male cats
- Fluid therapy
What Can Happen If a Cat’s Lower Urinary Tract Problems Go Untreated?
Untreated urinary problems can cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra, preventing a cat from urinating. This is a medical emergency that can very quickly lead to kidney failure and/or rupture of the bladder, and can prove fatal if the obstruction is not relieved right away.
Designer collars, faux-mink coats, doggie donuts―you may love the novelties, but do your pets really need ‘em? The bucks we spend on those little extras for our animal companions add up.
“A tremendous amount of the growth in pet industry sales have probably been due to things people don’t really need for their pets,” says Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Science Advisor. While it’s great to pamper Fifi and Fido, it’s also important to budget for the essentials. Otherwise, that couture pet carrier could leave you with empty pockets when the emergency veterinary bills come.
We checked in with Dr. Z. for his take on easy ways to cut pet care costs. “The basics are still the same,” he says. “Quality food, litter for cats and good medical care.” Bottom line? Stick with the basics, and remember—preventative measures are excellent money savers!
- Go to the Vet! “A number-one money-saver is preventative veterinary care,” says Dr. Z. Annual veterinary exams can catch health crises early on and can save you a lot of time and money. This includes heartworm preventative treatment, flea and tick control, and a thorough check-up of your pet’s gums, teeth, heart, lungs and internal organs. If it’s been a year or more since your pet has seen a vet, make that appointment today!
- Give Your Pet Regular Check-Ups
Weekly home checkups are a great way to nip potential health problems in the bud.
- Check under your pet’s fur for lumps, bumps, flakes or scabs. Check your pet’s ears and eyes for signs of redness or discharge. Make note of any changes in her eating or drinking habits. If something seems off, call your vet right away.
- Learn how to clean your pet’s ears, especially if your dog is prone to ear infections.
- Brush your pet’s teeth regularly with a toothpaste formulated for pets, and check his gums. In some cases, this can help prevent the need for dental cleanings, which can run up to $200 per visit.
- Check your pet’s breath. Bad breath can indicate a digestive problem that’s better dealt with sooner rather than later
- Vaccinate Wisely
“Although certain vaccines are required by law, there is no longer automatically one policy for all animals,” says Dr. Lila Miller, Vice President, ASPCA Veterinary Outreach. “Veterinarians are now advised to assess each individual animal’s risk of exposure when designing a vaccination program.” So before subjecting your pet―and your wallet—to general vaccinations, ask your pet’s vet which vaccines he or she recommends.
- Spay/Neuter Your Pets
“Spaying and neutering your pet will have a dramatic impact on their health,” says Dr. Z. “For females, it dramatically reduces the potentiality for breast cancer, and ovarian and uterine cancer disappears.” Neutering also reduces chances of testicular cancer in males. Not only will spaying or neutering save you on future health care, but it will significantly diminish your pet’s desire to wander―and will save you the surprise of an unplanned litter.
- Invest in Training
“A lot of people don’t think about dog and cat training as a way to save money,” observes Dr. Z, “but a well-trained dog will be easier to walk, will be calmer in most situations and will be less likely to get into things he shouldn’t.” Teaching your dog to stay by your side and to come when he is called proves far cheaper than paying for expensive emergency care caused by his running off―possibly into the street―and eating items that he shouldn’t.
- Consider Pet Insurance
“One of the reasons why medical care has become so expensive,” explains Dr. Z, “is the recent growth spurt of procedures your pet can undergo―MRIs, cat scans, cancer treatments. Kidney transplants, though life-saving, are a $15,000 surgery that also typically requires the pet owner to adopt the donor animal.”
Accidents, too, can be costly. Pet insurance is one way to take some sting out of the bill. The cost of a policy typically runs about $300-$400 per year and many cover both regular and emergency visits.
- Save Up for the Future
Invest the money you spend on toys and extra snacks into a fund for possible emergencies, and deposit a fixed amount into it every two weeks. If no emergencies arise, you’ll be all the richer, but if something does come up, money will not stand in the way of getting your pet the care she needs.
Elderly Pet Care
The great news is that pets are living longer, thanks to better nutrition and veterinary care. But this often entails more frequent trips to the vet, blood screenings tests, special food and medication. “Very often you see people bringing older pets into shelters because they are confronted with bills they can’t manage,” says Dr. Z. You can avoid an ambush of sudden bills by saving up while your pet is young.
Caring for your pet at death could cost between $300 to $1,000, depending upon the services you choose. Some insurance policies cover the cost of euthanasia and cremation, but it is a smart idea to put aside a savings account that will cover those bills. This way you won’t have to haggle when the time comes.
- Serve Healthy Food in Moderate Portions
Buy premium-quality food
“Buy a good, premium-quality dog or cat food,” advises Dr. Z. “Don’t go crazy,” he says, but remember that cheaper foods will set you back in the end. They are full of less digestible filler material and artificial colors that offer no nutrients and can contribute to allergies and digestive problems. A high-quality, age-appropriate food results in a healthy coat, more energy and fewer costly trips to the vet.
This includes resisting the urge to spoil your pets with too many treats! “You don’t need to feed your pets as much as people do,” Dr. Z. reminds us. “One of the things we’re confronting is a huge obesity problem. Serving moderate portions not only saves you money on food ―it also reduces the likelihood of obesity.”
- Shop Around
Buy supplies online or in bulk. Just keep in mind that it’s wise to get product recommendations from your vet first. Online or store-bought products that you know nothing about could prove to be harmful or of poor quality. And if you rotate your pet’s toys, they’ll stay interested without you having to buy new ones every few months.
- Groom Your Pets at Home
- Save the price of a visit to your groomer with regular brushings. While you’re at it, you’ll reduce the hair around your home and your cats will have fewer hairballs.
- Trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis. It’s not hard to do, and you’ll likely save yourself the cost of new furniture and curtains.
Lucky for us, there are vaccines to help prevent many illnesses that affect dogs. Vaccinating your dog has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, there are different types and combinations of vaccines. read more →