Friday, March 6, 2015

7 Tips for Making Vet Visits Less Stressful

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), 41% of cat owners only take their pet to the veterinarian for vaccinations, and 39% of feline owners state that they would only take their cat to the vet if she was sick.  Additionally, AAFP reports that 38% of cat owners say they are stressed just thinking about taking their cat to the vet.

Regular checkups are important for cats, just as they are for humans.  Being owned by a feline means it's your responsibility to ensure your kitty gets the medical care she needs.  I know that taking your cat to the vet may not be a walk in the park for either of you, but there are several things you can do to make your cat more comfortable going to the vet.  Try these tips to help make your vet trips easier and less stressful on both you and your feline friend.

Get Your Cat Used to His Carrier: When you pull out your cat's carrier, does he automatically run under your bed or couch?  Many cats associate their carriers with negative experiences.  One thing you can do to make vet visits more pleasant is to change your cat's association with his carrier.

Begin by leaving his carrier out all the time.  If your carrier has a removable top, take the top off so that your cat can easily get in and out of the bottom part of his carrier.  If your carrier doesn't have a removable top section, leave the carrier door open so your cat can go in and out of it voluntarily.

To make the carrier comfortable for your feline, place some soft cat bedding or a piece of clothing with your scent on it inside.  When you notice your cat sniffing, sitting by, or in the carrier, reward him with a treat.  Do this every single time you see him near or in the carrier.  Start feeding your cat near, and eventually in, his carrier.  This will help him begin to associate his carrier with positive things.  You can further your cat's positive association with his carrier by placing his favorite toys or catnip inside it.

Get Your Cat Used to Car Trips: Once your cat is used to her carrier, you can begin to get her used to car rides.  Start by simply placing your kitty in her carrier in the car for a few minutes at a time.  Reward her with treats every time to build a positive association.  Work up to turning the car engine on and taking short drives.  Ensure that you always talk to your feline in a calm, happy tone, and reward her with treats on each car ride.

Take Practice Trips: suggests taking practice trips to the vet with your cat.  Take your cat to the vet once or twice a week, but do not have him examined during these trips.  Rather, give your kitty treats while in the waiting room.  Introduce your cat to the veterinary staff, and have them give your cat treats as well.  Ask if you can spend some time in an examination room with your kitty.  Once inside, open your cat's carrier, and allow him to explore the room.  Reward him with treats when he's on the examination table.  Repeated positive experiences in the waiting room, examination room, and with the veterinary staff will help your cat feel more comfortable when it's time for a real veterinary visit.

Find a Cat-Friendly Veterinarian: Some veterinarians have feline-only practices while others are making an effort to make cats more comfortable at their offices.  You can search the American Association of Feline Practitioners to find a cat-friendly veterinarian in your area.

Get Your Cat Used to Handling: You can help your kitty become more comfortable with vet exams by touching your cat's ears, face, paws, and tail while she's relaxing at home.  Gently picking up her paws, feeling her stomach, and opening her mouth will also help her feel more comfortable when your vet has to examine her.

Making Your Cat Comfortable in the Waiting Room: Some cats feel less vulernable when covered with a towel.  If it helps your kitty, bring a towel to cover his carrier with while waiting for your appointment.  Don't allow strangers or dogs to approach your cat in the waiting room.  Most cats are stressed out by unfamiliar people and pets.  Kindly explain to others who want to peek in on your cat that your kitty is stressed and needs his space right now.

Be Prepared: Write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your veterinarian.  Note any symptoms your cat has been exhibiting as well.  Pam Johnson-Bennett recommends using your smart phone (if you have one) to video concerning behaviors so that your vet can view them firsthand.  I've actually done something similar in the past for my vet, and I believe it helped her understand Jewel's behavior better.

Do you remember when Jewel was howling, seemingly randomly?  I used my smartphone to record the audio so that our vet could hear it for herself.  I also took photos of the way Jewel ate to help our vet understand Jewel's eating position, which changed over time.  The audio files and photos definitely helped her gain a better understanding of Jewel's symptoms and behaviors.

Going to the veterinarian for regular checkups is important.  Using these tips will help you reduce stress for both you and your kitty on trips to the veterinarian.

What do you do to reduce your cat's stress on trips to the vet? 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jewel's Journey

I *love* books, and I love to read!  I often find myself wishing I could make more time to read, but I try to read at least a few pages of a book everyday.  Due to my severe vision impairment, it takes me longer to read than it does most people, but I've always found a lot of pleasure in reading.

Sometimes when my friend, D, visits, I'll ask him to read to me out of the book I'm enjoying.  I think he enjoys reading to me.  Do you know who else enjoys these reading-out-loud sessions?  The kitties!

Every time D would read to me when he visited, Jewel would come and curl up in her pink cube to listen.  Carmine would also make his way into my room and lay on the floor next to me and Jewel to hear the story.

Toward the end of Jewel's life, I would carry her in one of the blue and green cubes into my room so she wouldn't have to walk there on her own.  It was really sweet to see Jewel curled up in her cube on one side of me and Carmine curled up in the pink cube on the other side of me for the reading session.

For the last several months before Jewel passed away, D was reading me the Divergent series.  Everyone enjoyed it so much that I didn't read ahead on my own the way I usually do!

The last night Jewel spent here with me, D read to us out of the last Divergent book (Allegiant).  We wanted to finish the series with Jewel, but it didn't end up happening that way.  It was about three or four months after her death until I asked D to finish reading it to me, and before each reading session, I told Angel Jewel that we were going to read from the book and that she could come and listen if she wanted to.

I'd like to believe that Jewel still comes to listen to the stories when D reads aloud, even if we cannot see her anymore.  Carmine continues to enjoy being read to very much.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Purr Therapy Review

Because I had heard so many great things about Purr Therapy: What Timmy & Marina Taught Me About Life, Love, and Loss, I was thrilled when I received an opportunity to read and review it for Fur Everywhere. I can honestly say that Purr Therapy is one of the best cat books I've had the opportunity to read!

In Purr Therapy, psychotherapist, Dr. Kathy McCoy shows readers how two special therapy cats, Timmy and Marina, not only changed her clients' lives, but also taught her lessons about life, love, and compassion.  I loved reading the clients' stories and seeing how these two special kitties helped clients grow.  I also enjoyed reading about the antics Timmy and Marina used in therapy sessions to distract distressed or angry clients and the compassion the cats showed to sad or anxious clients. 

Dr. McCoy also talks about Timmy and Marina as companion animals and eloquently expresses what she was feeling before, during, and after both cats' untimely deaths.  The emotions she felt before, during, and after her kitties' deaths were very validating for me; I felt comforted knowing that my emotions surrounding Jewel's death aren't uncommon.  Additionally, Purr Therapy provides a few tips for coping with the grief one inevitably experiences after the death of a beloved companion animal.  

I believe anyone who loves cats, has an interest in animal-assisted therapy, or enjoys reading about how cats can impact lives will love this book.  I don't typically read books a second time, but I plan to read this book again in the future.  It's truly a heartwarming read.  

You can learn more about Dr. Kathy McCoy on her website.  

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Purr Therapy free of charge to review.  Receiving a copy of the book did not change my opinions in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Opt to Adopt: Gomez Adams

Gomez Adams

Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue
Denver, CO

According to his profile, Gomez Adams is quite shy initially, but it doesn't take him long to warm up to you!  He loves being petted on his head, along his back, and even on his tail.  He also enjoys getting head scritches and tummy rubs!  And with a handsome cat like Gomez, what more could you ask for?  

Gomez is an incredibly handsome orange tabby with white.  At about 10 and a half years old, he still has lots of love to give.  He's declawed (not the doing of the rescue) and litterbox trained.  

Please stop by Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue or give them a call at: 303-744-6076 for more information about this handsome mancat.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mancat Monday

One cat,
Two cat,
Gray cat,
Orange cat.

Happy Dr. Seuss Day!!

Hi everyone, it's Carmine here.  

Mes heard the Mom talking to a friend about how "concerned" hers is about Lita, and how hers is going to try and get Lita an appointment at the Stabby Place.  

Mes sure hopes the Mom takes Lita on a different day than hers takes mes to the Stabby Place!  Better yet, the Mom could take Lita and just leave mes here at home!  You see...Lita gets VERY upset at the Stabby Place and makes a LOUD fuss whenever hers is there.  Hers is even louder than Jewel was at the Stabby Place, and Angel Jewel was pretty loud and vocal; hers always let Dr. Stabby know exactly what hers thought of all the poking and prodding!  Lita's loud protests make mes even more anxious than mes usually is at the Stabby Place.  Why can't hers be like mes is and just be a little rag cat and let Dr. Stabby do what hers has to do and get it over with?  

Mes will meow at you later; has a great day! 

"Why fit in when you wre born to stand out?"
~Dr. Seuss