Dear Christopher Cat: Although she’s sweet at home, my cat Twinkie becomes so anxious when we see the vet that she gets aggressive. What can I do about this?
Christopher Responds: Schedule an appointment with a veterinarian who makes house calls. Shortly before the visit, confine Twinkie to a bathroom so she can’t hide under furniture and then get stressed when you try to pull her out.
At some point, Twinkie probably will need to visit the animal hospital, so it would be a good idea to help her feel secure about the trip. At home, accustom her to her carrier by putting especially tasty treats or a plate of yummy canned food inside. Add a soft bed or fluffy towel so she’ll feel safe sleeping there.
Once she’s comfortable in her carrier, spray the inside of it with Feliway, the feline facial pheromone that promotes relaxation, and take her for a short ride in the car. Repeat this activity weekly until she’s calm during the drives.
Before Twinkie’s next visit to the animal hospital, ask your veterinarian about giving her medication, such as gabapentin or trazodone, to decrease her anxiety.
If this approach doesn’t prevent Twinkie from becoming aggressive, ask your veterinarian to refer you to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.