Handling a cat can be a stressful experience for everyone involved, and it can lead to aggression if not appropriately addressed. 

When the clients are making an appointment it is essential to educate them about how important it is to make adjustments before and during the trip to the vet. Here are some recommendations when speaking to a cat owner:

  • Carrier: appropriate size, secure and with a removable top. They should get the cat used to the carrier beforehand.
  • Feliway: spray Feliway solution in their bedding at least 30 minutes before the trip to the vet.
  • Prescribed medication: If the patient has a history of aggression, help manage the fear by reminding the owner to give some medication before the consultation.
  • When carrying the cat to the vet: the owner should minimize movement by supporting the carrier from the bottom with two hands.
  • When transporting the pet to the vet by car: the carrier should be secure on the floor or the passenger lap.

What you will need to handle the aggressive cat:

  • A professional handler (vet nurse/tech or veterinarian) for the safety of the animal, staff and pet owner.
  • Warm towel to provide a soft and comfortable surface for the cat.
  • Feliway diffuser and spray (pheromone therapy) to calm the patient.

Before handling:

1) Wash your hands to eliminate the scent of other pets. 

2) Be prepared! Have the equipment for examination ready.

3) Turn on the Feliway diffuser

4) Spray the warm towel with Feliway classic spray.

Handling an aggressive cat:

1) Make sure to start the consultation as soon as the patient arrives at the clinic.

2) Approach slowly, speak with a calm voice and assess the cat in the carrier while paying attention to body language. Observe signs of fear or aggression.

3) The goal is that the cat gets out of the carrier voluntarily. If the patient shows aggressive behavior, the handler will need to remove the top of the carrier, approach the cat from behind and slide the warm towel to restrain the patient kindly.

4) You can examine the cat in the carrier or wrap the patient with the towel and slide it onto the table if it is safe to do so. Start with the less stressful part of the examination.

Note: if step 4 does not work or you need to perform other procedures, you may need to sedate the patient when you get to step 3. 

Infographic created by Arais Conde, find out more about her by visiting her Instagram or Portfolio.