Handling an Emergency Vet Visit (and Signs You Need One)

In part three in my series on vet visits with your cat, I’m sharing some some of the signs that your cat needs a vet visit and how to handle an unexpected vet visit if you haven’t been able to prepare using the tips in part one – Making a Vet Visit Easier – and part two – Keeping the Peace When You Return Home.

Do You Need to Call the Vet?

Cats can be masters of hiding illness. Behavioral changes are often the first sign that something is wrong. Below are some of the more subtle signs that your cat needs a vet visit ASAP.

Changes in Eating or Drinking

Changes in Litter Box Habits

Changes in Behavior

Changes in Cleanliness

How Do You Get There? – Getting a Reluctant Cat in a Carrier

Ideally you’ve taken some time to get your cat comfortable with their carrier before an emergency or illness and now you can enjoy the results of that work. However, life is rarely that perfect and you may not be to the point where your cat is a calm participate in the process.

If your cat tends to disappear when the carrier comes out and expand when you try to force them in their carrier, these steps should make the process a little easier.

Top-loading carriers are very helpful. And adorable.

Once in the room:

If you don’t have a top-loading carrier:

If your cat becomes very difficult to handle when picked up or placed in a carrier, cover them completely with a towel and wrap it around them to pick them up. This gives you protection from their teeth and claws and minimizes struggling.

Finally, there are some cats who are more likely to go into a carrier if you don’t try to pick them up at all.

Stay Calm and Love Your Cat

Your behavior will influence your cat during this process and during the vet visit. If you are stressed and anxious (whether about your cat’s health or just about getting them in their carrier), it can cause your cat to be more anxious.

Relaxed cat rolling over
Stay calm, it'll be okay.

Nobody likes a surprise vet visit but we will all be faced with one at some point. Take your time and stay calm and your cat will thank you.

If your cat has a behavior problem that you need help solving, consider scheduling a private behavior consultation. 

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