Pet Transporting

How you can make your cat’s visit to the veterinary hospital less stressful (for both you and your feline friend!)

By Cat vaccinations, Pet Transporting

Did you know that Cats are the #1 owned pet in North America?



If you are one of the millions who share their homes and lives with a cat then you probably also know that traveling with your cat to the veterinary hospital can be stressful for both cats and their owners.

Cats pick up on the smallest change and run and hide somehow knowing it is that time of year again.  They make you chase them around your home and then hide in the farthest corner just out of reach to avoid getting into that dreadful carrier.  Then there is that awful car ride with the final destination the stressful veterinary hospital.  It is just a fact that cats hate change and they will make every attempt to not get into that carrier.

My name is Judy and I have been a  Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) for 19 years (16 of those years have been at Royal York Animal Hospital.)  Together with my husband, I share my home with 4 wonderful cats: FELIX is 18 years and our grumpy old man, LUKE and LEIA at 3 years, are a brother and sister duo that I adopted from Royal York Animal Hospital and are named for characters in my husband’s favourite movie, Star Wars.  GABY is our newest addition and she is a very talkative 2 year old.  Since I live with four cats I have taken a keen interest in feline medicine and behaviour.  I am always intrigued with how they act, show affection towards each other and individually to my husband and I.  Each one is different and certainly has their own personality!  I believe cats are unique creatures and should be treated as such.

I wanted to talk about two different topics but they really one and the same.  Are yearly checkups important for your cat? and how to make the visit less stressful for yourself and your cat??




MYTH:  A lot of people are under the impression that Indoor cats don’t get sick and therefore don’t need routine check ups.

THE TRUTH: Indoor cats still get sick  with many diseases such as renal disease, metabolic diseases, and cancer with the same risk as outdoor cats who may live a high risk lifestyle.

MYTH:  Vaccines are not as important for indoor cats

THE TRUTH:  This is absolutely not true.   feline vaccines provide protection from many horrible and preventable diseases.




I speak from personal experience when I say I know how difficult it is to get a cat in a pet carrier.  Sometimes they run away or  they cry and carry on.  Some urinate and defecate in the carrier. Each time it can be so dramatic.  I  do understand what other cat owners go through to get their cat to the Veterinary Hospital.   It is very stressful for both  the cat and the owner and this is the number 1 reason why people delay or don’t bring their cat to the veterinarian for regular checkups and/or when they are ill.     Cats (even indoor ones) do need veterinary care on a yearly basis it is important learn some practical tips to make veterinary visits easier for both cats and their owners.

Here are some helpful tips on getting your cat to the hospital as stress free as possible:



  • All cats should have their own carrier and should be transported in that carrier
  • The best carriers are sturdy plastic and open from the top and the front, and that can easily be taken apart.
  • Bring the carrier out at least 1 week before your scheduled visit to the veterinarian.
  • Place the carrier in an area where the cat spends a lot of time.
  • Make the carrier comfortable, place big plush blankets, a piece of your own clothing, fluffy towels.
  • Feed your cat in and around the carrier, so it is familiar with it.
  • Spray or wipe your carrier with FELIWAY (a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure)
  • Take short trips with your cat, for non veterinary related destinations so they don’t associate the carrier and car rides with always going to the veterinarian.
  • Start at a young age and travel frequently with kittens.

Visit the following link for more Feline Behavior and Care Tips


Did you know that Royal York Animal Hospital has the designation of being a FELINE FRIENDLY hospital? Layout 1

This certification from the American Association of Feline Practitioners means that our Hospital and our staff have exceeded the standards they have set out and that we continually have to maintain and uphold our commitment to this designation.  Among other qualifications, we have a special exam room for Felines Only and this room has the calming effect of a plug in Feliway diffuser.

Are you putting off Fluffy’s yearly checkup?  No more I hope!



Tips for taking your pet along with you on Vacation

By Pet Transporting, Pet Traveling, Traveling with Pets

In my last blog I talked about what to consider, if your pet is staying home while you go on vacation, but what if you decided to bring your pet with you?
But……What If Your Pet Could Come Along On Your Trip?

Traveling with your pet can be fun, but careful planing is necessary. If you are traveling internationally with your pet it requires planning even if just driving up north to cottage country.  If you are traveling out of the country – even if just driving to the United States you need to do much more homework.  Make sure to contact the country embassy well in advance. Every country has different entry requirements. Some even require  a quarantine period or special testing for contagious diseases.

Flying With Your Pet

If you are FLYING with your pet you also need to contact the airline to check for regulations and kennels requirement when traveling with your pet.

Driving With Your Pet

If you are DRIVING make sure your pet is comfortable and used to being in the car.  If you must travel with your pet and is not used to the car, ask your veterinarian for possible medications that can help your pet travel comfortable.  Consider your pet’s comfort as you travel.  How will he/she get exercise?  Go to the bathroom?  What are the considerations when you stop for meals en route?  Often it may be too hot or too cold or otherwise unsafe to leave your pet unattended in the car.

Make sure the hotel or camping grounds where you are staying are pet friendly.  Many hotels not only allow pets but welcome them, giving them beds, treats and some may even offer dog walking services. Always check for any additional fees. However, this requires research, planning and booking beforehand.

Make sure your dog and cat have collars and tags with UP TO DATE contact information including your cell number —remember you are not at home to be contacted if your pet goes missing while you are away! Pet Microchipping is a must.  Again, your contact information must be kept up to date.

Make sure to bring  your pet’s food and medications. Bringing a copy of your pet’s medical records, including all vaccinations can save valuable time in an emergency.   Check for available veterinary services on route and at your final destination.  In a word PLAN.

When taking a vacation whether you bring your pet with you or not, planning ahead is the key for successful and fun trip!!

Dr. Luisa Alvarez

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