Taking a dog to the vet is relatively easy. Dogs are trusting and naïve. All you have to do is say, “You wanna go for a ride?” and your dog will turn into a barking, tail-wagging lump of excited ecstasy. You put a leash on him, take him outside, and put him into a car. He doesn’t suspect a thing until you are actually at the door of The Evil Place Where They Put You on a Table and Stick You With Things. Then the only thing you have to worry about is pulling him through the door and keeping him quiet if there are any other dogs in the waiting room.
Cats are very, very different. They are small, athletic and incredibly limber. They can run so fast that even Superman couldn’t catch one of them. They can get over, under and into just about anything faster than the speed of light. In addition, far from trusting, they are smart and naturally suspicious of all humans, including (even especially) the ones they live with. They don’t like to leave their territories, and they can’t be bribed with the promise of a ride in a car. Except in unusual cases, leashes are out of the question.
So when the time comes for that dreaded vet visit, a cat’s human has only one choice: you have to sneak up on the critter when he is off-guard, preferably when he is asleep, throw a towel over him and stuff him into his carrier before he wakes up enough to know what is going on. To ensure that your critter will be properly off in Kitty Dreamland and oblivious to your designs on his day, you will need to carefully schedule all vet visits during prime cat napping time. Hint: cats sleep about 16 hours a day, but they can pretty much be guaranteed to be up and about late in the afternoon.
If you have done the unfortunate thing and have scheduled a vet visit for late in the day, you are going to have to use some strategy.
To begin, recite the following mantra to yourself: “I am smarter than a cat. I am smarter than a cat.” You will have to keep reminding yourself of this, because it will not always be apparent.
Well ahead of the scheduled appointment, get the cat carrier out of storage, open it and put it somewhere where it will be readily accessible for a quick shove and closing later. Don’t let the cat see you do this.
Act as casual as possible, as you get a towel out from storage. Pretend that this is something you always do (bringing a towel into the living room). The cat won’t be fooled so easily, so you will have to sit quietly and really play up to him. If he begins to get suspicious of all the sudden attention you are giving him, back off until he stops twitching his tail and glaring at you.
You will have to sit on the towel or otherwise hide it, because when the cat sees you unfolding it he won’t come anywhere near you. He knows better.
As the time gets shorter, and you have not yet managed to find a good opportunity to catch the little hairy genius, you will have to just walk up to him casually, throw the towel over him as well as you can, pick him up and carry him to the open carrier, wherever you have put it.
Because you have not managed to get the towel all the way around him, he is perfectly able to wiggle and splay his four legs in all directions. Cats can suddenly inflate to about twice their normal size by doing this. At this point, you are on your own. If you manage to get all four legs into the box you will be doing well. Head and tail will hopefully follow. If not, you are screwed, because he will slip out of the towel like a greasy hot dog out of a bun that has too much mayonnaise on it.
Since you are a human, and smarter than a cat, you will now realize that catching him is an impossible dream. The only thing to do is to call the vet, explain what happened and reschedule the appointment for the next morning, planning to catch the kitty during a nap (see above). Try not to feel embarrassed when the vet’s receptionist laughs.
They know all about cats.