There are some very important tips when it comes to approaching and handling cats, especially one that is new to you, who is unfamiliar with you.
Several observations for cats in the clinic: in the exam room you will find that I position your cat to face you at the start of the exam. This decreases their level of intimidation and does aid in relaxation. It helps for the kitty to be able to see their human(s) during the process. We will have your friend on a towel on top of the exam table. This allows us to turn your cat (magic carpet ride) without having to pick him/her up physically, thus reducing stress. I approach and go slowly through my examination as cats are not ones to appreciate being rushed.
We have Feliway plugin diffusers placed in the exam rooms. These devices deliver a synthetic calming pheromone which helps decrease your cat’s stress during their visit.
I usually have a staff member ‘restraining’ your friend. We have a pattern or routine we follow for my examinations with specific techniques for holding and positioning – following that routine ensures that I am not likely to overlook anything during the physical examination.
Often when owners are nervous they may pet their cat more ‘enthusiastically’ than normal. This can lead to the kitty becoming overstimulated and lashing out (see the link above) so keep all of your contact ‘soft’ and ‘quiet’ when your cat is in a stressful situation, like the exam room.