Many cat parents agree that going to the vet hospital can be a traumatic journey for cats and cat owners alike. Commonly, the journey begins with chasing your cat around the house to catch them, followed by wrestling them into their dreaded carrier (getting scratched and bit along the way). That sounds bad enough, but it doesn’t end there. Next, you must listen to your cat yelling throughout the whole car ride and smell the aroma of cat urine in their carrier. By that point, your cat is typically so worked up and angry upon arrival to the clinic that the veterinarian can barely examine them due to their high anxiety and aggression.
These traumatic experiences often prevent cat owners from even bringing their cats to the vet for important and necessary visits. The good news is, there is a better way! Many hospitals have initiated a less fearful approach to feline veterinary appointments which includes many interventions that start at home. The hospital I currently work at extensively uses Meowijuana products for feline visits. Many owners spray their cat’s carriers with Meowijuana cat nip spray, sprinkle blankets with the dried catnip leaves and flowers, and include catnip infused toys in the carrier for transport. Once arrived at the clinic, we allow the cats to wonder around in the exam room outside of their carrier. The exam rooms include catnip infused toys, blankets, and surfaces sprinkled with the dried catnip leaves/flowers or sprayed with the catnip spray. Many cats are rolling around in the catnip and playing with the toys before and throughout the duration of their physical exam. Some cats are purring so loud we can barely hear their heart sounds over the purrs. Many clients report that their cats had such a good experience that they want to purchase the Meowijuana products after their visit. We sell many of the Meowijuana products in our front lobby.
While catnip helps to calm most cats, it doesn’t work for everyone. Catnip makes some cats very sleepy and makes some very playful and energetic. In cats, it is thought that when smelling the catnip, the nepetalactone targets the receptors in the brain and causes euphoria. It does so by binding to protein receptors in the nasal cavity and stimulating sensory neurons which provoke a response in the part of the brain that regulates the emotions (hypothalamus). Alternatively, when cats eat the catnip, the receptors cause the opposite effect and cause the cat to become more mellow. Some cats become more hyperactive or rarely even aggressive when encountering catnip. Not all cats respond to cat nip; the response is inheritable. Additionally, cats do not respond until they around 6-8 weeks of age and complete response does not occur until maturity (around 6 months of age). Some cats may be too anxious for catnip to be enough to calm them and additional stress reducing techniques or medications may be required for a successful veterinary visit. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns!
Written by Dr. Kimberly Couch, DVM at East-West Animal Hospital in Lutz, FL.