By Cara Yanussi, Registered Veterinary Technician
At Alameda Pet Hospital, we require all cats to come to appointments securely contained in carriers. As owners, you have probably noticed there is quite a variety of carriers available on the market. While there are pros and cons to most carriers, there are definitely some that veterinary technicians find cause the least amount of stress when removing your cat for examinations.
1. Size matters.
One of the first things to consider when purchasing a carrier is making sure that it is big enough for your pet. Kittens grow, as we all know. While it may be cute to have a kitten all cuddled up in a small carrier, that tiny carrier will most likely become uncomfortable as the cat grows. Plan to have your cat for a long time and invest in a carrier that will be large enough for a full grown cat.
2. Never put a cat in a carrier without bedding.
Next, always have some type of bedding or layer in the bottom of the carrier. Not only does this give the carrier a more inviting appearance than some cold plastic, a towel or t-shirt or pee pad can soak up any mess a stressed or (car) sick animal may make.
The two materials available for cat carriers are cloth and plastic. While cloth carriers may seem more comfortable for cats, it is actually not as great as the plastic carriers. Cloth carriers hold onto the smells of messes while plastic carriers are much easier to keep clean.
4. Ease of access and how the carrier opens.
Top-open carriers make it easy to remove a cat without having to try and pull an uncooperative cat through a small door. That is, as you can imagine, super stressful for a cat that is already somewhere they do not want to be.
This model is very easy to use: Petmate 2-Door Dog & Cat Kennel.
This one makes it possible to examine the cat while it stays in the carrier. The top easily slides off: Spree Plastic Carrier at Petco.
This carrier, while it only has one door, also has a top that comes off easily: Aspen Pet Fashion Pet Porter at Petmate.
Keeping your cat carrier in working order may seem simple, but there are a few things people often don’t think about.
Because we are trying to minimize the stress your cat experiences while out of their regular home environment, make sure that any bolts holding the carrier together still turn easily. If any are rusted in place it means we’ll have to either hope your cat walks out of the carrier willingly, or we will have to reach in through the front door and lift the cat out through that small opening.
We also discourage the use of zip ties to keep the carrier closed. Because we can’t replace any that we need to cut, we leave them as is, and are faced with having to lift the cat through the small front door.
If you are traveling on an airplane with your cat, the provider may require that all of the nuts and bolts be in place. Some carriers have as many as 12! Thankfully, in order to keep your cat in the carrier for vet appointments, you only need to make sure the bolts in the corners of the carrier are functioning properly.
Lastly, this article is on a website called Cat Friendly Homes, created by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. It provides tips on how to get your cat more comfortable with their carrier, so that their trip to the veterinarian is less stressful overall: Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian.
Nutrition & Behavior Information Links
We’ve been getting lots of questions about nutrition and behavior for puppies and kittens. Here are some great links to helpful information:
Exams & Non-Urgent Questions
We are utilizing several alternatives to phone calls due to the extremely high volume. Please reach out to us via email at email@example.com or text us at 36218 for refill requests and non-urgent questions or appointment requests. We will get back to you within 1-2 business days. For non-urgent exams, you may schedule via our Rapport Pet Portal Login.
We require 24 hours notice minimum when canceling an appointment. There may be a fee for a violation of this policy. Please communicate with our staff if you are unable to keep your appointment.
Due to increased demand for services, we require a deposit for new clients. This fee will be applied to the first veterinary visit. If the appointment is canceled more than 24 hours in advance, the funds will be refunded to the card used. If the appointment is rescheduled, the deposit will roll over to the new appointment.
If your pet needs a prescription refilled, you might want to try our online pharmacy so that your order can be delivered directly to your home. Medication refill requests may also be submitted via email or text (36218). Requests received before 12 pm for medications with refills previously authorized will be available for pick-up after 4 pm the same day, otherwise the next day. Medications without previously approved refills must be approved by one of our veterinarians. Please allow an additional business day for approval.
Before your visit to Alameda Pet Hospital, be sure to download CheckN from the App Store or the Google Play Store to your iPhone or Android device. This is a new check-in feature for all appointments and also to let our staff know that you are here to pick up medication or food for your pet. Also, be sure to opt-in to receive texts from us by texting JOIN to 36218, and also save (510) 523-1626 in your phone contacts under APH.
When planning your appointment, be sure to give yourself extra time to park and check in; an extra 15 minutes is advisable.
Upon arrival, please STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE and check in with either CheckN, texting us at 36218, or calling our front office at (510) 523-1626. Because of high call volume, please be patient as the call wait time may be longer than normal. Our front office staff will verbally guide you through the next steps in the check-in process. Unless otherwise directed, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THE PARKING LOT. If you are unsure whether you may depart and pick up your animal later, please contact our front office to clarify.
In compliance with local health regulations, MASKS ARE MANDATORY. We will refuse service for those without masks. Please comply. For more information about current face covering requirements, see the guidelines at the California Department of Public Health.
Only animals are allowed inside the pet hospital for the exam. Our veterinarians and amazing support staff will continue to provide excellent care of your animals and will communicate with you about the findings and recommendations from our exam. We realize that separating animals from their human parents may be difficult for all, but we are all in this together, and we look forward to a day when we can return to in-hospital exams.
Our veterinary staff has been working diligently and tirelessly during this pandemic to care for you and your animals. We are consistently working to make this process better for all. Please be kind to our staff. This pandemic has taken its toll on everyone.
Thank you for your cooperation. And, please stay safe and well.
For the very latest information on COVID-19, you can check these sites:
Monday through Friday:
8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday and Thursday:
8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Evening hours are exclusively for wellness exams at this time.
Online Scheduling is Back!
Online scheduling is now available for routine examinations and non-urgent concerns. Click on "Rapport Pet Portal Login" below to access your account. For urgent medical issues, or if you're unsure if a medical issue is urgent, please call us directly so we may triage your pet.
You can also log in to your Pet Portal account if you want to check your pet’s medical records online. If you don’t have an account yet, you can click on the link to sign up.
Rapport Pet Portal Login