If you own a cat you will likely understand how difficult it can sometimes be to get them into a pet carrier, especially when making regular trips to the vet.
Cats are naturally independent, more so than their canine cousins. When it comes to getting them to do what you want them to do, you will usually find their ideas don’t coincide with yours. This is common when it comes to getting them into a pet carrier, and many cat owners will have experienced the struggle at some stage.
Luckily, there are a couple of tricks you can use to get your cat into a carrier without any struggling to get into their carrier.
Easy Does it
Your cat is wild at heart, and being put into a small enclosure is not part of their nature, no matter how domesticated they are. This means that when it comes to placing them into their carrier, they may feel a little stressed. When doing this, you should try to be as relaxed as possible with them as any sense of nervousness or fear will be felt by your cat, and they will start to feel frightened before they even go inside. Therefore, it is important to remain calm and make the cat feel as comfortable as possible.
Choose a Suitable Carrier
It is crucial that you find a pet carrier that is specifically designed for carrying pets, and not a makeshift carrier like a laundry basket or an open box as this is not safe, and may actually harm your cat during the journey if they escape.
Shop around for a good quality pet carrier as there are many different brands out there, all offering different sizes and styles. It is important to find one which your cat will feel comfortable in, and perhaps enjoy spending time in.
If you are just starting out, hard-sided carriers may be most suited to you as they usually open at the top and front, making it easier to lift your cat in or out. Soft-sided carriers are more lightweight and easier to handle. They open from the top and at the side.
Regardless of the type of carrier you purchase, it is wise to buy one which can be taken apart easily as this will allow you to get your cat out even if they are unable to move due to sickness, or if they don’t want to get out on their own.
Familiarize Your Cat With the Carrier
Before you even attempt to take your cat out in the carrier for the first time, it is recommended that you let your cat spend a few days using the carrier as their bed or play area. This will give them time to become accustomed to the smell and feeling of being inside it. You can easily do this by sitting the carrier in a nice place so your cat sees it and then simply add one of their soft blankets or covers inside, something they are already familiar with, as this will help them to become accustomed sooner. If they don’t immediately go inside, the best trick is to place a few of your cat’s favorite treats inside to entice them in.
When your cat eventually chooses the pet carrier as a new favorite hiding spot, you can close the door for a few moments to allow them to feel the sensation of being inside. When it comes to travel, it won’t be as foreign to your cat and they won’t feel as nervous.
Carefully Lift Your Cat
When you come to the first time traveling with your cat in the carrier, you want to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Start by placing the carrier with the door facing the ceiling, add a towel at the bottom so that if your cat urinates it will be absorbed. Then lift your cat under their front legs and support his bottom with your other hands. Lower their rear-end into the carrier first and then they will not feel as if it is a forced situation.
If you force them in head first, there is more chance they will fight going inside. When your cat is inside, close the door and secure the lock, and return the pet carrier to its original position. To make the journey more comfortable you can even add a small cover over the carrier to keep it shaded.
For cats that are not acclimated to their carrier, you can try spraying a pheromone spray which helps to calm your cat.
Just like people who don’t like being in enclosed spaces for too much time, cats also do not like spending much time in a pet carrier. It is important to keep this in mind and not leave your cat in for too long, even when traveling long distances. A little break now and then may help to make all the difference.
Do you have a cat who struggles when they are forced to go into a pet carrier? The best advice is to let them become accustomed to the carrier before any traveling takes place.
If you have never used a pet carrier with your cat before, we hope that the information in this article will help you to relax your little cat before the big day, and hopefully you will both be traveling more often without any struggles.