Carriers play an important role in a cat’s life: they keep your cat safe while traveling. This means when your kitty needs to go to the vet or if you’re moving, she can ride comfortably, safely, and securely. If you’re wondering how you can make your cat see the value in her carrier rather than treating it like her mortal enemy, don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s easy to tell if your cat likes or dislikes her carrier. For one thing, a cat that likes her carrier won’t stick all four legs out and refuse to go in. She also won’t disappear as soon as she sees her carrier. While hating the carrier isn’t fun for you, it also escalates trauma and creates a snowball effect when you have to force your cat into it.
And while your cat may never love her carrier (although many do), being able to get her to the vet with a normal heart rate, transport her safely, and keep her calmer when moving cross country.
How Can You Help Your Cat Like Her Carrier?
- The first step to creating a healthy cat-carrier relationship is to choose a carrier that works best for your cat. There are many great fabric and hard plastic options with multiple doors. Fabric carriers allow a lot of visibility and airflow but may not last as long as a hard-plastic carrier wince their zippers tend to wear out.
Security is Everything
The most important aspect of a carrier is that the doors are secure. For a plastic carrier, test the latches and be sure you know how to tell if they’re fully engaged. With a fabric carrier, choose durable fabrics and inspect the zippers from time to time.
A Carrier Fit for a Feline
Carriers can be either too large or too small. Your cat should be able to complete a full circle while standing up in her carrier. She should not be able to pace, though.
- Your Cat Should Become Familiar with Her Carrier
While carriers may not be the most attractive piece of furniture in your house, it shouldn’t be packed away and only taken out when it’s time to visit the vet. This leads to a negative and painful association for cats.
To create a better relationship between your car and her carrier, keep it out. It doesn’t have to be in the center of the room, but she should be able to access it throughout her day. The closet floor or a corner of the room are great places to keep a crate.
- Create a Space Your Cat Wants to Go
Create a Lounge
Purchase a crate bed or lay down some bedding inside your cat’s crate. Put one of your pajama shirts or a towel in there so it smells like her favorite person. You can also add a little catnip, a pheromone spray, or a few of her favorite toys to make it more appealing.
Treat Your Cat to Her Carrier
If you really want your cat to love her carrier, put a few treats in it from time to time. Then feed her in it after she gets the hang of it.
- Every Now and Then Close the Door
When your cat is curled up inside her crate, go ahead and close the door from time to time. Give her extra treats when you do this and do not make it into a big deal. You can increase the amount of time she’s in there slowly and steadily.
You should soon find your cat voluntarily going into her crate for a catnap or a little privacy. Over time, she should begin to feel like her crate is her bedroom.
How to Properly Put Your Cat into Her Carrier
When you need to bring your kitty to the vet, you want to know how to get your cat in the carrier without making her panic or creating a struggle. If your cat is accustomed to her carrier, you’re most the way there!
- Placing your cat in her carrier should be a gentle process, and you should feel confident as you handle your cat and put her in. Do not wait until the morning of your vet visit to practice this.
- Stand your carrier on its butt, so the door you’re placing her in faces the ceiling. Have another person hold the carrier steady or place it against the corner of the room.
- Pick up your cat by scooping up her hind legs and gently holding her chest just below her front legs. If you’re walking from one room to another with her, hold her tightly against your chest.
- Slowly lower your cat into the carrier, hind legs, first. Once she’s all the way in, you can close the door, grab the handle, and steadily lower the carrier onto its base (handle up).
- When you lift the carrier off the floor, do so slowly. Do not swing the carrier and hold it as steadily as your cat. Place your cat in the car and buckle the carrier in. Position the carrier to allow for the most airflow.
When it comes to your cat’s carrier, there’s no need to get carried away with worry or force your cat into the crate. The more time you have to get your cat used to the carrier, the better. End the cycle of kitty carrier trauma with the right carrier, placed where your cat can curl up and relax in the comfort of her private room.
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