How to get a cat into a carrier
Often, the worst part about visiting the vet is not the appointment itself but the preparation required for it. When dealing with pet cats, things can get especially hairy. Felines are headstrong, independent and stubborn. So, if they don’t fancy volunteering for a ride in that strange plastic carrier, it’s time to buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
As vet visits are stressful for everybody, it’s important for cats and their owners to reach agreement quickly. What’s the easiest way to get your cat into their cat carrier? Is it reasonable to lure them in with tricks and treats? Or, is a ‘hands-on’ approach the best option? Let’s investigate how to get a cat into a carrier calmly and safely. Choosing one of the best cat carriers is always the first step when it comes to traveling with your cat!
Playing the Long Game – Getting a cat used to cat carriers
The best way to prevent negative responses to the presence or sight of a carrier is early conditioning. This means if you become the owner of a new cat, be ready to play the long game. As you know you’ll need to use a pet carrier someday, it’s convenient to keep one around the house.
Whatever you do, don’t hide it out of sight. Leave it in plain view, in areas your cat likes to frequent. The goal is to make the carrier such a common sight that it no longer seems scary or unfamiliar to your pet. If you can turn it into a temporary bed – with blankets and toys – that’s even better.
When it’s time to visit the vet, your cat hopefully won’t hesitate to hop in the box. They might even wander in without any prompting. There should be no stress or irritation for your furry friend; well until they realize where they are headed.
Managing Your Cat’s Fear Response when it comes to getting in a cat carrier
It’s not always possible, of course, to play the long game. If a cat isn’t accustomed to the sight or feel of a carrier when young, they’re likely going to freak out if you try to put them inside one. So, you’ve got to find practical ways to manage their fear response. Firstly, don’t make it a big deal. If you stay calm and cool, your cat won’t expect danger.
Many owners have a change of demeanor when it’s time to put their cat in a carrier. They steel themselves for a fight. It’s much better to approach your pet as if nothing unusual is happening. Pick them up. Give them a stroke. Look busy with other things. Gently move toward the container. Behave as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.
The Best Fight Is No Fight At All
If your cat knows something is amiss, do not chase, swipe or grab. It’ll reinforce the fear response. Wait until you can pick them up calmly. You may need to lure them with treats or the promise of a belly rub. Once again, you must not grab. Wait until they allow you to pick them up. Don’t run straight to the carrier when it happens.
Stay with them for a while, as you might on any other day. Stroke their fur to help them feel calm and safe. Start moving slowly towards the carrier. If possible, approach backward so your cat doesn’t focus on the container. To get them inside, move purposefully but without jerky or panicked motions. Turn. Lower your arms. Gently push them inside. Latch the door.
How to Keep Your Cat Calm & Comfy in the cat carrier
Even if your cat is stoic and stony-faced, they are bound to feel fearful inside a carrier. To ensure they stay comfortable, give them a familiar item. The best option is a blanket, towel or piece of bedding that smells of home. It will be a source of familiarity and security as they move through strange sights, smells and sounds.
It will also pad the sides of the carrier and allow them to sit and lie comfortably. The roomier the carrier, the more softness it requires. If there’s any chance of your cat sliding around, line the walls with soft bedding and towels. Once they’re a little calmer, pass some treats through the bars. Poke your fingers through. Touch them. Reinforce your presence.
Sometimes, getting your pet into a carrier will feel like a major battle. It’s important to remember that, just like you, your cat can be stubborn. They may behave like royalty, but they are vulnerable. And they trust you. So, keep this trust by showing them you mean no harm, even when it’s time to visit the vet.
Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.