Trying to coax your kitty into a pet carrier is daunting to say the least. Pretty much all cats are resistant to getting inside a carrier, and I can’t really blame them.
However, getting your cat into a carrier is a necessary part of life as a pet owner. Here are a few tips on how to make it as easy as possible.
Since cats have a keen sense of smell, it’s a no-brainer that unfamiliar smells will make them uneasy. Try creating a comfortable and familiar environment for them by placing their favorite blanket or other bedding inside the carrier, along with a favorite toy and treats. You could also put one of your shirts inside, because your scent is a source of comfort for your cat.
To help your cat get used to traveling in the carrier, try testing it out on short rides that don’t involve anything scary (like a trip to the vet!). Once you get home, make sure you reward your feline friend with a treat.
You don’t even need to go anywhere. Just a short trip around the neighborhood will work fine. As your cat gets used to these short trips, you can start extending the travel time to see how they do.
I can’t stress this one enough! All too often, we wait until the last minute because we know that just the sound of the pet carrier can instill fear and anxiety in our cats. But waiting until the last minute can add extra stress to the situation.
Instead, make sure you give yourself enough time so that you can be calm and patient while negotiating your pet into the carrier.
Everybody likes treats, right? Giving your cat treats will help your cat equate the carrier with their favorite treats, creating a positive association with the carrier. Place treats inside and encourage your cat to explore on their own, and then feed them high-value treats while they are inside.
If you only bring out the carrier when it’s time to travel or go somewhere stressful, like the vet, cats will naturally become anxious at the sight of it.
If possible, the best way to make sure that your cat is not scared, overwhelmed, or stressed by the carrier is to leave it out year round with the door open. Make it part of their regular environment in the living room, bedroom, or anywhere else they spend a lot of time.