Cats generally hate pet carriers. After all, nothing good ever comes from trips taken in a pet carrier. In fact, they wind up at the vet, more often than not, after being tricked into a pet carrier. It's no wonder that they hate it! Unfortunately, every cat will have to take a ride in a pet carrier at least a few times in their life. Here's how to get a cat into a pet carrier without either of you getting hurt:
- Choose the right carrier. A large, hard-sided carrier is much better than a tiny one with soft sides. Make sure the carrier you choose is large enough for the cat, especially if your cat is on the large side or you have two cats who will be riding in the same pet carrier. Carriers with hard sides won't be squished down on your cat and are much safer in the event of a car accident or other event. Avoid a cardboard pet carrier if at all possible.
- Bring the carrier out early. Give your cat time to get used to the carrier rather than bringing it out the morning of their next vet visit. Your cat may even decide that it makes a nice spot to nap, which makes it much easier to get a cat into a pet carrier when the time comes. Leave the pet carrier out where they can touch it and climb all over it for at least a week, so it won't be so unfamiliar to them.
- Make the carrier comfortable for them. Place a soft towel and a treat inside the carrier. The towel gives something for their claws to grip so that they aren't sliding around on the plastic while you're driving. Plus, it will absorb any urine; a wet cat carrier makes for a very unpleasant ride for both you and your cat.
- Remain calm. When it's time to get a cat into a pet carrier, speak in a calm, soothing voice to avoid upsetting your cat. Approach them with a treat, gently pick them up, and place them in the cat carrier. Start getting your cat in the carrier well in advance of the time you must leave the house. If the cat struggles, let him go and try again in ten minutes or so.
- Try other methods. If your cat won't allow you to simply pick him up and place him in the cat carrier, you may need to try more forceful methods, though be aware that this will make your cat stressed out and aggressive. Place the cat carrier on its end, with the opening facing the ceiling. Pick up your cat, and tilt the cat down so that when he is released, the only place he can go is into the carrier, tail first. Then close the door and secure the latch. Then slowly lower the cat carrier down so that its bottom rests on the floor. This method works much better if you have two people, one to position the carrier and one to hold the cat.
Getting a cat into a pet carrier can be a harrowing experience, but if you plan to take your cat anywhere, it must be done. Cats are not safe when let loose inside a vehicle. They could wedge themselves under the seat, or worse, under your pedals. Though many cats hate being placed in a cat carrier, with enough advance planning the process can go rather smoothly.