It’s very important to use a carrier when traveling with your cat to keep them safe. Understandably, not every cat enjoys spending time in the carrier, which can make it challenging to get your cat securely in your carrier.
You may have to get creative to help get your furry friend in the carrier and get on the road. Here are some tips to help get your cat into their carrier without the extra stress.
Choose the appropriate carrier for your cat.
It’s very important to make sure the carrier you choose is an appropriate choice for your cat’s size. If it’s too small, it can increase your cat’s stress levels.
Some cats will feel comfy in a soft-sided carrier, but hard-sided carriers typically provide more space and security. Your cat needs to be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in the carrier, and you may need to measure them to find the right size.
You should also think about the level of stress at the vet end of the journey. Carriers with a single door and no other entry point often mean vets have to resort to pulling or tipping your cat out of the carrier, which is bound to stress them out and make it worse next time. Find a carrier that allows your vet to safely access your cat, such as a carrier with a removable roof.
If you have a kitten, know that you’ll need to upgrade your carrier as they get older.
Make the carrier extra comfy and inviting.
To reduce stress, you’ll want to make the carrier a place that’s cozy and inviting. Put one of your cat’s favorite blankets or beds inside to make it feel and smell more familiar and give them a soft place to curl up.
You may also want to try placing something with your scent inside, like a favorite shirt, as this can help them feel more comfortable.
Use treats to lure your cat in.
If your cat is hesitant to go into the carrier, try placing a few of their favorite treats inside. Cats are very food-motivated, so this may entice them to go into the carrier on their own. This will also help your cat associate the carrier with a positive reward, which will be helpful for future trips.
Cover the carrier with a blanket while you’re on the go.
Cats are easily stressed out by changes in their environment. Being in a car or on an airplane is a highly stimulating environment for a cat, with new sights, sounds, and smells that can leave them feeling overwhelmed. Putting a comfy blanket over the top of the carrier can help your cat feel much more comfortable.
Open the carrier face up and lower your cat in gently.
If your cat won’t go into their carrier willingly, you may need to give them a little bit of extra help. Start by placing the carrier so the opening is facing the ceiling. This way, you’ll have more control to lower your cat in. Then, make sure to place them in the carrier feet first instead of head first. This will reduce feelings of being trapped.
Put your cat in backwards
One trick that you might have seen vets doing is putting your cat in backwards. Although this seems counter-intuitive, it often works! The cat can’t see what’s happening and is often surprised into going into the carrier.
Pheromone sprays and other treatments can help reduce anxious behavior.
If your cat gets stressed out every single time you travel, talk to your vet. They may be able to recommend a medical treatment to help your cat relax. Pheromone sprays are available over the counter and can help your cat feel more at home in their carrier- just make sure you spray them at least 20minutes before putting your cat into the carrier, to allow the smell of the alcohol carrier to dissipate. There are also prescription medications that will reduce anxiety and help your cat sleep.
Traveling with your cat can be a stressful experience, but with practice, you and your pet will get more comfortable with the carrier.