How to get cats into a carrier

Cats are usually happiest in a familiar environment, content to roam the same house or neighborhood day after day. But there are times when they need a little change of scenery, and transporting them into a carrier will help them get there.

Carrying cats in a carrier temporarily is necessary for transport. But how can you make your pet feel safe inside?
Carrying cats in a carrier temporarily is necessary for transport. But how can you make your pet feel safe inside?  © Collage: IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU & JAM STA ROSA / AFP AFP

Ahead of a vacation or a vet appointment, furry felines might need some convincing to leave their usual habitat. Yet, sometimes new environments tend to stress them out, and they may need a little nudge.

If you aren't one of those people who have trained their cat to walk on a leash, cat carriers are usually your best option to get your pet from A to B - though that still doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

"Not so fast," meows the kitten, resisting fiercely as you try to maneuver it into the transportation box.

According to veterinarian Tina Hölscher, the most important thing when trying to get a cat into its carrier is keeping calm.

You should start feeding the cat inside the box a few days before you intend to use it, she recommends. In creating a positive experience, the cat will begin to like the carrier, the expert says.

"On the day of departure, also feed the cat inside the box, and once it's inside, close the door," says Hölscher.

Getting cats into a carrier can prove to be tricky business

The vet also recommends lining the carrier with a slip-resistant mat – for example, a doormat – which will improve the cat's sense of security.

For the same reason, you shouldn't stuff the box with too many toys, as they tend to roll around during the journey, which might upset your pet, according to Hölscher.

During the drive, cover the carrier with a blanket, as cats feel safer in the darkness, says the vet.

And although it might seem like a good idea, you should avoid talking to the animal while on the road.

"Reassuring chatter from the owner is useless," says Hölscher.

It's best to leave the cat alone and concentrate on taking curves as smoothly as possible, to minimize further stress.

Cover photo: Collage: IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU & JAM STA ROSA / AFP AFP

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