3 min.

Cat about town: a cat and its carrier

Does your cat see its carrier as a torture chamber? Does he go into hiding every time you have to go to the vet? And, once you finally catch your little feline, does a gladiator-style battle ensue with your cat coming out victorious thanks to an arsenal of bizarre tactics that he employs to avoid entering the cage? Well, here are a few simple tips that will keep you and, more importantly, your beloved cat, from losing your proverbial cool.

One size doesn’t fit all

Let’s start by choosing the carrier. First things first, your cat must be able to stand up easily on all fours inside. Also, look for a cage that has doors on the front and the top. The door on top should be able to come off quickly and easily. It doesn’t matter if your carrier is made of fabric or plastic, but those made of fabric often have flaps that you can put over the ventilation windows, which can come in handy in certain situations.

Your cat’s home away from home

If the only time your cat sees the carrier is when he’s about to be stuffed inside and whisked off to the vet, not wanting to hop on in is pretty understandable. That’s why it’s a good idea to leave the carrier out at all times and to add personal touches like a favourite blanket. You can also give your cat the occasional treat inside the carrier or even go so far as to feed it there. That way, your cat will stop seeing the carrier as a torture chamber and will, instead, view it as a safe and pleasant space where each visit offers a new reward.

If your cat still resists, start by putting treats or food closer and closer to the carrier each time, respecting your cat’s rhythm and ability to embrace change. This can take anywhere from three hours to three weeks. There are many advantages to this method. Your cat will stop seeing the carrier as a hostile environment and will instead see it as a warm and welcoming space. This will play a big role in reducing its anxiety during outings because instead of triggering distress, the carrier will become your cat’s home away from home. It’s possible that your cat already sees his current carrier as an unpleasant place. Even though it’s possible to change this perception with time, it may be best to replace it with a new carrier in a slightly different style so that you can start fresh.

The techniques recommended here will also prevent you from engaging in an epic battle the next time you want to put your cat in its carrier. Because your kitty will be used to going inside for daily treats, all you have to do is toss a treat inside when it’s time to go to the vet, and your cat will stroll on in without a care in the world. Then you can close the door of the carrier and the deed is done. Try not to alter your routine too much on the day of your veterinarian appointment: even the smallest of changes can put your cat on high alert and make him see the treat as a trick in disguise. Even slipping on your shoes or grabbing your coat before putting the treat in the carrier can tip your cat off, and he may stop being as cooperative as he usually is.

So there you have it! With these tips, you can finally say goodbye to the stress and struggles that often go hand-in-hand with vet visits. Now all you need to do is convince your cat that getting his temperature taken is for his own good. Good luck!