How to familiarize your cat with the cat carrier.
1. Get the right cat carrier.
A good carrier has the following features:
- Hard-sided shell.
- At least one exit/door and should be able to remove the top of the carrier.
- Large enough for the cat to stand up and turn around.
- Easy to clean surfaces.
2. Make the cat carrier a part of your furniture.
Cats will associate negative feeling towards the cat carrier if its only taken out when they visit the veterinarian. Carriers should become furniture and place in areas cats enjoy hanging out in.
3. Remodel the cat carrier.
When the carrier become furniture, we should remodel for everyday use.
- Remove the front door.
- Place an item of clothing scented with your smell, to help reduce stress.
- The slow introduction of food around the open carrier, gradually approach the food into the carrier.
- Encourage play in and around the carrier. Cats caught up in play will often chase their favorite toys or ball into the carrier.
4. What if your cat truly hates their carrier?
Reintroduce the carrier piece by piece. Disassemble and encourage them to play, sleep, and eat in and around each piece. Once they seem comfortable, reassemble the carrier slowly and continue to encourage activity.
5. Step up the amount of time your cat spends in his crate.
Once your cat is comfortable spending time in the open carrier, occasionally try to close the door and then open it again, increasing the time the door is closed every time. After opening the door, give a treat to reinforce a positive experience.
Written by Monica Blanchard, RVT