Acclimating Your Cat to a Carrier

There are few cats who enjoy being placed into their carrier. This makes sense; most are only in a carrier for a trip to the veterinarian’s office where they are surrounded by strange animals and people, strong odors, and physically handled. It doesn’t take a cat long to realize that being in a carrier means that unpleasant things are coming. But a few positive interactions with the carrier at home can make transporting your cat much less stressful for both of you.

Start by leaving the carrier out and open. Put a towel or t-shirt with your scent in the carrier to make it cozy. Place it near your cat’s favorite sleeping spot (though not so close that your cat avoids the spot) or an area your cat passes through frequently. Curiosity is likely to lead to your cat investigating the carrier. Occasionally put a treat or two in the carrier for your cat to find.

When your cat is showing no apprehension about the carrier try placing the cat’s food in the carrier. Don’t close the cat in but place the bowl near the back of the carrier so that the cat needs to enter completely.

Periodically confine your cat to the carrier once you are sure that your cat doesn’t view it as a scary place. Do not keep the cat in the carrier for prolonged periods of time; up to about 15 minutes should be fine. Sprinkle some catnip or treats in the carrier so your cat will eventually consider the confinement an enjoyable experience. Keep the carrier near you or the cat’s favorite place in the house; a feeling of isolation may stress the cat and undo all of the training you have accomplished. It is a good idea to do this every once in a while throughout your cat’s life in order to maintain your cat’s feeling of security in the carrier.



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