Unlike dogs, cats are seldom chained and are regarded as being synonymous with words like ‘independent’ and ‘freedom’. Nothing endears a cat more to its owner than watching it explore the surroundings independently and even bring back an insect or two that it might have managed to subdue. Given the cat’s natural love of movement, is it truly difficult to understand why cats hate being put in a carrier?
Probably cats detest being put in a carrier because it restricts their movement and confines them within a limited space. However, some occasions do require you to carry your cat in a carrier, like taking your cat to the vet or going on a shopping spree. Such situations are usually a big struggle both for the owner as also the feline, but there are ways of diffusing the tension.
Difficult though it might be to get your cat in a carrier, the feat is definitely not impossible, especially if you observe the following steps.
Choose an Appropriate Carrier
Cat owners often make the mistake of carrying their cats around in a laundry basket, vegetable basket or worse still, a pillow case, not realizing that this further traumatizes the cat. A better option would be to invest in a proper cat carrier which has been designed bearing in mind the fact that it is meant to carry cats while inflicting minimal trauma.
Cat carriers could be hard-sided or soft-sided, and irrespective of whichever you choose, you must ensure that it has two openings – one on top and one on the side. Ideally, a carrier should be an assembly of multiple parts so that it can be dismantled easily and should be sturdy enough to withstand the feline’s onslaught.
Acclimatize Your Cat to the Carrier
This step is probably the longest in terms of duration but is also the most important. Acclimatizing your cat to the carrier is imperative if you are to avoid a bloodbath at a later stage and can be accomplished through the following steps:
- Leave the carrier out and about on the floor with its door open so that your feline companion can enter and exit without feeling threatened.
- Placing the carrier in the cat’s favorite spot is also a good way of alleviating fear.
- Feeding your cat in the carrier could lessen some of the cat’s animosity and you can take things a step further by placing treats of the cat within the carrier compartment.
- Wipe the carrier with a soothing spray so that it exudes a calming effect.
- Only when your cat chooses to use the carrier as a hiding place should you try closing the door. But initially the closure should be for a short time-span which can be lengthened depending on the comfort level of the feline.
Conditioning could take anywhere between a few weeks to months and that is why this process should be started as early as possible.
Putting Your Cat in the Carrier
Assuming that your cat has still not taken to its carrier and you need to visit the vet, following are the steps you must take to ensure that it remains safe and comfortable within:
- Spread a towel at the bottom so that if your cat urinates out of fear or anger, it would be absorbed and spare the cat a wet feeling.
- While lowering the cat into the carrier, ensure that you put them in bottom and hind-legs first, so that they do not feel as though they are being cornered.
- Having secured the latch, you must ensure that the carrier is well-balanced with its bottom resting firmly on the floor of the vehicle or your lap.
Patience and calmness are essential requisites when it comes to getting your cat into a carrier. It is indeed an eternal struggle but one that can be overcome given time, a cool temperament and plenty of tasty treats.