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Would you rather your cat’s trips in the car and to the vet were less stressful?
Teaching them to love their carrier is the first step. We can condition cats to love their carriers as a place of comfort and calm enjoyment and not the frenzied fight that you may usually have on your hands.
To ensure that a carrier brings out feelings of rest and reassurance instead of nervous apprehension, start with a proper introduction, or reintroduction, of it as a piece of furniture in your home.
Attract your cat to it with treat trails, comfortable bedding, feline pheromones (Feliway), and favourite toys.
Simply leave the carrier out to allow your cat to investigate it at their own pace. The more your cat decides to go in on their own, the easier it will be to encourage them to enter it when it’s necessary for travel.
You can use food or toys as a lure or simply use your ‘target’ by placing your hand in the carrier and waiting for your cat to investigate (refer to our cat targeting info sheet).
Make sure you reward for every little step.
Practice this lots and lots of times so it becomes a fun game to play with your cat.
Go at your cat’s pace. Don’t rush them!
Eventually you will be able to make the motion without the treat in your hand and also use a verbal cue.
Tips for Carrying the Carrier
Always carry the carrier close to your body. Don’t allow the carrier to swing as this can be very disconcerting for cats. Keep all sides level so your cat remains balanced.
Place the carrier in an area of the car with minimal movement such as the foot well behind the front seat.
Minimize your cat’s view out of the carrier by covering it with a towel, leaving only one end open.
When at the vet’s ask to go straight into a consult room if possible, to avoid your cat waiting in a room with dogs or other cats.