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June 06, 2021 4 min read

A per a recent survey, around 57% of the pet owners avoid getting their cat to the vet because of the anxiety that they and their cats face about the cat carrier. Even the sweetest and mildest cat can become a bit difficult when it’s the time to go to the vet's office.

Other reasons of your feline friend being scared of the carrier can range from new experience, new places or new people. We have seen cats who will scamper away when they see that a carrier is being taken out from the closet. They will often fight you and sometimes even bite to prevent themselves being put into the carrier.

In some cases, the cats have only bad associations with plastic and metal devices which will repel them and no matter what you do it is virtually impossible to get them near the carrier let alone getting into it.

While it’s definitely not easy, you can do it. The right technique will not only improve your cat’s vet care but will also be easier and less stressful for everybody.

Below are some of the ways which will make the process of get the cat into the carrier much easier.

  • Create a Positive Association:

The first step of this process is to make the cat comfortable by allowing them to build a positive association with the carrier. Place the carrier in Cat’s favorite place or a room where they like to relax. Put a familiar blanket that smells of you near the carrier, maybe you can use one of your sweatshirts as a bedding as your scent will be a comforting factor for your furry friend. Pop some treats in the carrier everyday until your feline is happy to go inside the carrier by themselves.

The trick here is to negate the negative emotions which the cat has with the carrier and create a positive one so that the cat is happy & joyful when they see the carrier.

  • Encourage Investigation:

This again is a part of making the cat familiar with the carrier. Wash & dry the carrier to make sure that it does not have any chemical smell which your feline might find offensive. Place the carrier in plain sight within her reach and leave the door open. Let them go and investigate this new device on her own time and do not push her to do so.

Slowly and steadily, they will become familiar with the carrier and it will not be struggle anymore to get her into the carrier when required.

  • The Quick Method:

The methods mentioned above are long term strategies and it will take time to show results but there might be a situation wherein you do not have so much time and you have to get the cat in the carrier for a vet’s appointment or some other urgency.

In this case use the following method –

  • Place the carrier on it end with its door open and pointing to the ceiling.
  • Gently wrap your cat in a towel with only their head sticking out and make sure that it is tight enough to confine her limbs.
  • Putting the tail end first, lower the towel wrapped cat into the carrier and shut the door. Don’t try to remove the towel, they will unwarp themselves.

How to keep the Cat Calm

Now that you have got your cat into the carrier and have left for the vet, keeping your cat calm is also an essential part which might be a challenge especially if you have used the quick method. Here are some tips to help calm your anxious cat.

  • Get you car familiar with your car by taking them for a ride around the block somedays before the actual appointment.
  • Use a synthetic cat pheromone to spritz a blanket and place it inside the carrier which travelling
  • You must stay in the sight of your cat to give them an assurance that they are not alone in this journey and have you as their companion.
  • You can also keep talking to her during the journey and keep them distracted.
  • Once you reach the vet, speak to her in a soothing voice, open the door, place one hand over her head and wrap your other hand around her body.
  • Restrain her forepaws to keep her from scratching.
  • Have the veterinary assistant help you to remove her from the carrier.

These are some of the pointers which can be really helpful in getting your cat in the carrier and keeping them calm. But you must remember that this is a long process and the result will depend on the individual cat. You need to pay attention to the body language and reactions of the cat and don’t rush the process. The results will make the life easier and safer for both the cat and the pet parent.

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