Befriending the Cat Carrier
My name is Blizzy and I am a lovely feline here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter. I am very excited for the day, (will it be today?!?!?), when my new family walks in the shelter door and chooses me for their new lifetime companion. I don’t, however, look forward to the cat carrier for the ride home. I actually don’t know any cats who care for that experience but these tips for pet parents will make the travel experience more pleasant for your fur balls.
Often times the stress of just seeing a cat carrier can set many cats off and it becomes a battle of wit and patience coax a cat into it. If it were an emergency and you were trying to leave the house in a hurry, good luck. So the best practice is just that, to practice and allow your cat to become well-adjusted to the carrier.
Cats fear confinement so the focus should be on making it as positive an experience as possible, and not a a major stressor for you and your cat. Simple conditioning such as placing an open carrier in your home, accessible to your cat but not amidst heavy traffic, can often create huge changes in your cat’s stress reaction to the carrier.
Place your cat’s bedding in the carrier to make it enticing and comfortable. Sprinkle catnip on the bedding and/or place favorite cat toys upon it, increasing the potential for your cat to derive a pleasant association from the carrier. Offer your cat special treats or small meals in the carrier as well.
Assuring that your carrier is large enough for your cat is also important. Make sure your cat has ample room to stand and to turn around inside of it. Also for longer car trips the carrier will need to accommodate a litter box and water bowl.
Using the carrier only for delivering your cat to and from veterinarian appointments is a sure way of conditioning your cat to dislike the carrier. Your carrier-skittish kitty would benefit from short trips which end with a yummy treat back at home (instead of where they get poked and handled by a stranger).
Use your judgement though, if you have a cat that is just normally fearful, short joy rides may not make a difference and might just simply stress your cat out regardless of where you end up. Although you likely won’t ever condition your cat to love being in a carrier, you can reduce the stress of the event through making it less foreign and scary.
Personally, I am prepared to brave the challenges of being in a cat carrier if it means that I will be heading toward my new forever home. I am a gorgeous and homeless 5 year young easy going girl who enjoys exploring the Cat Castle in between long naps.
I don’t care much for the company of other cats but can live with a dog or two! I am a great office cat too and make sure my staff don’t get lonely, but make sure you check drawers before closing them as I like to sneak into them!
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.