If you are a cat owner, there is a high possibility that you own a cat carrier. A cat carrier is an extremely important item for every cat owner. They come in very handy when taking your cat to the vet or to a short trip. Without a proper cat carrier, your cat may face various dangers outside the home. Even, there are stories that cats have escaped or ran away when they were taken to the vet. That’s why it is very important for you to have a decent cat carrier backpack.
But, a cat carrier is not really your cat’s best friend. Don’t be surprised if you find your cat is using anything to not get into the carrier, including her teeth and claws. By natural instinct, cats are not very fond of traveling and leaving their comfort zone. So, they associate the pet carrier purse as something that makes them nervous and uncomfortable. As a result, you may find it very difficult putting your cat in a cat carrier. However, there are certain tips with which you can bypass this problem and make your cat friendly towards her carrier.
In this article, I’ll share my top secret tips for you to know how to put a cat in a carrier. So, let’s get started.
Step 1: Adjusting your cat to her carrier
Start the adjusting process as soon as you get the carrier:
The earlier your cat gets comfortable with a carrier, the better. It is often hard to adjust an older cat to her carrier. That’s why my first tip for you is to start the adjusting process at the much early stage of your cat’s life as possible. Kitten tends to be more adaptable than older cats. So, bring a carrier home when your cat is still a kitten and start adjusting her to it.
- Keep in mind that this step cannot be done overnight. It may take up to several weeks to a couple of months.
Keep the carrier accessible to your cat at all times:
If you only bring out the carrier out of storage room when you are going to take your cat outside, your cat will start to fear it and associate the carrier with something fearful. That’s why my tip is to always keep the carrier accessible to your cat. That way, your cat will get adjusted to the presence of it.
- Keep the carrier door open so that your cat can enter and exit the carrier as she pleases.
Put the carrier in her favorite place:
Even with unlimited access, the cat may simply reject to get near the carrier if it is placed in somewhere the cat doesn’t like. So, find your cat’s favorite spot and place the carrier there. It will increase the possibility of your cat entering the carrier.
- Places by windows where there are a lot of sunlight tend to be cats’ favorite spots.
Make the carrier exciting for her:
If the carrier seems to be a boring place, your cat won’t go near it. So, make it exciting for her. Your cat should feel comfort inside and get thrilled thinking about it. The trick is to make the carrier smell familiar to her. Here are some pro tips:
- Use cat pheromones inside the carrier
- Keep enough catnips, treats, kibbles into the carrier to make it exciting for your cat.
- A good tip is to keep her favorite toys inside the carrier.
Feed her inside the carrier:
If your cat seems to be a little bit comfort around her carrier, it is high time to start feeding your cat inside the carrier. If she feels uncomfortable, you don’t have to place the food bowl inside the carrier but near the carrier.
- First, keep the food bowl few feet away from the carrier. As your cat gets more adjusted, decrease the distance over time.
- After some time, your cat will be willing to eat inside the carrier. At this point, feed your cat regularly inside the carrier.
- Don’t watch your cat while she is eating. She may think you will close the door when she enters the carrier. So, stay far away from your cat and the carrier.
It’s time to practice closing the door:
Don’t even to think to start this step if your cat is not comfortable around the carrier. Being inside the carrier may feel like being trapped for your cat. So, you need to be patient in this step. When she gets into the carrier, close the door briefly, immediately give her a treat and open the door.
- Don’t practice this step if your cat is eating.
- When starting, keep the door closed only for a few seconds. Increase the time gradually. Give your cat a treat every time. It will encourage her to be in the carrier.
- Only give the treat if your cat doesn’t become upset. If your cat seems to be upset every time you close the door, decrease the closing time.
Step 2: It’s time to put the cat in carrier:
Place a towel or newspaper on the bottom of the carrier:
At first, when you are putting your cat in the carrier, she might feel nervous and urinate. An additional towel or newspaper will absorb that urinate and not spoil the carrier. this way, your cat won’t be in a soil spot too. It is better if you can spray some cat pheromone on the towel before placing it. If you can’t find a pheromone, use a towel on which your cat usually sleeps.
Place the carrier:
There are different types of carriers with different mechanisms to load the cat. After testing a lot of carriers, I have found that hard-sided carrier that has front or top loading mechanism tend to do better when putting your cat in a carrier. if your carrier has front load mechanism, place it on its end so the front side faces the ceiling. Now, simply grab your cat and place her gently inside the carrier. This process is relatively easy and less stressful for the cat than other ones.
- A good tip is to place the carrier against a wall for additional support when putting your cat in the carrier. it will prevent the carrier from falling over.
Learn to pick up your cat:
Picking up your cat is the first step before placing her in the carrier. So, if you mess this up, your cat will become nervous even before entering the carrier. So, keep close attention in mind. The best way to pick up cat is wrapping on hand over her hind legs while placing the other hand under her chest. This is by far, the easiest and safest way to pick up cat without making them nervous.
- You should place the hind legs against your chess while the rest of the body is facing away from the chest.
- If your cat scratches or bites, use a thick cloth to pick her up.
Placing your cat in the carrier:
The hind legs should go first in the carrier then the rest of the body. By placing your cat in this way, she will not feel like being forced to get into the carrier. it will be a less stressful experience for her. If she starts to struggle or wants to come out, get her out, give her some time to get calm and try again. Remember, patience is the key!
Close the door:
After successfully placing your cat in the carrier, it’s time to close the door. Secure the door with latches and place it firmly on its bottom. Look for your cat’s behavior. If everything seems normal, give your cat a treat for being a good girl.
- If you observe any unnatural behavior such as biting, struggling, scratching etc. then free your cat immediately and give her time to calm down.
Make the carrier safer for your cat:
Covering the carrier with a pillowcase or towel is a final touch that will make it friendlier to your cat. By doing this, your cat will feel safer inside the carrier. it will also make her snug and comfortable. This tip also works when going on a trip outside the house. By covering the carrier, your cat won’t feel she is moving at all.
- If it is a hot day, covering the carrier may not be a good idea.
So, these are the main two steps for putting your cat in a carrier. These steps should work whether your cat is aggressive or skittish.
Here are some bonus tips for making your nervous cat comfortable inside her carrier:
Keep the carrier clean:
No one wants to go to a dirty home. Same applies to cats. If the carrier is dirty, your cat will not be thrilled to go inside. So, always keep the carrier clean and ready for your cat. If there had been any accident (pee, poop) before, clean it thoroughly. Make sure the inside smells nice and fresh.
- When not using the carrier, store it in a clean place. it is better if you can cover it with a cloth so that dust won’t builds up on the carrier. clean the carrier before keeping it in your store room. Also, air out the carrier one day before using it again.
- Make sure there are no sharp objects or edges inside the carrier that may harm your cat. Most of the carriers these days are built with heavy duty plastic. But, even the best material can wear out with time. So, always check for harmful objects inside the carrier before placing your cat.
- Check the door if it is closing properly before placing your kitty. Also, test if the security latches are working properly. It is super important to make sure your cat can’t escape on her own from the carrier.
Make sure the carrier is perfect for your cat:
Getting the best carrier for your cat is the first thing you need to do before trying to get your cat in the carrier. there are different types of cat carriers in the market each offering different features. Do thorough research online and check which carrier will best suit your cat. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying a carrier:
- Make sure there is enough space inside the carrier for your cat to move around. Nothing can be worse than a congested carrier.
- Ventilation is super important for your cat. Check if the carrier has enough ventilation holes and mesh panels on each side.
- The third thing to look for is security. You need a carrier that can hold your cat even while you are not supervising it. Most of the carriers these days come with super security measure like security latches, inside hook to attach with collar and so on.
- There should be some kind of removable soft pad inside the carrier to make it comfortable for your cat. You can also place an additional towel or soft cloth too.
Always be patient with your cat:
Being pateint is the most important thing to achieve when you are trying to learn how to put a cat in a carrier. Training a cat to get comfortable inside a carrier is not an easy thing to do. It is a very big step for your cat. Remember, your cat isn’t even friendly to a carrier in the first place by natural instinct. So, be patient. It is not an impossible thing to do, but it takes time.
The training process may last from a few weeks to several months. It really depends on the nature of your cat. Some cats need more time than others. Don’t give up. Keep on trying. Don’t be frustrated if your cat refuses to go inside the carrier. Just start again the next day. Treat her if she behaves well. Do not ever scold her if she refuses to go. Being frustrated will only make it much harder to accomplish.
Always keep a handful of your cat’s favorite treats:
Cats are by instinct lazy creatures. They do not feel any urge to please their master, unlike a dog. So, to motivate them while training, you should always keep your cat’s favorite treat beside you. Treats work great for motivating your cat to do something.
When your cat successfully enters the carrier and keep calm inside it, treat her. This will encourage her to do the same every time. Giving your cat treats makes this process hundred times easier.
So, these are my top secret tips for learning how to put a cat in a carrier. Well, they are not secret anymore! Implement these tips on your cat and let me know how it goes in the comment section below!