How to Train Your Cat to a Carrier

We recently had an owner lose their beloved cat in our parking lot (it was not in a carrier & jumped out of their arms).  This is of course very upsetting which has prompted us to encourage that all cat owner’s purchase an appropriate carrier (or come & see us as we have plenty that are available to borrow)!  I know what you’re thinking, “my cat hates the carrier” and “how am I supposed to get them in it”?

Lucky for you, we have lots of experience and lots of helpful hints!

  1. Always transport your cat in a carrier – this is the best way to keep them safe both in the vehicle and in the clinic.
  2. Each cat should have their own carrier – they may be BFFs at home, but they can quickly turn into (temporary) enemies in a stressful situation.
  3.  Absorbable bedding – this, of course, provides comfort, but also helps make clean up easier if they have an unexpected accident. Even the most well-behaved kitties can have motion sickness or other accidents while travelling.
  4. Choose the correct style – “top loading” options allow for easily loading and easy access. An easily removable lid allow us to get them out in a non-stressful way or better yet, allows them to stay in the carrier while the veterinarian performs the exam.
  5. Allow them to explore – leaving the carrier open & accessible at home allows them to check it out and become comfortable with it. Many owners leave the carrier out all of the time with comfy bedding and it actually turns into a safe haven for them – an alternative to a cat bed!
  6. Spray with facial pheromones – these products mimic “happy cat behaviour” and provides them with additional comfort/calmness. Use 10-15 minutes before travel for best results.  Speak with one of our trained staff members for more details.
  7. Secure in the vehicle – keep the carrier either on the seat (if buckled in) or better yet, on the floor of the backseat. This keeps them from being jostled around and avoids airbag injuries.
  8. Carry with support – when arriving at the clinic, support the bottom of the carrier. It’s no surprise that kitties don’t like earthquakes!
  9. Use a towel – draping a towel over the carrier provides your cat with an additional sense of security.

Check out this video on how to successfully train your cat to like their carrier:

Written by Angela Noble, RVT & Practice Manager