When it comes to keeping your cat safe, carriers are one of the best options. In addition to providing a comfortable place for cats to sleep, carriers also serve the purpose of keeping the cat safely confined during travel or transport.
Unfortunately, many cats are not naturally inclined to love their carriers. This means that pet parents must teach cats to get into carriers without fear, fuss or anxiety.
Fortunately, it is easier than it sounds. Here are some tips from experts to make utilizing cat carriers that much easier.
Why Use a Cat Carrier?
Imagine you have to take your cat to the vet. You pick the cat up, take him outside, plop him in your car and drive off, happy as can be, right? Wrong. Most cats in this scenario would be panicked and spend the entire time yowling at the windows and attempting to seek shelter beneath the gas pedal. This is where cat carriers come in. In addition to keeping cats safely confined during transport, cat carriers also serve the purpose of helping cats stay calm and contained in strange environments.
How to Teach Your Cat to Love His Carrier
With a little help, most cats can quickly learn to love their carriers. Much the same way dogs can be trained to view a crate as a safe, quiet space; cats can be trained to view the carrier as a secure environment. Follow these steps to begin carrier training your cat:
1) Start as Young as Possible: Ideally, you should start carrier training cats when they are still kittens due to the fact that younger cats are more accepting and open than older cats. It is not always possible to begin training as a kitten, however, and pet parents with older cats may simply need to devote a bit more time and patience to the task.
2) Keep the Carrier out in the Open: To begin familiarizing your cat with the carrier, leave it in a public area where the cat can explore it at will. Leaving the carrier in the same room as the cat’s food bowls is a great option. Remember to leave the carrier’s door open so the cat can go in and out as he wishes.
3) Make the Carrier Luxurious: Does your cat have a favorite toy, blanket or bed? Place these things in the carrier and leave the door open for a few days. Chances are, your cat will explore the carrier, find that it’s a nice place to be and start spending time in the carrier at will.
4) Move Your Cat’s Food into the Carrier: Once the cat is willingly spending time in the carrier, move the cat’s food bowl into the space to allow the cat to form positive associations with the carrier.
5) Close the Door: Once the cat is happy eating inside the carrier, close the door to allow the cat to get used to the feeling of being confined inside the space. As the cat gets more comfortable with this, practice taking the carrier outside and on short trips.
Although carrier-training cats can be difficult, it is a worthwhile process that keeps cats safe, happy and comfortable during travel and transport.