What To Consider as You Shop For a Carrier
As you look for a carrier for your cat, we advise that you select one that is durable, safe, easy-to-clean, and designed for your cat’s needs. Here are some other factors you should consider:
Look for a carrier that is sturdy and comfortable for your cat. The Center for Pet Safety recommends that the carrier be belted into the backseat only if they have been crash-tested. All others should be placed on the floor of the backseat.
Entry and Exit
Look for one with both a top and front opening or a very large round opening. This allows you to easily place your cat in, and take her out if your cat is not trained to the carrier. It’s helpful to have a carrier that can be taken apart in the middle and have the top half be removed. This way your cat can remain in the bottom of the carrier during a check-up by the veterinarian. Many cats feel more secure and experience less anxiety when they can remain in their carrier during the exam. Make sure your cat can easily walk in and out of it, so she can come and go as she pleases.
Choose a carrier that is easy-to-clean and has a leak-proof bottom. Also, make sure you can place a comfy (and absorbent) towel or other cushioned material on the bottom.
Visual Shield/Privacy & Ventilation
Cats like privacy. Look for a carrier that offers some kind of visual shield, yet still has good ventilation. This makes it less likely for your cat to experience motion-induced anxiety or stomach distress. An easy method is to place a towel over the carrier that has just been sprayed or wiped with a synthetic feline pheromone. This can help reduce your cat’s stress when you go to unfamiliar places. Just make sure you can still carry in a stable manner.
Ensure you feel the carrier is attractive so you are comfortable leaving it out in your home. When the carrier is left out, it allows your cat to become comfortable with it and see it as part of her space or territory. Select a location for the carrier where your cat likes it and where you are comfortable with it being left out and not moved.
Getting Your Cat Comfortable with the Carrier
Many cats dislike going to the veterinarian. It starts with the sometimes-difficult process of getting your cat into the carrier. This process can become less stressful for everyone involved by helping your cat become familiar with their carrier. Making the carrier your cat’s home away from home will help ensure a positive experience with the carrier. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Leave it in a location or room where your cat spends a lot of time.
- Place familiar soft bedding inside the carrier that either your cat likes or that includes your scent to help her feel more secure.
- Place treats, catnip, or toys within the carrier daily to encourage your cat to enter it on her own.
For more information about getting your cat into the carrier, download the Getting Your Cat to the Veterinarian brochure.
Contributed by Dr. Ilona Rodan, DVM, DABVP (Feline)