Did you know that providing good health care, especially preventative health care, can allow your cats to have longer, more comfortable lives? However, this cannot happen unless they see the veterinarian for needed care. Many cats dislike going to the Veterinarian, and that starts with the difficulty of getting the cat into the carrier. If we can make this step easier, the entire veterinary visit is usually less stressful
What types of carriers are the best?
The best carriers are inexpensive hard sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle. An easily removable top allows a cat which is fearful, anxious or in pain to stay in the back half of the carrier for exams. Avoid carriers that require a cat to be pulled out for an exam.
Choose carriers that are sturdy, secure and stable for a cat, as well as easy for you to carry. Carriers should be seat-belted into the car to keep your cat safer and to reduce the bumpiness of the ride.
Understanding your Cat’s Behaviour:
- Cats are most comfortable with the familiar surroundings, and need time to adjust. Respect your cat’s need for time to become familiar with new situations, people and places.
- Stay calm! Cats can sense our anxiety and frustration, which may cause them to be fearful.
- Give rewards to encourage positive behaviour e.g. give them a treat, or show affection.
Helping Your Cat Become Comfortable with the Carrier:
- Make the carrier a familiar place by leaving it in a room where your cat spends its time.
- Place familiar bedding inside the carrier, or even treats, catnip or toys inside to encourage your cat to feel like it’s at home.
- It may take days or weeks for your cat to be comfortable, so remain calm and patient.
Coming Home – Keeping the Peace in a Multi-cat Household
- Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how other cats react.
- If you sense tension between the cats, keep the cat in the carrier and take it into a separate room.
- Provide food, water and litter box straight away so that the cat can regain a familiar smell
- A synthetic feline pheromone (Feliway)
- Use familiar bedding or clothing with your scent, as it retains the smell of home and helps with reintroduction.
- Bring both cats to the veterinary practice together so this prevents future conflict as both cats will carry the scent of the clinic.
Getting an Unwilling Cat into the Carrier:
- Place the carrier in a small room with few hiding places
- Move slowly and calmly and do not chase your cat into the carrier
-If your cat does not walk into the carrier, gently cradle your cat and lower it into the top of the carrier.
- Consider using synthetic feline facial pheromone (Feliway) analog spray in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transport to help calm the cat.