As anyone who has ever tried to put a cat into a carrier knows it’s easier said than done. The tiniest rattle of the gate can send a savvy cat into hiding. Merely approaching the carrier with thoughts of travel may be communicated telepathically. Then comes the house hunt— under the beds, on the high shelves, behind the couches, anywhere kitty can fit and hide.
Extracting the cat from her hidy-hole doesn’t improve her mood, and the worst is yet to come. As you approach the sinister crate, she is miraculously expanding and transforming into a demon with extra legs made of steel and tipped with hooks. To press this mini-mutant through the little door will be next to impossible.
Rewind to the beginning; all is not lost!
I’ve discovered a trick that works! With these two easy steps, you can help ensure that neither you nor your cat will be unduly stressed by the prospect of travel.
First step: Preparation.
Prepare the crate. Check all fasteners to make sure they’re tight. You can spray a little Feliway or other reputable feline stress-reducer onto the back wall of the carrier if you like. This won’t help getting kitty inside but might make your trip more yowl-free.
Now, here is the trick:
Place the carrier on an elevated surface such as a chair or couch, with the back wall braced so the carrier can’t slide backwards. The front lip should be even with the front edge of the surface. This ensures there is no place for kitty to put her feet as you slip her inside.
Second step: Action.
Gently but firmly, pick up the cat and transport her briskly to the carrier. In a fluid motion, put her through the door, head and front feet first. There is something about not having that ground underneath her that makes her more willing to enter. Close the gate. (Watch the tail.)
I take my four cats to the beach with me once a month. They have never learned to love the carrier (in fact one is so scared, he pees at the sight of it) but they settle down in the car and they like the beach once they get there.
I’d love to hear if this works for you.
Crate Talk: There are many styles of car carriers. If you’re traveling by car, make sure you get one that has been crash tested. In my opinion, the crate should be at least twice the size of the cat. Line with soft bedding. If your cat has stress incontinence, use an absorbent crate liner or puppy pad, and bring a clean-up kit just in case.
Tip! Store the crate in plain sight, where your cat can go in and out as she pleases. Make it a friendly place by giving treats and food inside.
About Mollie Hunt:
Mollie is the author of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, and the Cat Writers’ Association. This year she won a CWA Muse Medallion for her 3-part blogpost series, “Life Stages”.
Like Lynley, Mollie is a grateful shelter volunteer. She is a longtime volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society where she socializes sad, fearful, and behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home. In 2014, she had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case.
You can find Mollie on her Website: http://www.lecatts.wordpress.com/, her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt, and her Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/.
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