Many cats disappear at the sight of their cat carrier and even if their owner is able to get them into it, their cat often makes it quite clear it is not finding the experience pleasant. Difficulties getting cats into their carriers can result in owner reluctance to visit the vets which can consequently lead to reduced preventative healthcare, delayed diagnosis of disease, and ultimately reduced quality of life. In addition, if an owner is physically forcing their cat into its carrier, there is the potential for the cat to start to view the owner negatively with a resultant breakdown in the cat-owner bond. Having a cat comfortable with travel in its cat carrier will make trips to the vets, and other locations such as boarding catteries much easier, and the cat will not arrive already anxious or fearful from the journey. The best way to get around these problems is to teach a cat to enter its carrier voluntarily. This is done by associating the carrier with positive experiences.
Where to start
Before starting to teach a cat that going into the carrier is a positive experience, there are a number of things that can be done to ensure the cat views the carrier as positive as possible. If a cat already has a very negative association with the cat carrier, it is worth taking some time to think why this might be.
Many cat guardians also forget to consider that many conventional carriers are quite small and made of hard plastic neither of which is appealing for their feline friend! This is why we personally love the Necoichi stress free carrier and pen.
Not just is this carrier spacy and provides sufficient airflow for your cat even on a hot day but in addition to being a car safe carrier it can also double up as a pen if you travel to a new place!
Spacious enough for 2 cats as we’ve taken our Renegade and Freya to a family day out for a meet and greet and they love popping their heads out of the big opening to get cuddles from the kids at the event. Yes, some cats may not enjoy this type of experience but our “naughties” love meeting new people!
And if it gets too busy you can pop down the flap on the carrier to provide your cat with some privacy. 🙂
And another great benefit of the Necoichi carrier is that it can fold down and be slid under a sofa! Plus there is even a pop-up litterbox available for travelling. And if you need some durable and stylish bowls, Necoichi has you covered on that front as well!
Getting your cat used to their carrier
It’s important to try and get your cat used to their carrier from a young age so they see it as a normal part of their home, rather than a demon box that only appears when they have that dreaded car ride to the vets or the cattery. By having your cat carrier out in your home, you allow your fussy feline to walk in and out freely and become familiar with the cat basket- they may even nod off in there!
You can put your cat’s treats, favourite blankets and toys in the carrier so your cat associates it with positive things. And you can also spray the inside with a pheromone spray, as your puss will be able to recognise these pheromones, which will help them to feel more relaxed and comfortable in their carrier.
All of these techniques will allow your cat to think of going into their carrier as a positive experience. And, for many cats, this can change their behaviour, making them want to go into the carrier more, and also causing them to feel less stressed when they’re inside the carrier. And, by changing your cat’s behaviour, and getting them to do something that they wouldn’t normally want to do, you are successfully training your cat!
Of course, it’s not too late to get an older cate used to their carrier either but you may need to “bribe” them with foods or treats for a longer period of time!
Remember to take a patient approach to introduce your cat to their carrier. Regardless of which one you go for, we would always recommend that you leave the carrier out in the open for your cat to get used to the carrier before its first use. Patience is important!