Have you ever wanted to take your cat with you on vacation? How about visiting friends or family? Maybe you just need to take your cat to the vet. In any of these cases, you are going to want to have a cat carrier available to use. Even if you do have one, getting your cat into the carrier may prove to be an exercise in itself. Not to worry, we here at Fauna Care have you covered. Allow us to give you a simple guide to all things cat carrier.
Why You Need a Cat Carrier
As a pet owner, a carrier for your animal is one of the most important items you’ll need to have as soon as possible. When it comes to cats, the carrier’s primary use will be for when you need to take your cat with you somewhere in the car. This can be for trips to the groomers, vacations, or most importantly your trips to the vet.
The main function of the carrier is to keep your cat safe during travel. It protects your cat from objects that may move around in the vehicle while driving that could bump into your cat, and is mandatory for bringing your cat on most planes, buses, and trains that allow pets. Carriers are also designed to make your cat feel safe and secure during the traveling process. Being left open in a moving car can make a lot of pets anxious, especially cats. The carrier is designed to reduce that feeling of anxiety as much as possible. Carriers can also be secured down in cars and other vehicles in a way that is much more comfortable than trying to secure your cat with a seat belt.
Just a demonstration of a cat in a seat belt. Trust me, getting your real cat in a seatbelt like this would be a massive pain. Image courtesy of compare.com
Different Types of Carriers
There are multiple different types of carriers out there so choosing one can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. The first thing you need to worry about is the size of the carrier you are going to need. If you're getting a kitten it is probably best to get a carrier that is on the bigger size so that you take into account your kitten's growth. Some breeds of cats also grow to be slightly bigger than others. Some individual cats prefer carriers that are a bit bigger and offer them a bit more space, while some prefer having smaller more secure spaces, it all depends on your cat's personality.
Let's talk about three of the most common types of carriers on the market:
- Hard carriers
- Soft carriers
- Rolling carriers
Hard carriers are exactly what they sound like. They are carriers made from hard and durable plastic. These carriers provide the most external protection to your pet but are often a bit more uncomfortable than other options on the market. Also, these carriers are typically the easiest to clean thanks to their ability to be hosed off or submerged in water.
Soft carriers are often made from a strong cloth material and provide the most comfort to your cat while inside. A plus to these kinds of carriers is that they are pretty lightweight and easy to transport. Some cons are that they are typically harder to clean than hard cases and can make your pet uncomfortably hot during certain times of the year in some climates.
Finally, we have rolling carriers. These can be a mix of both hard and soft carriers with the main difference being that the carrier can be rolled around. This simple fact makes these carriers ideal for those looking to travel with their cat, especially through airports where you have plenty of walking to do.
Let your cat get used to its carrier by putting it somewhere he or she goes a lot. Image courtesy of Blog.ferplast.
Setting Up your Carrier
You're not quite ready to put your cat in the carrier yet. You still need to prepare it for your cat in order to ensure your cat will be as comfortable as possible. A good place to start would be placing down a washable towel or old blanket inside the carrier. If you don’t have access to these, try using newspaper instead. This will function as a buffer in case your cat uses the bathroom while in the carrier, which is pretty common. This buffer will make clean-up much easier.
You’ll also want to take a second blanket with you as well, this one isn’t for toilet use. You can place this blanket over the carrier while the cat is inside to make your cat feel more secure. The familiar smell of the blanket may calm your cat down. The blanket can also be used to get your cat back into the carrier when you let him or her out after you reach your destination, but we can talk more about that in the next section.
Getting Your Cat in the Carrier
So we’ve picked out our carrier and are ready to move out, but we still have one problem, we need to get our cat into the carrier. Here are some tips and tricks that should make the process a bit easier. The process of getting your cat into the carrier may prove to be stressful for not just you but also your cat. Let's go over some stress reductions related to the process first so you’ll be ready with them if things get too stressful.
One of the simplest and easiest ways to get your cat to be less stressed out about the carrier and even a way to get your cat into the carrier with little effort is to put a treat inside the carrier. This can build a positive association in the cat related to the carrier and may make him or her more comfortable with it.
Your cat will likely be confused with this whole process. Try your best not to scare them and be patient with them! Image courtesy of Petkeen.
Another strategy you can try is to place a familiar towel or some other kind of cloth over the carrier. This will make the cat associate the carrier with the scent of the cloth and that may make your cat more comfortable with the carrier. You can also try placing the cloth or one of your cat’s favorite toys inside the carrier as well.
If none of this works you can try using a cat-safe pheromone spray or catnip to lure the cat into the carrier. This method feels the most like cheating but if your cat needs to go to the vet, or if it’s an emergency you’ll sometimes need to resort to desperate measures for the health and safety of your feline friend.
Here are a few final tips for getting your cat used to the carrier naturally. Try leaving the carrier open in a part of the house your cat frequents and leave your cat to investigate it on its own. Once your cat has familiarized itself with the carrier it won't be as afraid to get inside it when you need to take it somewhere. If you find your cat spending time inside the carrier frequently try closing the door slowly and see how your cat reacts. When you get to the point where your cat is comfortable being in the carrier with the door closed, (this can take a while so be patient and understanding with your cat) try lifting the carrier up with the cat inside. If your cat starts to freak out stop and try again later after your cat has calmed down and returned to the carrier. With these tips in mind, you should be carrying your cat around like a pro in no time.