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  • Jennifer herne

Cat Carrier Nightmares??!!

(Photo: Wolly Bully by Kaly White)

You have 20 minutes to get your cat to the vet and Fluffy is giving you a hard time, clawing and biting and growling. Yes, it has happened to all of us. What can you do to get Fluffy into her carrier without getting bit or scratched? First of all you must understand that Fluffy is scared. Getting into a carrier is not part of her normal routine, but it can be done and can be easier than you think. You can train Fluffy to get in a carrier, maybe even enjoy the carrier, but most importantly you can get her to tolerate the carrier.

The first thing I recommend is getting a carrier that Fluffy can fit into properly. Don't try and squish your cat into the tiniest cheapest carrier you can find. You should buy a carrier in which your cat can move around in and feel comfortable in. I have seen many times a very large cat that can barely move around in the carrier and barely fit in. Your kitten will grow into a larger cat so don't think that tiny carrier will be acceptable in a year when she has gained 8 lbs. So plan ahead for your cat to grow and follow these tips when you get your kitten or even try this with your adult cat.

Put a nice blanket into the carrier for your cat. Start placing treats outside the carrier and also inside the carrier without shutting the door. You can do this several times a day. Say a word such as "inside" as you place the treats into the carrier. Let the cat eat the treats and then leave her on her own. Your cat will soon associate the treats with the carrier and start to feel good about the carrier. When she is comfortable going inside, start shutting the door for a few seconds and then longer so the carrier becomes commonplace. Now when you want her to go to the carrier she will probably do so willingly. You can also take the cover off the carrier and make it a bed when you don't need to use it as a carrier. You can also use behavior products such as Feliway spray, which contains pheromones similar to those found on a cat's face and chin. Pheromones are chemicals which are used to communicate to members of the same species.

You may have noticed your cat rubbing his or her face and chin on surfaces or even on you! She is leaving a scent which contains these pheromones. The pheromones from the face have a calming effect on other cats. You can spray Feliway into the carrier 30 minutes before using the carrier; it can have a calming effect on your cat. It can also help with problem behavior for your cat or cats.

I would also suggest bringing your cat for rides to the vet, even if it is just to get a visit for a treat, not necessarily for vaccinations.

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