Stress free approaches to getting your cat in the carrier, (c) 2009-2016 Frania Shelley-Grielen
As a general rule your cat, being the highly territorial creature that it is would prefer staying home to traveling whether for the holidays or to the vet. Even so, a visit to the vet is an occasional necessity. Add to that, there are times when your travels may be extended and you choose to bring along your feline or your ticket is one way rather than round trip. For times like these knowing a pain free method of getting your cat in the carrier can make all the difference to how you and your cat start the journey.
Your cat may or may not have already been in a carrier. For most cats, the carrier is not a positive place: they move to a strange new place with no familiar sights, sounds or smells, get taken to the vet for poking and prodding and very rarely spend any time in one that ends up in positive situation (to their way of thinking).
You can remedy the negative association of the cat carrier with a few tricks of the trade:
Do not force with any of these steps. Do whatever time permits you to do. Repeat as often as possible.
With any of these next steps if your cat is becoming stressed by the approaches stop and give both of you a break:
When you are up to putting your cat in the carrier the smaller the room you can use to do this the better, think bathroom. If you can pick up the cat and the cat is agreeable to going in pick up and deposit in carrier in one fluid motion (if you have never done this practice with a stuffed animal or doll). With a resistant cat, turn the carrier on its end with the door facing upwards. This way you are lowering the cat back legs first into the carrier.
Know that your next approach with the resistant cat means a cat that is also wise to what is coming. The next option is to position the carrier by advancing it toward the cat in such a way as the cat has no other option but to enter it. Only, if you know how (do not do this if you are not well versed in doing so because you can really hurt the animal) pick up the cat by the scruff of the neck if it is very resistant and quickly place in carrier.
With all of this, doing it quickly is the least stressful for you and the cat. Once your cat is in the carrier it helps to drape a towel (not too long, you do not want to trip on it when you are carrying it) over the carrier to cut down on the visual stimulation. If you are working with a cat that is absolutely panicked with the prospect of the carrier no matter what consider utilizing a product that will soothe your pet such as Rescue Remedy (this also comes in an easy to administer spray) or Feliway. Lavender oil is known to soothe and a few drops placed on a piece of flannel should be added to a stressed cat’s carrier before hand and remain in the carrier with the cat. Layering the bottom of the carrier with newspaper will also aid in absorbing urine should the cat become frightened enough to lose control of his bladder in the carrier.
Individual cats react differently to being contained in carriers. Some will huddle towards the back and some will howl piteously. Speak softly and reassuringly to soothe your cat. Poking your fingers through the carrier door (do not do this if you need to open any zippers) and making contact can also help.
The sooner you start working with your cat on positive cat carrier associations the sooner the carrier will be stress free for you and your cat!
(c) 2009-2016 Frania Shelley-Grielen
Copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
Place an article of your clothing in the carrier. A recently worn t shirt will go miles towards making your cat more at ease when it is in the carrier. The texture of the garment and the scent of you on it will offset some of the stress. Dig in the bottom of your hamper for the most "comforting" shirt scent wise.
Questions? Want an individual consultation? Contact us.
Copyright Olivier Y. Grielen
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