Prevention is always the best cure. Teaching your cat to go into a pet carrier on command, or to at least to be comfortable being put in one, is one way to prevent a fight when you want to take kitty anywhere safely.
From the day you bring your kitten or adult cat home, the cat carrier should be part of everyday life. Leave it out somewhere easily accessible. Feeding the cat in or near the carrier will create a good experience associated with the carrier. Randomly put treats and toys in and on the carrier for him to find and enjoy.
Practice putting the cat in the carrier and giving a favorite treat. You can even train him to enter the carrier on command.
For very young kittens, it's a good idea to confine them to a smaller area when you aren't right there to watch them. If they are small enough to get behind appliances or under/in furniture, you must supervise them at all times. One way to supervise is to kitten proof a small room, like a spare bathroom.
I like to use a larger dog crate for my young kittens to sleep in at night or be confined when I am not home. It should be big enough to allow a litter box, food and water and bedding. With access to food, water and a litter box, the crate can be kept in your room and the kitten can learn to sleep through the night. Confining them this way keeps them safe when you aren't awake and keeps them from jumping on you in the middle of the night. Once they are old enough and seem to be staying out of trouble when you are awake, try letting them stay out (in your room only) at night. I recommend doing this on the weekend when a few hours less sleep won't cause a problem.
For most adult cats, the only time they see a carrier is when they are about to go to the vet or some other trip outside of their safe environment. Because most cats are homebodies, they don't get out to new places or see new people very often, the crate coming out only at these times becomes a predictor of scary vet visits. It's no surprise our cats disappear when the carrier is brought out.
If you don't want to leave your carrier out all the time, you can do some things to help prepare your cat when you do have a planned trip. Several days before the vet visit pull the carrier out and put it near your cat's favorite spot. Encourage the cat to check it out with surprise treats and toys.
You would be surprised how much less stress is involved when your cat doesn't hate the sight of the carrier. Here is a video that gives some great tips on working with your cat and the carrier.
*Do not transport a cat loose in the car. If need be, you can put the cat in a pillow case and tie the end closed. Scared cats will hide under the seats and get under the driver's feet, and when you open the door, they may bolt out of the car. I have seen this happen and the cat was never found
I would love to help you with your pet's training needs. Please drop me a note if you enjoyed this site or if you have any questions about classes or any other pet related questions. E-mail
Judy Seils and Ruby
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