Getting your cat inside the carrier for the first time can be difficult, and even more difficult the second time without proper cat training.
When I first started, I learned the hard lesson and received my fair share of bite marks and scratches from an very grumpy cat. It didn't have to be this way if I back then knew how to train our cat. With our hard-earned experience, we have put together a guide on how to train your cat to get comfy with your cat carrier.
Cats by nature fear enclosed and tight locations, so it is not surprising that the cat carrier is not an obvious place for your cat to feel comfortable in. If you force your cat to go inside the cat carrier, not only will your cat resist you till the very end, but you could end up getting bitten or scratched by a frighten cat. Training your cat to be comfortable around your carrier can be just as important as selecting the right carrier. First thing you want to do is to train your cat to be comfortable in an enclosed area. If your cat is not use to being in an enclosed area this is the first place you would want to start. Step by step your can achieve this with little resistant from the cat. Putting your cat in enclosed area can cause stress with the cat. You will want to be careful with these tips that are proven to work.
1. Enclosure exercise: First pick out an area that the cat is familiar with. Most cats like the closet, as it is spacious enough to turn and stay comfortably, and at the same time it can be closed off, so you would want to be in there with your cat for a short time. Let your cat investigate with the closed door and comfort talk your cat to assure her that there is nothing wrong. Repeat this for a couple of times until she is no longer afraid to stay enclosed by itself.
2. Bring a buddy: One thing you certainly want to do is bring a few of your cat’s favorite things to accompany her in the carrier. This way, you are creating a space that looks and smells familiar. It could be her favorite toy, blanket or any small item that will help with her to be comfortable. As long as this item has her scent on it, it is signaling to her mind that this is part of her territory. During the carrier transportation, you would also want to feed her a bit of treats as reward for being a good girl. Petting her inside the carrier frequently can effectively make her more relaxed.
3. Choice an ideal cat carrier: While many pet stores will tell you how good & strong the material quality is on their carriers, in reality most carriers today are durable enough to last forever and even the most affordable cat carriers have solid door lock mechanisms. So there are only 3 things that really matters and hence you should always examine for these comfort features first:
- Breathability: Like humans, cats can get claustrophobic breathing problems when there is a restricted airflow inside the carrier. You want to look for a cat carrier with bigger, unblocked breathing holes on at least 2 sides of the bag, so airflow can go travel both ways and remain properly ventilated.
- Size matters: Even if your cat, at first, is adjusted to the confined space, your cat can still be stressed inside the carrier during the trip and will try to move around to find an escape opening. If the carrier is too big, you may find your cat to move and turn-around constantly to look for an escape opening and get more anxious in the process. If the carrier is too small with no wiggle room to stretch itself, your cat is likely to feel cramped - that too can develop anxiety in the process. The right balance is to allow just enough room for your cat stay put, stand up and stretch itself.
- Visibility: This is what I think most pet carrier brands unfortunately compromise on when designing their flagship products. Often times the carrier end up having grill trims that sadly look too much like prison doors. Cats are very curious about their surroundings, and likewise people are curious about your cat in the carrier, so the idea of allowing an open view through transparent door or bubble glass is no question the best way to transport and display your pet.
Crate Cat Carrier
Open View Cat Carrier
Backpack Cat Carrier
4. Getting familiar with the cat carrier: Training your cat to feel comfortable entering the carrier by her own requires a little bit of technique. First, you would want to open it and make sure the door is securely open. Now put some of her favorite toys, blanket, pillow or items that you used in the closet, put them in the carrier. This will attract her to be curious about the carrier. A good idea would be to place catnip in the carrier. Cats love catnip and this will surely attract her to enter on her own. Remember to reward your cat in the process. After a few days of interaction with the cat carrier, she starts to get more comfortable with the carrier, and this is will be a good moment for you to start training her to be comfortable with a closed door. Start slowly by place the door in a closed position while talking to her. Then open the door again to make sure that she is comfortable with it. Now close the door again and move away to a place where she can see you, but do not lock the door. If you repeat this enough, eventually she will know the carrier is a safe place to be. Next step is to lock the door gentle avoid startling her. Once you see that she is calm, you can continue to back off till she is unable to see you. At this point of time if she is not resisting to get out, it is a good indicator that she is comfortable with the carrier. Finally you can pick up the carrier with her inside and walk around the room to simulate transportation movements. Do this a couple of times till she is calm. And that is when you know she is ready for the real trip.
Hope you enjoyed reading this guide and hope you have an enjoyable trip with your cat!
Do you travel a lot or going to spend time away from home and would like to bring your cat with you? There are good news! You can bring them with you in a pet carrier. Pet carriers or cat carriers are widely available and comes in different styles and shapes. At Lazy Pets, we only offer cat carriers with open view and cat carrier backpacks for maximum visibility and comfort for your cats.