Summer 2013 Magazine

Cat Carriers and Transporting Cats

By Nancy Marano

Here are some tips to help you and your cat decrease the stress level on the trip.

  • Choose the right carrier
  •    Pick a carrier with sturdy sides so your cat feels safe.
  •    The ideal carrier opens from the top, the front and comes apart on    the sides. The vet can lift the top off the carrier and examine the cat    in the bottom half of the carrier.
  •    Try to find a carrier that doesn't screw down. Screws can be difficult    and time consuming to work.
  • Long before you put your cat in a carrier put the carrier in a place your cat is likely to be. Line the inside of the carrier with a towel or something soft. Even better if the bedding has your scent on it. Leave the top off the carrier.
  • Put a few of the cat's favorite toys and a treat in the carrier to entice the cat to enter. This process may take weeks. Reward desired results. All this effort keeps the cat from being afraid of the carrier. He will think of it as his safe place.
  • About a half hour before you start your trip, rub Feliway, a synthetic feline pheromone, on the inside of the carrier to relax your cat.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get the cat into the carrier so you don't feel rushed or nervous. Wrap the cat in a familiar smelling towel and place the cat in the carrier.
  • Seatbelt the carrier in the car.
  • Your cat might feel more secure if you cover the carrier with a towel to eliminate some of the visual stimulation that can upset a cat.
  • Please don't play loud music that disturbs a cat's ears.
  • Remember an ill cat or a scared cat might soil the bedding in his carrier during the trip. Take some extra bedding with you for the return trip should you need it.
  • When you get to the veterinary clinic, find the quietest place to wait for your appointment. Put the carrier on a chair rather than on the floor so the cat feels more secure.

All of this preparation gives the best chance for a good veterinary visit.

Nancy Marano is an award-winning writer who is owned by two cats, Callie, a tortoiseshell, and Max, a black, panther wannabe. She is a member of the Cat Writers' Association and Dog Writers of America.

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