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Teaching your cat to like his carrier

 by lucy on 24 Aug 2017 |
1 Comment(s)
Most cats only see a cat carrier when it’s time to go somewhere new: the veterinarian’s office, a new home or a boarding facility for the weekend. This causes many felines to fear their carriers, which they associate with unwanted change and fervently resist. Fortunately, helping your cat form positive associations with his carrier isn’t hard and can help reduce stress when it’s time for your next trip.
 
It can be difficult to teach an old cat new tricks and this is especially true when it comes to his cat carrier. One of the best ways to help your cat make peace with the carrier, then, is to introduce him to it at a young age. Even adult cats, however, can come to terms with their crates. Instead of busting out the carrier only for visits to the vet, help your cat overcome his fears by keeping it out and open at all times. This allows Kitty to explore at his own speed, coming and going from the carrier as he pleases. Add some comfortable bedding, cat toys and a few treats to make the space as inviting as possible. With some time, this helps most felines overcome their fear of the carrier and see it as a safe retreat.
 
Once your cat has had at least a few weeks to explore the carrier at his own pace, try feeding him inside it. This reinforces positive associations with the carrier, especially when he receives meals there every day. If your cat won’t immediately take his food inside the carrier, try placing his food dish a few feet away from the entrance and inching it closer every day. Some cats are clever and will avoid the carrier when you’re around so they won’t be locked in, so try walking away when you feed Kitty if he’s reluctant to enter.
 
Once you succeed in getting your pet take his meals inside his carrier, you can begin using verbal cues to further his training. Cats are not responsive to commands like dogs, but will react for food, so use a treat to entice your pet to enter his carrier while saying the “in” command. Over time, he’ll likely learn that a tasty treat follows when he enters his cat carrier. Once this is an established routine, you can start closing the carrier door before offering your cat his treat. Only reward him if he remains calm in the carrier, however— otherwise, let Kitty loose and try again another time.
 
Finally, you can gradually get your pet used to being lifted and moved inside his carrier, even taking him outside for practice runs before using the carrier for a real-deal visit to the vet. With some time and patience, you should be able to get Kitty inside his carrier without anxiety or fear, even if he never learns to love the space.

Comment(s)1

AbbyandSadiesMom - Comment
AbbyandSadiesMom24 Aug 2017Reply
My two adult cats enjoy their carriers, one more than the other. I leave them in another room, open, with fluffy bedding and their favorite catnip toys. They come and go as they please; however, when it comes time to see the vet, one cat still doesn't like going in. For that one, I have to upend the crate, scruff the cat and let gravity take its course. The other just walks right in when I point her head toward the crate entrance. Neither fuss too much. Of course, when it comes time to leave the vet, both cats willingly go right into the crate and once home, both leave just as quickly. The amiable cat just looks up at me and hisses half-heartedly. The more difficult one just looks at me and silently walks away. Both return within a few minutes for more hugs and kisses, so it's not bad.

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