How do I get my cat to like the cat carrier?

Your cat is a stickler for routine. Sleeping in that favourite spot in the early morning sun. Jumping on your lap, claws out at the dining table. Standing on the computer keyboard when you are typing. Not enjoying being taken to the vet or cattery in a cat carrier in the car. To make a trip out with your cat a happier experience making it routine is the answer.

Step 1 – To get your cat used to the carrier, start by making it a part of her ordinary life. Leave the carrier in the living room, backed up against a wall, with the door propped open.

Step 2 – Put a small blanket or comfortable pillow in the bottom, and put in a toy and one or two of her favorite treats.

Step 3 – Let her explore the carrier at her leisure: no stress, no drama. For extra de-stressing power, spray a little bit of Feliway Spray, a synthetic “happy cat” pheromone, inside.

Step 4 – The next step is to get your cat used to doing different things in the carrier. Close the door while she’s inside and leave the room for a few minutes. When you return, prop the carrier door open again. The goal here is to make your cat feel that the carrier is not a trap. Do this several times over the course of a week or so.

Step 5 – Once she’s used to that, close the door while she’s inside and walk around the house with the carrier. Afterward, set it down, open the door, and give her a treat or make a fuss of her.

Step 6 – Once you’ve gotten your cat used to her carrier, it’s time to take her for a ride. Close the carrier door while your kitten is inside and take her for a short drive. Even a trip to the end of the road and back will do. Repeat this at random intervals over the next week or so. The idea behind this is to help your cat understand that being in the carrier, in the car, does not necessarily mean she’s going to the vet or the boarding cattery.

With the right carrier and a low-key, drama-free introduction, you’ll have a pet who will love - or at least, accept - the carrier.

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