How to Get Your Cat in the Carrier in Frederick, MD

For most of our feline companions, the only time they get to see their carrier is when its time to go see the team at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, Maryland for a veterinary visit.  Even if nothing unpleasant happened to your kitty during their previous appointments, that carrier will be associated with the car ride and the unfamiliar sounds and smells of the veterinary office.  It is these stress-inducing associations that cause cats to resist getting into their carrier.

You can help your cat get over the fear of a carrier by associating it with “good things” like treats or toys. The first thing to do is to avoid storing the carrier in the garage or basement and only bringing it out when a trip to the vet is needed.  Instead, open the door or remove the top and keep the carrier out in an area where your cat likes to sleep or play.  This way, they can begin to associate it with the familiar sights and scents of home. Set it up as your cat’s own private sleeping quarters or private dining room by placing their bed or food and water dishes in the carrier. Or simply use the carrier as a spot to give treats.

If your cat already has negative associations with the current carrier that you’re using, try purchasing a new carrier that does not resemble the old one.

Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, which cats use to mark familiar objects.  If you don’t have time to develop positive associations with your cat’s carrier prior to your next scheduled veterinary visit, use 3-4 sprays of Feliway on a blanket or towel, or even an old item of your clothing, and place it in the carrier a half an hour before your are going to use it.  This may help create a sense of familiarity and provide a safe haven in an otherwise strange environment.

If your cat needs to go to the veterinarian right away, and is not yet accustomed to his or her carrier, start by putting the carrier in a small room with few hiding places.  Bring him/her into the room and close the door. Move slowly and calmly and do not try to chase them into the carrier. Encourage your feline friend with treats or toys to walk into the carrier on their own.  If this is unsuccessful, gently cradle your cat, using a blanket or towel pre-sprayed with Feliway, if necessary, and lower them into the carrier.  

To see Julie demonstrate how to get your cat in the carrier CLICK HERE
To see Melissa demonstrate how to get your cat in the carrier CLICK HERE

For further tips or questions, please call Kingsbrook Animal Hospital at 301-631-6900.