Video Series: When Cats Hate Carriers

It’s time to take your cat to the vet and your stomach is in knots. You’re wondering how long it’ll take to get your cat into the carrier, how many scratches or bites you’ll have to endure, and whether you’ll even be able to keep your appointment. In this next article in a continuing series, I’ll share videos that illustrate the steps needed to help your cat become less scared of its carrier.

This first video is from a client. Her cat used to hate the sight of its carrier. Per my advice, my client replaced her carrier with a new one so that her cat would no longer have a negative association with the carrier. Then she simply placed the carrier in her cat’s main living area so her cat would get used to the carrier as part of its home environment. She didn’t do anything else. After that, she allowed her cat to check out the carrier. While she did encourage her cat with happy tones, she never forced her cat into the carrier. That way, she allowed her cat to choose when to interact with the carrier. As a result of following my advice, the client’s cat did eventually learn to love its carrier.

This second video is from a student in my Socialization class. After making her cat’s carrier part of its home environment, she next made the carrier an inviting place by placing blankets and toys inside that belonged to her cat. To create an even further positive association for her cat, she began to feed her cat treats around its carrier every day. Once her cat began to regularly come up to the carrier to check it out, she put treats just inside the carrier, then partway into the carrier, and then all the way to the back. In this way, she gave her cat a reason to want to go into its carrier. The cat in this video did eventually stop resisting being put into its carrier.

This third video is also from a student in my Socialization class. It shows her luring her cat into its carrier with treats. She got her cat to enter the carrier from the top and from the side a few times, so that it had lots of positive practice going into its carrier. My student repeated these steps multiple times daily, each time allowing her cat to leave when it was done. Not shown in the video are the next steps she took, which were to close the carrier with her cat inside, move the carrier to different parts of the house with her cat inside, and take her cat for short car rides that didn’t end up at the vet. By doing all this, she taught her cat that the carrier could result in good things, and so it wasn’t to be feared. Instead, the carrier could be a safe and happy place.

This last video is my own creation. It summarizes the steps I’ve described here while also providing you with lots of kitten cuteness. One important goal to keep in mind is that your cat must come to view its carrier as just as another safe place in your home, and even as a way to hang out with you in a fun way. The latter is an important point that even I must keep in mind, as I have a former feral for whom no car ride is ever going to be viewed as fun. If car rides stress your cat or make them sick, then keep rides short, but try to end the ride on a happy note. For example, my former feral gets to sit in her carrier on our deck, which allows her time in the sun.

Videos can sometimes convey information in a way that words alone can’t. My hope is that these videos will help you learn about cats in a different way than you can from my articles alone. If you like the videos, please consider subscribing to my Youtube channel. Also, please comment on this article to tell me what topics you’d like me to write about in the future. I’ll do my best to find related videos!

2 thoughts on “Video Series: When Cats Hate Carriers

  1. Norway is our very first cat. Before Norway joined our family, I remember hearing my friends and family members tell about how much their cats disliked car rides. Typically, they only took their cats on car rides to the vet. When Norway was a kitten, we took her everywhere she was welcome. For example, she frequently rode with me to our local dry cleaners and went in with me in her carrier. As a result, Norway is very comfortable traveling by car and even goes with us on vacations. So far, she has been to five states!

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