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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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Does Your Cat Hate Their Carrier? How To Make It Their Safe Haven

Does your cat’s overwhelming hatred for their carrier have you dreading vet visits? Do they struggle, hiss, and scratch when you try to place them inside? Being forced into a confined space is enough to aggravate any feline. It doesn’t have to be that way. When their carrier becomes a cozy nook, getting your cat to relax inside will become the easiest part of your trip.

What Kind Of Carrier Is Best For Anxious Cats?
An ideal carrier for anxious cats has multiple entrances, including a top panel. It’s easier to place a reluctant cat inside a top-loading carrier. During a vet visit, your vet may be able to examine your cat without removing them from the carrier by accessing them through the top panel.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your cat’s carrier is airline approved. Even if you do not have a plane trip planned for the near future, it’ll be easier to travel with a familiar carrier than to have to introduce your cat to a new one before a trip.

Both hard-sided and soft-sided carriers can work well for anxious cats. A soft-sided carrier is generally less bulky, making it easier to store and carry. Hard-sided carriers are sturdy and easy to clean.

Shop Cat Carriers At PetMeds

How To Turn Your Cat’s Carrier Into A Den
Does your cat love hiding out in cardboard boxes? Enclosed spaces make cats feel safe and secure. Their carrier can become one of their favorite nooks. Just leave it out in your living space, leave it open, and furnish it with blankets, towels, or a soft bed.

Add in some toys, some treats, and a sprinkle of catnip, and your cat won’t be able to resist hanging out in their carrier. You can even feed meals in it.

After your cat has had a few weeks to fall in love with their carrier, you can start to work on getting them comfortable with the idea of being transported in it. You can try closing the entrances while your cat is inside for just a few moments, then letting them out, gradually working up to longer durations. Then, you can try lifting the carrier while your cat is inside snacking on treats. Your cat may enjoy being carried around your home, or even outdoors while they peep through the grate or mesh panels.

Managing Stress On Outings
When it’s time to take your cat to the vet or go on a trip, even with enough time to get your cat acclimated to the carrier, they may still feel stressed.

Calming treats like Composure Chews take the edge off your cat’s nerves so they can feel more relaxed when you’re on the go. They typically take 30-45 minutes to kick in, so you can give your cat a treat shortly before it’s time to leave. If you’re trying out new calming treats, you can give a half dose before leaving, and give your cat a little more if they seem to need it while you’re at the vet or on the move.

Feliway is another great product to help your cat chill out. It’s a spray that contains a synthetic version of feline facial pheromones. Spray a little on your cat’s carrier, and they’ll immediately start to feel calm and safe.

Cats with severe anxiety may still have trouble traveling, even with all of these tips. Do not hesitate to talk to your vet about it. Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medication for use on days you travel with your cat.