How much does your cat like his carrier? If your cat is like most, the answer is “not at all!” Most of us drag the carrier out of storage minutes before we need it and wrestle our cats inside. If we are lucky, no one is bleeding and we can still get where we need to go.
This is a big, but solvable problem. Why? Dogs and people find comfort in people when they are nervous. In general, cats do not. Cats find comfort in a familiar place to hide and feel safe when they are under stress. We can use this knowledge to help our cats and reduce their fear and anxiety when they face a stressful situation.
In other words, you can make the carrier your cat’s new BFF, instead of their worst enemy. Here’s how…
- It’s time for a reset. Find a carrier that you want to be a part of daily life and a fixture in your home décor. This carrier should be located in your cat’s favorite part of the house 24/7.
- Make sure the carrier has cozy bedding or add it. You want your cat to see this as the preferred resting spot (formerly known as the cat carrier.)
- Daily snack time is now in the carrier. Once a day put a small amount of dry/freeze dried food or treats in the carrier. Give your cat a chance to discover and enjoy these on his/her own.
- After your cat has reached Zen in the new carrier, take him/her for a ride.Find a calm time when your cat is already inside and gently close the door. The first few times, just cruise around the room for a minute or two and then replace the carrier to its normal resting spot and open the door. Every now and then, take this journey a step further. Go outside or even on a short car trip.
Soon, your cat will think of the carrier as a safe haven. On the day of your next planned journey, all you will need to do is stay relaxed, place some treats inside, wait for your cat to jump in, and you’ll be on your way.
You will both be very happy that you did!
For more cat health and wellness information, check out www.TheCatvocate.com.
Dr. Liz Bales, The Catvocate, is a practicing veterinarian with 18 years of experience. Dr. Bales has a strong interest in feline wellness and behavior. She believes that by understanding the natural state of the cat we can create an indoor environment where cats thrive and our bond with them grows.