So it’s that time again – another visit to the vets or holiday time for your pet, whatever the reason it is always important that you reduce cat carrier/transport stress as much as you can for your pet.
The best technique is by positive association if your cat is still young and has not experienced a carrier before this is the best time to get started. If your cat has already been in the carrier and has a negative association it may take a few extra steps which we will get to.
First and foremost – de-sensitization, this is so important when introducing an animal to any new environment or unknown situation, this step is also the easiest. Keep your new pet carrier out so that your new kitten or older cat can get used to having this around. Better yet, let them play in it, sleep in it and even put some cat treats and toys in it. This is such an easy method but is so important, especially for kittens that will quickly develop to have no fear of the carrier – they might even really grow to like it, so when it does come to using the carrier your cat will be quite comfortable.
If you have a cat that already dislikes the cat carrier, you may have to work a little harder. Firstly keep the carrier out and in sight, the longer you keep the carrier out the more your cat will start to relax by association. Start to move the carrier around, maybe close to your cats feeding area or where it likes to sit/sleep. Now your cat is slightly more relaxed having the carrier in its environment you can start trying to entice your cat to go into the carrier. This could be via putting some of its favourite treats inside or even the food bowl, toys and bedding – whichever works best for your cat. Time is important, some cats may take longer to come around than others, cats are naturally very wary of their environment and quick to distrust so give your cat plenty of time to come around.
When you do transport your pet, remember to add something from home to the carrier so they have a familiar scent. Keep the carrier dark or dim and keep car music and sound to a minimum, anything to limit your cats’ senses which will be heightened as they are in an unusual situation.
Here we have broken it down into some simple steps:
- Get the cat carrier or cat crate familiar
- Make the carrier a positive object
- Put their favourite bedding in the carrier, feed them in the carrier or provide treats when in the carrier
- Time - give your cat time to get used to having the carrier around being in the carrier (before any journeys)
- When transporting your pet - keep the carrier dark and music/sound to a minimum
- Try some natural remedies like Beaphar Calming Cat Treats or HomeoPet Tavel Anxiety Relief.