Help! My Cat Hates Her Carrier!
How to get her in without getting mangled 😬
Traveling with your cat can be a total pain, especially if she refuses to get inside her carrier.
All you want to do is make your cat comfortable in the very thing she needs for a safe ride in the car.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Vanessa Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets in New York City, to find out how to get your cat to actually enjoy her carrier.
Why your cat hates her carrier
The main reason your cat might dislike being in her carrier is because she associates it with things that aren’t exactly pleasant.
“Many times, it is because the only time they are placed in it [or] taken out of the house is to go to the vet's, which is not always a fun experience for them,” Dr. Spano told The Dodo.
These negative associations could also include physical ailments, like car sickness.
“Additionally, if they are moved around a lot in the carrier or associate it with, for example, a car ride, and they experience motion sickness, they may associate being in there with not feeling well,” Dr. Spano explained.
It’s also possible that the carrier you have makes your cat physically uncomfortable.
So when you’re looking for a case, make sure you’re getting the right size.
“It should be large enough for your kitty to get up and turn around, or at least 1.5 [times] the length of the kitty from tip of the nose to their tail,” Dr. Spano said.
You also want to make sure your carrier will make your cat feel nice and secure.
How to get your cat in her carrier
According to Dr. Spano, the trick is to start with a clean slate.
“Get a brand-new, comfortable carrier, so that there are no pre-formed negative associations,” she said. “Associate this new carrier with only positive things, such as her favorite treats, toys, bedding, etc. This is to encourage her to investigate it on her own without being forced.”
It’s important that you don’t ever force your cat into her carrier, because that will cause negative associations.
Instead, leave the carrier out every day, and make sure to praise your BFF when she goes over to check it out.
“Anytime you catch your kitty investigating her carrier, reward her immediately,” Dr. Spano said. “Then, she may connect the dots that this is a happy place and hang around it more often.”
And if you even see her sitting or lying in the carrier on her own you should definitely reward her, because that’s a huge step, and a sign that she’s getting comfortable.
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