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  • Jean Gibowski, CVPM

How to Get Your Cat to Love Their Carrier

Taking a cat to the vet seems to rank with getting a root canal or having an IRS audit, but it doesn’t have to. There are a few things you can do to make the trip to the vet (or anywhere) much easier on both you and your feline friend.


The vet appointment is today and now is the time most owners drag the crate out from the basement, garage or back of the closet. It is cold, dirty and smelly…and the cat knows that the only time it comes out is when he gets shoved in it and taken to the vet! Instead, bring the crate inside at least a week in advance. Clean it out, put a soft blanket in it, and put some treats in it. Spray the blanket with Feliway, a pheromone calming spray. After all, a crate is a box and what cat doesn’t love a box? Give your kitty some time to get used it being there, and you may even find him napping in it on his own.


Make sure the carrier is big enough for your cat to be comfortable. Many people buy a small carrier when the cat is a kitten and never upgrade it, even if the cat is now 20 pounds. I don’t like the middle seat on an airplane sandwiched between two large people, your cat doesn’t like being crammed into a too small space either. Carriers that open from the top are also much easier to get a cat into.


Once in the car, make sure the crate is on the seat and stabilized. Cats don’t like roller coaster rides on the way to the vet! Rolling a towel to put under the front of the crate to keep it level if it is on the seat works very well to keep the cat from sliding forward.


Your vet can also offer you anxiety-relieving medication to give your cat the day before and the day of the appointment to help take the edge off and keep your cat more comfortable. Taking your cat to the vet doesn’t have to be an ordeal with a little preparation.


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