Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | February 11, 2009

Careful With Cat Carriers

Gorgeous Ginger

Gorgeous Ginger

My name is Ginger and I am a lovely feline here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter.  I am very excited for the day, (will it be today?!?!?), when my new family walks in the shelter door and chooses me for their new lifetime companion.  I don’t necessarily look forward to the having to get into cat carrier for the ride home, but I don’t know any cats that particularly care for that experience.  Thus for this week’s pet column I would like to share some secrets with all cat parents for making the travel experience more pleasant for your feline friends.

Often times the stress of just seeing a cat carrier can set many cats off and it becomes a battle of wits and patience for a cat parent to coax their cat into it.  And if it were an emergency and you were trying to leave the house in a hurry, good luck.  So the best practice is just that, to practice and allow your cat to become well adjusted to being in the carrier.  Simple foresight and training are all that are required.

Cats fear confinement and are not taught to be contained so the focus should be on making it as positive an experience as possible, preventing it from becoming a major stressor for you and your cat.  Simple conditioning such as placing an open carrier in the home, accessible to your cat but not amidst heavy traffic, can often create huge changes in your cat’s stress reaction to the carrier. 

Place your cat’s bedding or blankets in the carrier to make it enticing and more safe and comfortable.  Sprinkle catnip on the bedding and/or place favorite cat toys upon it, increasing the potential for your cat to derive a pleasant association from the carrier.  Offer your cat special treats or small meals in the carrier as well.

Assuring that your carrier is large enough for your cat is also important.  Make sure your cat has ample room to stand and to turn around inside the carrier.  Also for longer car trips the carrier will need to accommodate a litter box and water bowl.  However, utilizing too large of a carrier increases the likelihood of your cat being thrown about the sides of the carrier – so don’t overdo it.

Using the carrier only for delivering your cat to and from veterinarian appointments is a sure way of conditioning your cat to dislike the carrier.  Thus your cat may benefit from short trips in the carrier which end with a yummy treat back at home.  Although, if you have a cat that is just normally fearful, it may not make a difference and may simply stress your cat out regardless of where you go or end up.

Although you likely won’t ever condition your cat to like being in a carrier, you can reduce the stress of the event through making the carrier less foreign and fear inducing.  Personally, I am prepared to brave the challenges of being in a cat carrier if it means that I will be heading toward my new forever home.  As a young and rather gorgeous cat with a gentle and loving nature, I can’t think of a better destination.

Purrs, Ginger

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Questions for next week’s column can be sent to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

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