How to train your cat to ride in a pet carrier?
Many pet owners love to travel with their pet and in some cases they need to transport their pet to some other locations or bring their pet to vet, in such situations pet carrier is the safest way. Pet carrier provides the safety of carrier and reduces the chances of your pet getting lost.
Trying to get your pet inside the carrier without proper training can be traumatic experience for cat. Pet carrier is an unfamiliar environment for your cat and when expose to such environment, it can be very stressful for your cat and they often respond with aggression.
Here are some tips on training your cat to ride in a pet carrier.
What carrier should you choose?
It is very important select a correct carrier. Get a pet carrier that is just right for your cat, not too big and too small.
Hard and soft sided carriers are good options with its own pros and cons. As name implies, soft sided carriers are light, small and easy to carry while hard sided carrier are sturdy and durable.
Try picking carrier that can be opened from either side and from top. This gives more options in loading and unloading your cat.
It is easier to load and unload a cat from top if it is reluctant to get inside or get outside the carrier.
Avoid using laundry basket, pillow case or cardboard boxes. These are not safe for transporting your cat.Your cat can easily escape and distract you while you are driving.
Introduce carrier to your cat
First thing, you need to consider is to make your cat comfortable in an enclosed area. This can be frightening experience for your cat so take precaution. Do not rush this step.
Place the carrier all the time in an area of the house that your cat is familiar with. This will make your pet see the carrier as a part of its living environment. You can also place the carrier in your cat’s favorite spot. This will allow your pet to explore the carrier and feel safe around it.
Make sure that door of the carrier is securely open. Place some of your cat’s blanket, pillows and toys inside the carrier. These items have his scent which will help your cat to feel safe and will also make him curious about the carrier.
If you notice that your cat has not entered the carrier even after couple of days do not feel frustrated. It is different for different cats. Some cats may just walk in and rest while some cats may take even longer period of time than your cat.
What you can do is play games with your cat. Place his favorite toy inside the carrier and tell him to find it or you can show it is inside the carrier. Once inside the carrier, pet him and make him relaxed. You can give him treats to encourage the behavior so that your cat associates carrier with pleasant experience.
Once this become more frequent and you observe that your cat is relaxed and comfortable inside the carrier, you can now work on closing the door. Pet your cat ,give him treat and slowly close the door but do not lock the door yet . Repeat closing and opening the door. And slowly, increase the time that you leave the door closed.
After your cat gets accustomed to close door, next step is to lock the door and move away. Try locking the door without any loud noise because that can startle your cat and undo all the gain achieved so far.Repeat this for couple of days until your cat is comfortable being inside the carrier in your absence.
Next step is to lift the carrier and put it down. By now, your cat should be comfortable inside the carrier with door closed but being lifted in a carrier can be upsetting for cat.
Once your cat responds calmly to being lifted, you can start walking a short distance. And with time increase the distance. Keep watchful on your cat. If your cat appears stressed, put carrier down and calm it.
Finally bring the carrier inside the car with your feline friend in it. Try out the different area of the car best suited to place your carrier because for some cats front seat floor is preferable and for some it is the back seat of the car. While inside the car, praise your cat. Do this couple of times or till your cat is comfortable getting inside the car.
Now it is time to go for a short ride. You can start with a ride just around the block. Remember starting engine noise can startle your cat. Calm down your cat if necessary.
Take your cat for ride as frequently as possible.You can gradually increase the distance of ride as your cat gets comfortable riding.
Soon you will be able to take your feline friend with you everywhere.
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