cat carrier

How to Carrier Train Your Cat for Easy Vet Visits

Our feline friends mean everything to us, and taking them to the vet is a crucial part of a long, happy, healthy life for our fur babies. However, sometimes getting our cats to the vet is the hardest part of the entire process. If you struggle with behavioral issues at the vet, or face transport-related obstacles with your cat(s), then this blog is for you!

Let’s start with the obvious- if your cat doesn’t like carriers, how are you supposed to get them to the vet? If you’re here doing your research prior to getting a cat, your first step is to create a safe place within and around the carrier from the start. This can include putting soft blankets inside, leaving the crate open and out at all times, and using calm language and tone around the carrier. Cats naturally love boxes, as they are predator AND prey so giving them a place to hide is key to helping a cats stress levels stay low.

Let’s say you have a cat and they have always hated the crate- that’s okay! With patience and consistency and a good counter-conditioning plan, you can change their mind in time. If you have a cat who hisses at the carrier, their hairs stand up, and they become aggressive or scared when it’s nearby, your first step is to start slow! Cats take time to warm up. They need some time to reconsider that what they thought was scary, is actually safe and secure. To do this, start with a couple of their favorite treats a few feet away from the carrier, then gradually increase the treats near and far. Start to focus more on treats near and inside of the carrier, eventually shifting to putting the treats all the way in the carrier. Take your time with this process, and start the steps over gradually as needed. Once your furry friend is comfortably going in and out of the carrier, gradually start training the cat to enter its crate on cue.

Okay, so all of that is done, now how do you get the cat to be okay once you shut the door? Like most things with cats, slowly! Lure your cat into the carrier by dropping treats into the vent, once your cat is comfortable going into the crate, ask them to turn forward with another treat. This step is important, as we don’t want to startle your fur baby while their back is turned. Once that step is mastered, start to close the door to the carrier, give your cat their FAVORITE treat, and open the door again. Your next step is to work towards closing the door completely, then offer the BEST treat in the house! The next step and final step is to tap on the back vent before dropping treats through, and then tap in the front of the carrier before turning him with treats. Remember, kind words and patience go a long way! Practice this routine daily until the tapping gets him in and turned forward.

Cats are incredibly intelligent creatures. They are complex and driven, curious and spontaneous, and slightly stubborn! Working with cats, like most other animals, just requires love, patience, consistency, and compassion. Each cat is different, and we’re here to help find the best path to a calm and happy life for each one.

If you are someone who has a cat who isn’t food or treat motivated, don’t worry! Treats and food aren’t the only thing to entice cats. A favorite toy or some cat nip are great alternatives to training your kitties with treats. Consulting in a Cat Behavior Specialist can help you get to the bottom of what motivates your cat; when there’s a will, there’s a way!

Whether you’re battling with how your cat behaves within the office or car, trying to figure out how to get your fur baby into a carrier, or just need some alternatives for your cat who doesn’t care about treats, a cat behavior consultant can change both of your lives for the better. Seeking advice and services from a highly trained professional will help you AND your feline friends live a happier, stress-free life – and that is priceless. Contact Pawsitive Vibes Cat Behavior and Training today!

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