If getting your cat into his carrier is a clawing nightmare, you may not have the right carrier for your pet. The type of carrier you have may greatly affect his desire to get into it as well as his comfort while traveling.
Cats unhappy about their surroundings in a car or other moving vehicle may howl, yowl, experience stress and be generally miserable. If you must take your cat to the veterinarian, the stress experienced from the trip may raise his pulse and breathing rate, and may even cause exaggerated glucose (sugar) readings on his blood tests.
The type of carrier also may affect how easily you are able to transport your cat. When purchasing a carrier, give careful consideration to your needs and those of your cat.
Getting the Right Carrier
One of the most important considerations is the size of the carrier. Is it large enough for your cat? Squeezing big Ben into a carrier that was made for tiny Tim will reduce Ben's desire to travel. If you adopted a cute little kitten, consider getting a carrier that will accommodate him as an adult rather than a small carrier that you will have to replace in a year or two. In addition, all carriers must have a few standard features.
Soft-sided construction. Carriers are more likely to soften any blow to your cat from sliding or jostling during a trip, but they also may have less ventilation and less room to move around. In warm weather, a soft-sided carrier may be too warm. For agoraphobic cats that prefer to become invisible when they are taken on a ride, the smaller, more enclosed size of a soft-sided carrier may help make the cat feel more secure. On short trips, such as to the veterinarian's office, a soft-sided carrier may be fine for your cat and easier for you to handle.
A soft-sided carrier is difficult to clean if your cat has a potty-accident while being transported. Soft-sided carriers usually come with straps that can be positioned around your neck or over your shoulder. Avoid backpack-style carriers or those that allow the pet's head to extend out the top. Cats should be observed rather than be carried behind one's back, and they can easily escape carriers that don't close completely.
Cat Carrier Tips
Let your cat become accustomed to his carrier. Leave the carrier open in an accessible place every so often. Put a comfortable bed or blanket inside so your cat will venture in to sleep. Once in the carrier, give your cat some treats (or catnip) so he will associate being inside with something positive.
When it is time for your cat to be placed in the carrier, put the carrier in a room your cat normally does not frequent. Then let your cat in the room. His curious nature will make him voluntarily walk into the carrier by himself.