Post Series: Vets Advice

It might seem easy, but not all cats are receptive to being put in a small case against their will. This advice from your vets team in Cheshire will help you pack your cat in its travel case ahead of your visit to us.

What case shall I buy?

Cat Carriers are available in a range of designs and prices, but choosing one should come down to the temperament of your cat. The easiest kind of case to use will open at the front and also at the top down the middle, which allows you to place the cat in the box and close the case over the top. In all cases you should choose a case that has a sturdy handle that won’t be likely to break or snap when you are carrying your cat – remember that a traumatic incident could have a lasting impact on them.

Considerations when carrying your cat

Cat carriers

Carriers provide safety for both client and cat during transport,24 and often give a cat a sense of security by being hidden in a secure, closed container. Surveys are ongoing to determine the best attributes of carriers. They should, however, be sturdy, secure and stable for the cat, easy for the client to carry, and quiet so that opening the carrier does not startle the cat. Some cats like to see out, whereas others are less anxious when covered. The design should permit easy removal of the cat if it will not come out on its own, or should allow the cat to be easily examined in the bottom of its carrier. A removable top is useful for fearful and fear-aggressive cats, as well as for sick, painful or limited-mobility cats.

Training the cat to use the carrier

The goal is for the cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences and routinely enter it voluntarily. Make the carrier a familiar part of furniture at home, with soft bedding for comfort. If the cat responds favorably to treats, catnip and/or toys, place these in the open carrier as positive reinforcement to encourage the cat to enter the carrier at home. Some owners may find it helpful to train the cat to enter the carrier using a word or clicker as a cue. Individual cats respond differently to treats; use them if that makes the cat less stressed or anxious.

Getting an unwilling cat into the carrier

If the cat has not been accustomed to the carrier at the time a veterinary visit is imminent, plan a strategy that will work with the type of carrier and the home environment. Putting the carrier in a small room with few hiding places may encourage the cat to choose the carrier. Consider use of a synthetic feline facial pheromone (FFP) analog spray in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transport to help calm the cat. Open the carrier and place familiar bedding, a toy and/or treat inside. Encourage the cat to enter the carrier voluntarily. Do not chase the cat to get it into the carrier. If needed, remove the top of the carrier while encouraging the cat to go into the bottom tray, then calmly replace the top.

Transporting the carrier in a vehicle

Prior to any scheduled veterinary visit, practice lifting the carrier and getting it in and out of the car. Try this first without the cat, to be sure that there isn’t too much jostling or knocking of the carrier, and then with the cat inside. During travel secure the carrier by placing it on the floor or by using a seatbelt, because a moving carrier can frighten the cat. Placing a towel over the carrier can prevent visual arousal.

You can find more advice and instructional videos like this one on our advice page and across the site. To make Knutsford Veterinary Surgery your new vets in Cheshire, register your pet today. Knutsford Vets also offer a cat only clinic between 4pm-6pm on Tuesday afternoons.