How to Get a Cat Into a Carrier in 4 Simple Steps
If you ask any cat owner what they dread most about owning a cat, they’ll give you a pretty short list.
Cats are adorable, after all.
But we’re sure that ‘putting him in his carrier’ is one of the top 3 pet peeves of any cat owner.
So we turned to cat experts to find out how to get a cat into a carrier. They gave us their opinions and shared their top tips.
Let’s find out what they had to say.
How to Get Your Cat Into a Carrier in 4 Steps
If you have an upcoming visit to the vet, try these steps at least a week in advance. The more time you allow your cat to become more comfortable with the carrier, the better!
Step 1: Familiarize Your Cat With the Carrier
Place the carrier somewhere your cat likes to play and is familiar with. If the carrier has a removable top, this would be a good time to remove it. Spray the insides with a pheromone spray to make the carrier smell more friendly.
Put your cat’s favorite non-slip blanket on the bottom of the carrier. It’ll comfort and calm him down. Having a towel also prevents him from jiggling inside the carrier when you’re on the move.
Step 2: Going Inside
Each day, bring in his food, water, and snacks closer and closer to the opening of the carrier.
After that, put his treats inside the carrier and encourage him to go in. You can also put in a couple of his favorite toys. This step should be repeated until he feels safe going in on his own.
The next step is to replace the top cover. Make sure your cat isn’t inside the carrier when you do this to avoid freaking him out.
During the training, remember to leave the carrier door open all the time. Also, keep his towel, toys, and snacks inside the carrier. Encourage him physically and verbally anytime he enters inside. Hearing your praise will boost his confidence and make him feel safer.
Step 3: Closing the Door
Now it’s time to start training your cat to be comfortable with the idea of having the door closed. The best way to do this is to talk to your cat in a calm, soothing voice. According to the latest research, cats can understand the changes in your intonation. So if you’re calm, he’ll be so as well.
Start by closing the door just for a couple of seconds. Then, open it and reward him for his good behavior.
The next day, keep the door closed for a longer period. Keep ramping up the time each day until you can keep it closed for several minutes at a time.
Step 4: Walk Around Your House
Once your cat feels comfortable being in a closed carrier, carry him around, going from room to room.
Do this for a few minutes each day. This way, when it’s time to leave the house, he’ll be as cool as a cucumber and won’t give you any problems.
Don’t Have Time? Try These Quick Tips
What if you don’t have time to train your cat to love his carrier? Maybe an accident comes up, leaving your cat in need of immediate medical attention.
We’ll show you two methods you can use to safely put your cat in the carrier yourself. It’s important to remember that the quicker you act, the better the outcome. If you hesitate, your cat will get nervous. He can probably slip out of your hands and make a run for it.
First, make sure his blanket is inside the carrier to give him a sense of safety. Spraying the inside of the carrier with artificial pheromones will also make him feel comfortable.
Try the ‘Head-First’ Method
This technique is usually reserved for feisty cats. It makes it easier to get their head and paws inside as quickly as possible. This method reduces the risk of having your cat run away or nip at your hands.
Follow these tips for placing your cat head-first in the carrier.
- Put one hand on his chest, while keeping the other supporting his bottom.
- Quickly, but gently, guide his head inside with one hand as you drive his body with the other.
- Securely lock the door.
Or Use the ‘Bottom-First’ Method
The bottom-first technique is a better choice if your cat is naturally calm and obedient.
Here’s how to do it:
- Put the carrier with the door facing upwards toward the ceiling.
- Hold your cat’s back legs in one hand, and his front legs with the other. You can wrap him in a towel to make him feel safer. The towel also prevents him from jumping out of your arms.
- Gently, but firmly, lower his back legs into the carrier.
- Once his head is safely inside, close the door. Make sure it’s locked securely, and don’t worry about the towel.
General Tips to Improve your experience.
While attempting to get your cat into the carrier, keep an eye on him for signs of distress. You want him to feel safe in the carrier rather than conveying the sense of punishment.
Cats are creatures of habit. If you’re consistent with the previous steps, your cat will quickly fall into the habit of casually going in and out of the carrier without any problem.
Another thing to remember is that cats are in tune with your emotions.
If you’re stressed and impatient with him, you won’t get anywhere. Also, your cat learns better from positive reinforcement. So be generous with your affection and treats.
Pick a Convenient Carrier
The most ideal carriers are those that can come apart. When the top half can be separated from the bottom half, it makes the process much easier.
By being able to remove the top, you can get your cat in or out without causing too much trauma for either of you.
Furthermore, this design makes doctor visits go much smoother.
If your cat is afraid or nervous, he doesn’t even have to leave his carrier.
The vet can examine your cat while he’s still inside the carrier.
Get the Right Size
Look for a carrier that has enough space for your cat to turn around while inside the carrier.
This way, he won’t feel like he’s restrained.
The carrier should also be big enough to accommodate a towel on the bottom.
It should also be spacious enough for a couple of your cat’s favorite toys.
Keeping the Carrier Clean
When nervous or scared, cats release stress hormones. So it’s better to clean the inside of the carrier with a biological cleaning solution each time your cat uses the carrier. Let it air dry thoroughly.
Cats get nervous when they have to leave the house. They’d rather stay in, nap, and relax on their cushiony bed.
But cats love a routine.
By including the carrier into your cat’s daily routine, you’ll eliminate the struggle of having to force him into the carrier once it’s time to leave the house.
Now that you’ve read our tips on how to get a cat into a carrier, you’ve become an expert!