The biggest mistake cat owners make with their pet's carrier
Just about every cat owner has to face this problem sooner or later. You need to get your cat into their carrier to visit the vet, be taken to the cattery or to travel to another home and what do you know? Your loving and ever-present cat has scooted off in the opposite direction at the speed of sound!
Even worse, when you finally locate the furry little imp after a long and protracted game of kitty hide-and-seek, the claws are out, the ears are flattened and very rude words are hissed as you try and force a rigid and resisting cat into their carrier.
How is it that your normal, loving and co-operative pet suddenly turns into a feral wildcat as soon as their carrier comes into sight?
Well, prepare yourself for a shock - it's your fault - and you probably have no idea at all that you are responsible for making The Big Mistake.
And the big mistake is..
You tidy your cat's carrier away when you've finished with it.
We're all guilty of it. Directly the stress of transporting your cat from A to B is over, the carrier gets stored in the garage, shed or cupboard out of sight and out of mind. And that is where you make the mistake. The odious carrier is hidden from view.
So, can you correct your error and wipe out your guilt? Is it possible to make the situation better? Will your cat ever accept their carrier and remain laid-back and happpy around it? Definitely - and you can start correcting your mistake the minute you've finished reading this!
- Bring the carrier out of storage and place it in a cat-friendly place.
- Place it where it is warm and can remain undisturbed.
- Line it inside with a soft blanket or cushion.
- Make it interesting by placing a favourite toy inside
- Place a few tasty morsels inside.
- Leave the door open for free access at all times.
- Keep it within your cat's everyday world.
And that's just about it. By following the above steps, you will be able to tackle changing your cat's negative associations with their carrier. Every time it comes into view, it triggers strong emotions in your cat as they will always connect the carrier with being forcefully subjected to unpleasant procedures. No wonder your cat runs off when they see it! Your task, as an owner, is to work towards changing the associations your cat has with their carrier, replacing the negative ones with good ones.
If your cat slowly comes to accept that their carrier is a normal part of everyday life, they will gradually relax when confronted with it and their resistance to being put in it will melt away. By making the carrier an attractive and comfortable place to snuggle down in, with a toy and snack to hand, your cat will soon get the idea that good things can chase away the bad memories.
Unfortunately, any trip to see the vet will inevitably cause those bad memories to be recalled but the only way to cure that particular problem is to make your vet part of your cat's everyday, normal experience. And that is just not going to be possible, is it?