Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Creating positive associations with a cat carrier helps make car trips easier and safer

So many times over a cat's life, they'll need to make a trip in a vehicle to various places, often the vet's office.

It's safest and easiest to transport them in a cat carrier, but for so many felines, the mere sight of the contraption can trigger a sense of angst, and getting them into it can be a struggle.

The key to making it as easy as possible is to, first, start them as young as possible, and to always create a positive association with the carrier as possible.

There are some easy ways to create that association, and once you achieve that, transporting them in a mindful way is important, too.

Positive associations are crucial with every pet, but especially cats. To do this with a carrier, introduce it by the simple act of leaving it out in an area of the house that they find favorable, with the carrier door open so that they can explore it at will.

Placing a comfortable blanket, a towel or — depending on the size of the carrier, a cat bed — inside can be enticing. Try leaving a favorite toy inside, some catnip and maybe a few treats. Feeding your pet inside the carrier may seal the deal.

When the time comes to take a trip, the way you lift and carry the carrier will make all of the difference in how comfortable the animal stays throughout its time inside.

Lift and carry the carrier by the sides, the rims or underneath to provide stability, rather than by the handle. Using the handles may be convenient but allows for a swinging movement, which a cat can find unsettling.

Once in the car, driving as steadily as possible makes good sense, obviously, but before departing, consider securing the carrier in the backseat by putting the seat belt through the handles or around the carrier, adjusting as needed. This promotes stability during sudden stops, and in the event of an accident, your delicate furry friend will have an added measure of safety.

Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

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