Choosing a suitable carrier

When buying a cat carrier it should meet your cat’s needs in terms of practicality, safety and security.

  • The carrier should have a handle to provide extra support but should never be held solely by this as unstable jerky movements can cause distress to your cat. This can be prevented by placing a hand underneath for support.
  • There should be at least one door to the front of the carrier, but the option of a door on the roof may help with ease of getting in and out of carrier, although voluntary entry is always favoured.
  • It is strongly recommended that the carrier can be disassembled while the cat is still in the base. This is usually achieved via side clips that allow the removal of the top half of the carrier and the door. It NOT RECOMMENDED to pull, tip or manhandle your cat out of the carrier.
  • It is advisable to get a plastic carrier, so it is easy to clean and durable. Non-fragranced product such as washing up liquid and water are preferred for washing the carrier to reduce new or strange smells which may cause anxiety in your cat.

Socialising your cat with the carrier

Socialising your cat with its carrier should be done in stages and at any point the cat becomes distressed you should stop and try again later.

  • First the carrier should be introduced base only.
  • Put nice familiar bed or blanket it to add familiar smells
  • It should be placed out of the way but visible so the cat can see but is not confronted with a foreign scary object in its route through the house
  • Treats should be placed leading the cat to the carrier as a lure, but the cat must not be forced to approach it
  • When cat is fully comfortable being in the base of the carrier the lid may be introduced, but not whilst the cat is in it
  • Again treating and rewarding until the cat is completely comfortable, some cats may even choose to use this as their safe place or hide away
  • Once the cat is completely comfortable, attach the door and leave open until the cat is again fully comfortable
  • Then closing the door and opening again, without leaving cat shut in, again treating to reward the cat
  • Leave the door closed for longer each time before beginning to move carrier with the cat

Socialising your cat with movement of the carrier

Gradually increase periods of moving the carrier with the cat inside, making sure that they are not distressed. If they seem distressed, try again later. Make sure that you support the carrier from the bottom rather than just carrying it using the handle.

Socialising your cat with the car

Gradually build up time in the car. Start with a few minutes in a stationary car and build up to short journeys and then the journey to the vet.

Please ensure your cat is securely within a carrier whenever they are in the car. NEVER TRAVEL WITH YOUR CAT LOOSE IN THE CAR.

At the vets

Whiskers Vets is a Silver accredited ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic. We have an area of our waiting room dedicated to cats and we have a ‘cat parking area’ so that the carrier can be placed on a raised shelf to reduce stress. We also have and recommend placing a Pet Remedy infused towel (provided) over the carrier in the waiting area to reduce stress.