Spring is “vet trip” time in our house. Because it’s such a traumatic experience (maybe more so for me than the cats), I try to tackle this yearly chore within one week every March or April. After spending more time wrangling each of my girls into the carrier on their respective appointment days than the vet spent conducting the exam and vaccinations, I decided to do a little research before vet trip time comes around again. Here are a few tips I found for getting a reluctant kitty into her cat carrier.
Make the carrier irresistible with a soft, fluffy towel. This sounds nice enough, but I think my cats will be more likely to venture inside if I line it with my best sweater or black wool work pants.
Place treats inside the carrier. This method requires a cat who is highly motivated by treats. I have cats who won’t even give me the time of day when I’m offering them tuna belly sashimi or king crab, though one might go in for Cheetos.
Stand the carrier on end. If, like me, you have a cat carrier that opens in the front, cat wranglers recommend standing the carrier on its end so you can lower kitty in. Then slowly rotate it so it’s right side up. If you’re lucky enough to have a cat like Maru, from Japan, she might jump right on in.
Try reverse. Other cat wranglers recommend picking up kitty and backing her into the carrier rather than trying to guide her in headfirst. Only problem with this is it puts your face closer to the teeth end.
Turn the carrier into cat furniture. Rather than stowing your carrier in a closet, in the garage or under the stairs, keep it in the living room. Put her favorite kitty bed inside. Stock it with treats. Eventually your cat will no longer see the carrier as a “negative” object and should go right in when it’s time for a trip to the vet.
How do you get your cats into their carriers? Have you tried any of the methods above? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.