Cats usually do not see their carriers as a fun place to be, and that not-so-fun things are about to go down. There are several reasons one would want to acclimate your cat to its carrier.
A simple trip to the vet could be less stressful for your cat if you try a few of these tips. Let your cat acclimate to the cat carrier at home. 

  • Leave the carrier out at all times, especially as a kitten, for a fun hiding place
  • Put a soft blanket in the bottom and put it in a sunny spot to encourage the cat to enjoy the carrier
  • Each day, place a piece of kibble or a treat in the carrier to encourage the cat to go into the carrier
  • Do not shove the cat in to eat the treats.  If they don’t eat the treat, walk away, and eventually, they will find the carrier less suspicious
  • Once the cat is comfortable going in to the carrier, gently close the door and offer a treat, then open the door back up
  • Then, once the cat is used to that, start closing the door for longer periods and moving the carrier around to another part of the house
  • After a while of doing that, start taking the cat in the car.  Start with just a short drive around the block and eventually work their way to the vet hospital for some treats and pets

Sometimes it is helpful to cover the carrier with a blanket during travel. Just make sure there is adequate airflow in the hotter months. Using Feliway spray or wipes 10 min before putting the cat in the carrier can help calm them down. Consider adding familiar bedding, toys, or treats that the cat loves to make them feel more comfortable.

Written by Dr. Sugarman