For cats, a significant part of visiting the veterinarian is how they get there. Travel can be stressful, and while this is no comment on anyone’s driving, we do want to make sure everyone understands the importance of making our cats feel as comfortable as possible. A secure cat carrier is an important safety feature for both the driver and our pets. Some cats, unfortunately are afraid of the carrier. We can help avoid this carrier aversion by understanding what a good carrier is. There are many options in the cat carrier market, but not all of these “selling-features” are cat friendly. We’d like to explore your cat’s options.
First let’s address some misconceptions. While we may think that a soft carrier will be comfortable, your cat doesn’t! If a carrier is too soft, cats can feel unstable. Mesh carriers allow for excellent ventilation, but are see-through and make your cat feel exposed and vulnerable. As well, bigger isn’t always better as most cats prefer to feel secure in a smaller, cozier environment. There should be just enough space for them to stand up and turn around.
Ensure your carrier will be suitable for your cat throughout his or her whole life. Consider snap clasps on the top lid so that when visiting the veterinarian, we can easily remove it. For some of our senior cats this means that we may be able to examine your pet while he or she remains secure in their carrier bed.
Even with all these considerations in design, our cats can still be nervous or have negative associations with the carrier. In these cases, we must help our furry companions by treating the carrier as a common part of the environment, and a place to enjoy.
CATalyst Council provides an excellent video on how to help your cat get used to the carrier.
Here are some of our staff members favourite cat carriers!