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5 ways to familiarise your cat with a cat carrier

When you take your cat to the vet, transporting them in a cat carrier is the safest way for them to travel. It will ensure yours and their safety whilst in the car. It’s a good idea to familiarise your cat with a carrier prior to using it out of the house so that they are more relaxed when the time comes to using it out and about.

1. Introduce the carrier

Leave the new carrier in your home with the door open so that your cat can explore it in their own time. Do not force your cat to go inside the carrier as this will create negative connotations and will mean your cat is less likely to use it in the future. Place it in a room in the house where your cat spends most of its time so that they can become familiar with it as quickly as possible.

2. Add scent

Add your scent and your cat’s scent to the interior of the carrier. You can do this by rubbing your cat’s face with a cloth and wiping it around the inside of the carrier and placing one of your t-shirts inside. Familiar smells make a cat more trusting of a new object.

3. Offer treats

Placing treats or your cat’s food bowl inside the carrier can tempt them inside and create a positive experience for them. This will help your cat to associate going into the carrier with a reward. If your cat is unsure about going inside the carrier, tempt them up to the opening by placing treats closer and closer to the carrier before placing a few treats inside.

4. Make it comfortable

Place a blanket and one or two small toys in the carrier so that your cat feels comfortable and entertained whilst they are travelling in the carrier. The blanket can also soak up any accidents that might occur.

5. Offer extra help to nervous cats

If your cat is still wary of entering the carrier by the time you get around to using it for real for the first time, you can spray the inside of the carrier with a Feliway pheromone diffuser spray. Spray the inside of the carrier 30 minutes prior to putting your cat inside. If your cat won’t go in of their own accord, turn the carrier on its end and lower your cat gently inside before righting it slowly.

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