Do you know that? The velvet paw lies sound asleep on the sofa. You leave the room to get the carrier for the upcoming vet appointment, only to return two minutes later to find that the cat has disappeared without a trace. Cats seem to have a sixth sense for when the pet carrier comes into play. The container is usually linked to unpleasant experiences, usually a visit to the vet or a trip to an unknown destination.
Cats don’t appreciate this kind of loss of control at all and will do anything to avoid the carrier. As the owner, you have a choice: either you go looking for the invisible cat and invest a lot of time and nerves to get it out of its hiding place and into the box. Or you cancel the vet appointment. So that it doesn’t come to that, we give you helpful tips to relax the relationship between the cat and the transport box.
This is how you make the transport box more interesting for your cat
For cats, the transport box is often a symbol of an involuntary change of location with unpleasant associations. Such a link is reinforced if the cat only ever sees the transport container on unpleasant occasions. You can avoid this by integrating the box into the animal’s environment.
How to make the carrier more interesting for your cat:
- Living room furniture: Set up the transport box in the apartment in such a way that it is a natural part of the inventory and is always open.
- Snuggle Cave: Cats love caves to hide in. Make the transport box attractive. A cuddly pillow looks inviting.
- Snack bar: Hide a treat in the transport box from time to time. In this way, the cat recognizes that it is worth checking the box from time to time.
- Smell: You can add interest to the transport basket with catnip or pheromone sprays. Or you can put a piece of clothing with your smell in the box for your cat. The familiar scent soothes.
- Privacy protection: Many cats appreciate having a good view of the outside when being transported through the lattice door, but others then get really nervous. In this case, provide visual protection, for example with a towel.
If the velvet paw accepts the transport box as a normal piece of furniture, it becomes much easier to lure it in when necessary and then to close the door inconspicuously: A treat as bait usually helps so that the animal does not become suspicious. With good preparation, you can save yourself and the cat the transport box drama. It is important that you quickly integrate the cat basket back into the living area after returning from the vet. Clean the box to remove veterinary office odors. Be sure to keep up this routine. It may take a few days for the cat to trust the transport box again, but they will not generally associate it with bad experiences.
How big does a cat carrier have to be?
When buying a cat carrier, you should choose a model that has a removable top cover. This makes handling the cat easier. The transport box must also be large enough for the cat to sit comfortably in it – large cat breeds need an XXL version. However, never transport more than one cat per box, because in the event of a panic, the animals cannot avoid each other. The closures of the box should be easy to use, but should not be able to be opened by the cat with clever paws. Also, make sure that the handle allows for comfortable carrying.
As an alternative to the transport box made of sturdy plastic, there are transport bags for cats that look like sports bags. In addition to being lighter, these bags have the advantage that they are flexible, for example, if you want to put the cat under your chair in the waiting room. Some cats like the movable floors, others don’t like them at all. Both the bag and the plastic box should be easy to clean.
Which transport boxes are suitable for longer trips?
A visit to the vet that involves traveling by car or bus is not the only occasion when the cat has to be put into the transport box. Even if a train journey or even a flight is pending – for example on a vacation trip – it is unavoidable that the cat has to stay in the transport basket for a while.
Transport boxes up to a format of 55 x 40 x 20 cm (IATA approval) can be taken into the cabin on an airplane. The box and cat together must not weigh more than 8 kilograms. A cat traveling with you must also be registered with the airline in good time.
For a long journey by car, train or bus, you need a larger box where the cat can stretch out comfortably. Since the cat cannot leave the transport box for a toilet break, you can put absorbent sanitary pads or a travel cat toilet in the basket; There are disposable toilets made of compostable cardboard for this purpose. Bowls that can be attached to the box for travel are also part of the travel accessories.