Your cat should always come to the vet in a carrier. This is for their safety and comfort and is the safest for car travel.
How do you choose a good cat carrier? Look for a carrier that is:
- Big enough for your cat to lie down and turn around in but not much bigger so your cat still feels safe.
- Has at least 2 openings.
- Is quick and easily opened with snaps or hinges instead of screws or pegs that can be lost and take time to remove and reattach. At the clinic some cats may be more comfortable being examined while they sit in the base of their carrier when the lid is removed.
- Hard sided may be better than soft since some cats get car sick and this makes for easier cleaning. Soft carriers also wear down faster and are not as sturdy or supportive, and some cats may scratch or tear holes.
It is also important to help your cat become comfortable with the carrier. To do this:
Keep the carrier out so your cat can have access to it and see it regularly. If your cat feels comfortable with the carrier, it will make it much easier to put your cat into the carrier when needed.
Cats prefer elevated surfaces so try putting it on top of something secure rather than on the floor.
Make the carrier cozy with a favourite blanket or bed, you can also add some treats or toys.
Feed and play with your cat in or near the carrier.
When carrying the carrier: carry with 2 hands, one on each side, holding the carrier like a box with something delicate inside. This is much more secure feeling than carrying with 1 hand or swinging from a handle.
Try a cat pheromone spray like Feliway which you can spray on a towel or blanket that is put inside the carrier. Putting a towel or blanket over the carrier can also help your cat feel more secure. Feliway can be purchased at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic. Cat pheromone sprays help cats feel safe and secure. To learn more about Feliway visit: https://www.feliway.com/ca_en
It is best to have only 1 cat per carrier.
When your cat seems comfortable, try taking them for a short ride in the car in their carrier, then back home. This way your cat can associate the carrier and car rides with things other than always going to the vet.
Best placement for the carrier in the car is securely on the floor behind the passenger seat.
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