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Mar 30, 2021

6 min. read

If you’re a cat owner, you’ve likely experienced how hard it can be to get your cat into a pet carrier. Fortunately, you don’t need to do this on a daily basis. But if you take your cat for car rides, you will want them to be safe and secure. While it’s easiest to introduce your pet to a carrier at an early age, it’s not too late to start. To get your cat comfortable in their carrier,  follow these tips:

Change your cat’s association with the carrier (if s/he has a negative association with it). Take the door off your carrier and place it inside your cat’s favourite room. Lightly spray with feline pheromone spray to encourage exploration.

Encourage your cat to go near the carrier. Place your cat’s favourite treats near their carrier. Once your pet becomes interested in these, slowly start moving the treats towards the front of the carrier. When ready, place the treats inside.

Practise closing the carrier door. When your cat is comfortable going inside the carrier, close the door for a few seconds. Then, open it and offer a treat. Add this to your training routine.

A woman petting a calico cat on the floor.

Get your cat comfortable in the car. Once your cat is comfortably in the carrier, bring it out to the car. Sit inside with them for a few minutes, without turning the engine on. Repeat until your cat is content in the car.

Turn the engine on but don’t go anywhere. See if your cat is okay with the engine being on. If so, go for a short ride around the block.

A blue and white cat carrier sitting in the back seat of a car.

What you do is just as important as what you don’t. So, try to avoid the following while training your cat.

When your cat won’t go in headfirst, gently help them back in. If your pet needs gentle coaxing, try turning them around and letting them back into the carrier.

Try to keep the carrier steady. Swinging the carrier or bumping into doors can startle your pet. Always support the bottom of the carrier with one hand.

A loose cat in the car can be dangerous. Traffic accidents can occur when panicked cats crawl under your feet or jump onto your lap while you are driving. For both your safety, secure your cat in their travel carrier and secure the carrier with a seatbelt.

Place the carrier on your lap or on a seat at the clinic. Cats prefer to be at or above eye level of any dog that may enter the veterinary office.

In an emergency, wrap your cat-including their head-in a towel or blanket. Then gently place them into the carrier.

A cat is sitting in a grey carrier.

Remember, practise makes purrfect.

Always reward your cat after training with a snuggle or a treat. Try to stay calm and patient during the process. If you’re stressed, your cat will pick up on your feelings and become even more resistant to going in the carrier. With a little training, you should be able to quickly get your cat to enjoy road trips or the short trip to the vet.

A woman kissing a cat in front of a window.

Your pet is a part of your family, so be sure to protect them. CAA Pet Insurance1 is an affordable way to help cover the costs of vet visits, medications and more. Coverage can begin any time after eight weeks of age. Have questions? Call us at 1-866-757-2922.

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