It is often the case that putting your cat in a transport crate is a real sporting event! While it is advisable to get your animal used to entering it from an early age to facilitate movement and visits to the veterinarian, this is not always possible. In this case, how to do it? Discover our advice in this file.
Choosing the right transport box: the first step to success!
Forcing your pet to enter an unsuitable transport crate will be difficult and can become a real source of anxiety for him and for you. It is therefore advisable to start by investing in a suitable model to hope for success!
Indeed, start by choosing a transport box large enough for your animal, because he will have to feel good there to accept to enter and stay there without difficulty during the journeys. Your cat should be able to stand on it and turn around without a problem. It must be able to be held there entirely without twisting.
Make the crate nice by keeping it clean and putting a soft, comfortable blanket on it. Your pet should be able to feel safe there and fall asleep without worry. Do not hesitate to place a blanket or fabric that he likes, which carries his scent or yours. It will thus be more reassured.
Finally, it is advisable to choose a solid transport box, but above all practical. Prefer a system which, in addition to the front door, can be opened from above by removing the cover or the upper part. These models are more reassuring for cats, especially when they have to go for a consultation with the veterinarian or in a place that is stressful to them. You only need to remove the top to access your cat, not force it out of the crate and cause further trauma. Most veterinarians will allow the animal to remain in the lower part, which is itself placed on the consultation table if that can be reassuring.
How to teach my cat to enter his transport cage?
The easiest solution to getting a cat used to entering a transport crate is to get it used to it from a young age. A kitten habit will be much better accepted throughout the life of the animal. However, it is quite possible to teach this gesture to an adult cat, provided you show a little more patience.
Getting the animal used to the transport box step by step
As a first step, keep in mind that the transport crate must be “tamed” by the animal. Indeed, this type of cage is generally reserved for transport to unpleasant destinations for the cat, such as the vet, boarding house, long trips, the car, etc. Your cat therefore naturally tends to associate this crate with an unpleasant event and to turn away quickly as soon as it appears in his field of vision.
To avoid this natural rejection, make the transport crate a normal part of your daily life. To do this, install it open in a room of the house, preferably a living room such as the living room. If your cat is very reluctant, remove the cover completely first and wait for it to familiarize itself with the object before putting it back on and only keep the door open.
Put a nice blanket in the crate and place toys he likes or treats in it. If you find your cat going there, praise him by petting him and talking to him in a soft voice. The objective of this very simple step is to allow him to associate the transport crate with a positive event.
You can enhance the experience by spraying the cage with an anti-stress solution based on pheromones. Your cat will get there more easily and will be able to feel safer and more peaceful. You can repeat this broadcast before each outing to facilitate transport.
This new habit can take days, weeks, or even months, depending on your cat’s character and apprehension. Either way, be patient and never force him into it because you’ll have to start all over again!
What if your cat still refuses to enter?
Unfortunately, some cats refuse to enter the carrier despite your attempts and patience. This can be explained by a trauma which led the animal to associate the crate with a very disturbing, even violent event. However, you may be forced to carry it anyway, before the “taming” is done. In this case, how to do it?
First, arrange your cat’s favorite food or treats in the crate. This can attract him naturally.
If you are not successful, place your transport crate upright with the open door up. Gently grab your cat and bring him in through the back of his body first, then close the hatch once he’s inside. Remember to always start by entering the back of his body first, it will be less traumatic than starting with the head.
If you still cannot, contact your veterinarian. Your doctor can prescribe a sedative that will make it easier for your cat to get into his cage.
If, however, your cat suddenly begins to refuse the transport cage, this may be due to the fact that he associates it with a particular event, such as a previous surgery or a painful injury for example. In that case, buy a new one with a different design and let it get used to it smoothly. As for your old transport crate, if it is in good condition, do not throw it away and give it to an animal protection association or to a refuge!