By Jamey Walker
“Here kitty, kitty it’s time for a check-up, now lets get into your carrier”….yeah right! We all know getting a cat to go into their carrier can sometimes look like a slap-stick comedy on the part of us humans, often falling over ourselves despite our efforts to do this gracefully. Mr. Fluffy, on the other hand, is under the bed before you can even think about dusting off his carrier. How did he know?! Well, the cat always knows of course. It's part of their charm, subtle wit and perfect timing.
So what to do? Well, first give your cat a round of applause and laugh it off. They really are amazing and intelligent creatures! Second, start thinking about how you can minimize the stress when it comes to their carrier. You can do this simply by reintroducing the carrier in a positive way.
Instead of putting the carrier away after every use, keep it out in a special place. Set it up as a snugly bed or retreat. Leave the door open and start giving them treats near the carrier. If they seem stressed to even go near the dreaded thing, start by giving them treats as close as they can get to it and still feel comfortable. Once they feel more relaxed, start putting treats inside the carrier for them to find. If you see them go inside to get the treats, give them additional treats when they come out. Never close them in. Instead, let them explore the carrier under their full control. Pretty soon, they will be happily going in and out of the carrier on their own.
Some final tips: Work on this with your cat for a few minutes every day so the positive association becomes super-duper strong. Pick a time to work on this before your cat has had a meal so kitty's good and hungry. Never rush the training. Your cat is just nervous about the carrier. The more time your cat has to feel safe, the easier time you will have in the long run.. Happy training everyone!