Most cats learn to hate carriers because they associate the carrier with a bad experience – it comes out once a year or so, and means a trip to the vet’s office!
But a carrier is an important part of life for our feline friends, so here are some tips for helping your cat learn to like the carrier:
- Start by just leaving your carrier out in the house, so your cat can get used to it. Open it up, and block the door, so that your cat can investigate if they want to.
- Make the carrier attractive to your cat – add some comfy bedding, and then a favorite toy or some catnip.
- Once your cat is feeling comfortable with the carrier, try closing the door for a few minutes while she is inside – leave the room, and come back and give her a treat when you open it back up.
- Once she is feeling comfortable with that process, try walking around the house for a few minutes once you have closed the door. Then, set it down, and give her a treat again when you open it back up.
- When that part is going well, try taking for her a short drive – even just around the block – and reward her again with a treat once you’re back inside. Your cat will learn that the carrier and the car don’t always mean a trip to the scary vet.
Before you get kitten home, there are a few things you will want to do to make sure your home is safe and secure for your new addition.
- Close off all areas that a kitten can get into. Many kittens have been lost for a time because they are afraid in their new surroundings.
- Designate one room where your kitten can stay to get acquainted with her new surroundings. Make it a fun place with new toys, a new bed and litter box so that he understands that this is his room. Once acquainted, usually after a week, let your kitten begin to explore other areas with your supervision. If there are other pets, gradually introduce them to your new kitten. Wait a few weeks so that your kitten gets confident and comfortable in his new surroundings.
- Get your kitten on a schedule as soon as possible. Regular feeding, grooming and play time gives your kitten a sense of order and security. Refrain from over-handling.
- Be sure to kitten-proof other areas. Just like babies, they love putting things in their mouth. Make sure that electric cords are unplugged and that there are no other hazards in the vicinity. You may have to get on the floor to “see” what your kitten sees. Having plenty of appropriate toys around will focus your kitten on the right things.
Have fun as you introduce your kitten to his new surroundings and he will soon realize that this is his forever home where he can grow and have comfort and support for a lifetime