THE STAR – Cats are usually happiest in a familiar environment, content to roam the same house or neighbourhood day after day.
Ahead of a holiday or a vet appointment, they might need some convincing to leave their usual habitat, however, as new environments tend to stress them out.
If you aren’t one of those people who have trained their cat to walk on a leash, cat carriers are usually your best option to get your pet from A to B, though that still doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
Not so fast, meows the kitten, resisting fiercely as you try to manoeuvre it into the transport box.
According to veterinarian Tina Holscher, the most important thing when trying to get a cat into its carrier is keeping calm.
You should start feeding the cat inside the box a few days before you intend to use it, she recommended. Thanks to this positive experience, the cat will begin to like the carrier, the expert said.
“On the day of departure, also feed the cat inside the box, and once it’s inside, close the door,” said Holscher.
The vet also recommends lining the carrier with a slip-resistant mat, for example a doormat, which will improve the cat’s sense of security.
For the same reason, you shouldn’t stuff the box with too many toys, as they tend to roll around during the journey, which might upset your pet, according to Holscher.
During the drive, cover the carrier with a blanket, as cats feel safer in the darkness, said the vet. Meanwhile, though it might sound like a good idea, you should avoid talking to the animal while on the road.
“Reassuring chatter from the owner is useless,” said Holscher. It’s best to leave the cat alone and concentrate on taking curves as smoothly as possible, to minimise further stress.