Cat Tips: Getting Kitty Into the Carrier

To celebrate National Cat Week, we are hosting a reprise of Ingrid’s virtual cat book talk taking place on Wednesday, November 8, at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT and 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. This event will be a pre-recorded video livestreamed from a PETA webpage and includes an encore presentation of Ingrid’s cat book talk and the introduction from Ashley Frohnert. Register for the free event today!

Who among us cat lovers has not struggled when our cats run and hide when we try to get them into the carrier for another checkup or move? Below are some helpful ideas outlined in Ingrid Newkirk’s book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You to make the process a little easier … for both parties involved!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it! If kitty is comatose, it is; or if your cat is used to sleeping in the carrier or finding a cache of favorite treats hidden inside it. But if kitty is halfway functional and only used to going to the vet in that thing, getting her into the carrier without losing clawmark-size parts of your shoulder is as simple as making something edible out of garden mulch. You will have to call on your powers of persuasion and, possibly, deceit.

Because cats can see, don’t parade about with carrier in hand or get it noisily out of the closet. Subtlety and speed are called for here. Plan your maneuver carefully first. And don’t smile too much. The cat’s no fool. Try to act as if nothing’s up.

1. Make sure the carrier bottom is comfy, not lumpy, barren, cold (don’t store it in the potting shed), or lined with thin paper. A warm towel makes a good floor covering.

2. Make sure the door works well and closes tightly. If necessary, oil the hinges. There may be a time and place for fumbling, but as on a date, this isn’t it.

3. Try to ever-so-quietly get the carrier as near as possible to the cat without the cat seeing it. This means that once you pick the cat up, there isn’t far to go. Keep the carrier at chest level (yours) so that you don’t have to bend down at a crucial moment.

4. Pick Tiddles up, facing away from the carrier and, talking gently to her so that she will  trust you again, move backwards if necessary, until you are just in front of the carrier.

5. Back her into the carrier, gently but firmly. Before you let go, keep one hand inside the carrier at her face level to stop her from dashing out as energetically as she would if given a clear view of the escape hatch.

6. Slip a little treat in through the bars.

7. Latch. Cover carrier with a towel. Pick carrier up evenly (some people seem to instantly forget there’s a cat onboard and start swinging it about, banging it into doors, holding it at weird angles, and otherwise misbehaving).

8. Depart. Do not be tempted, for any reason, to open the carrier until you are safely shut in a room somewhere.

There. Easy wasn’t it?

Do you have any other tips for getting a cat into a carrier? Share them with us in the comments below!