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Carrier training my cat...

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey all,


I've started to try to carrier train my cat after a unfortunate incident where when I tried to get her in her carrier (twice) in one night, she ended up peeing because she was so frightened. The time before that when I successfully got her in her carrier I took her on a noisy bus, and then to get fixed. So she obviously has scary memories associated with the damn thing. She is also a rescue, but I don't know much about her background. It's never been easy for me to get her in her carrier but she had never peed before until now. 

Anyway, on some suggestions to carrier train little miss, people told me to put out the carrier like it's a piece of furniture. I initially put it in the living room yesterday night, where she always hangs out with me, usually on her cat tree. She basically disappeared to under the bed the whole night in my bedroom and later sat on top of my bed, but did not leave the bedroom the entire night and slept with me. This morning she followed me out as she usually does to get fed, but was fearful of the carrier and ran past it to her food. I decided maybe it was too soon for it to be close to her cat tree where she spends most of her time, so I moved it to the kitchen in the corner. Once she saw me move it, again she dashed for the bedroom. I calmed her down a bit, gave her a little bit of food in the bedroom but left the rest of the food out in the living room in her slow feeder. Then left for work for the day. She usually greets me at the door as soon as I come home, but today she did not and I found her on the bed in the bedroom. She must not have left at all day because she hadn't eaten any of her dry food. I managed to carry her out to the kitchen to give her some wet food and she ate some of her dry food as well, but then she went back to the bedroom. Took a little nap with her in the bedroom, then carried her out again to her cat tree where she usually sleeps. Again she just ran back, so I carried her out once more time and this time closed the bedroom door. Now she's basically just hanging out on the window sill facing away from the carrier and just in general being anxious. She won't even stay on her tree when I bring her there and will only eat treats when I hand feed her them, instead of go towards them when I leave them on a table or on the floor. 

I hate putting my little kitty through this. But I need to carrier train her so that when I do need to take her to the vet the next time, she is not to scared and peeing everywhere. I haven't gotten Felliway yet as it doesn't appear to be available in the smaller pet stores near by me (I live in a city where big box stores are basically zoned in further parts of the city to maintain the inner city but that means that if you don't have a car, it's quite the trek). I am wondering if this is the right approach to take things or if I should get a new carrier, that she doesn't recognize and that is top loading as well. Is this normal fearful behaviour at the beginning of carrier training, or is mine a hopeless scaredy cat?

I tried leaving treats out near the carrier and in the carrier...however, I'm currently experiencing a rodent issue (my cat is not very good at being a cat....she can't catch rodents worth her life) so I'm pretty sure the rodents just ate the treats that I left out yesterday. 

post #2 of 3

Your little cat is a scaredy but she is not hopeless.  The carrier is obviously very distressing to her but if you can find a spot not too immediately threatening for her and leave it there until she is no longer anxious about it then you can start with some of the other strategies like attracting her closer to it with snacks or games. (Keep the snacks to play when you are with her so you don't encourage those rodents). Once she can be closer to it without panicing you could try moving it but don't rush her with that, let her take her own time.  It could be a slow process for her to learn that this carrier is not always evil but slow is more likely to help her.  I had to keep my carrier out all the time with my vet phobic cat as the slightest incling the carrier was being moved was enough to turn her into a flying banshee racing around the tops of the walls.  It is a horribly distressing experience when a cat is that afraid but from my experience with snowleopard I believe you can get there, it just might need to stay in a corner all the time once she has accepted it as a bit of furniture that does not trap her every time she sees it.


post #3 of 3

I have used the Feliway spray successfully with cats in carriers.  I spray it on a towel and then put that in the carrier.  Of course I put a puppy pad on top of that in case of accidents.  The spray really seems to help calm them down for the ride.  It works with most of our cats.  


(Having said that--I have one cat who's just scared, period.  He LOVES to be in cars--every day when hubby comes home from work he will jump into his car, explore around, etc.  But the minute he's in a carrier in the car--he poops his little kitty pants, guaranteed every time.)

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