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Distressed cat!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I have a male Maine Coon who is 15 months old. My probem, or his problem is that he gets VERY distressed when in his cat carrier. He throws himself about trying to escape which results in him hurting himself. It upsets me to see him like this and I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips for trying to calm him down on those essential visits to the vet. Thanks
post #2 of 13
Hi Elaine!
Is he afraid of his carrier? Has he had a bad experience with it, like being dropped when he was in it? One thing that I would suggest is leaving the carrier out on the floor where he can sniff it and play in it and maybe even sleep in it so that he gets more familiar with it. That way when he gets put in it, he won't become so distressed and hopefully he won't mind being in there. Good luck!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello there

Barney has had no bad experiences in it. I did try bringing it into the house and leaving it open a few days before the vet trip, he was not scared of it then but he will not lie in it. Ive tried most things to get him used to it but to no avail! I guess theres no magic cure, will just give him extra love and affection after the dreaded "basket trauma" It just breaks my heart to see him hurt his paws and face trying to get out

Thanks for the reply
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ahh good idea, I will try putting my jumper in the carrier. Ive bought a big carrier because he is absolutely huge and is only 15 months so has lots of growing to do!

Is it normal for him to pant so much too? When he came home from the vets he was panting and it was very worrying. Thanks all
post #5 of 13
My carrier has become part of my Bedroom furniture it's always there - not just a couple of days before the trip to the VET. He might associate that with the carrier als well (the carrier comes out and in a little while I have to go to the VET ). Since mine is out all the time, once in a while, he even makes himself comfortable in it.
post #6 of 13
Maybe you could ask your vet about some anti-anxiety meds for his trips there. I'm sure your vet has noticed his anxiety and hurt paws and face. Poor thing!
post #7 of 13
Is it possible to put a harness on him instead? I have a 21 pounder, and he's just too heavy to carry in a crate, so I take him to the vet on a leash.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Good ideas there people thanks SO much. Its upsetting for me as much as it is Barney The vet said it was not worth sedating him because it was like a 10 minute visit for booster vaccinations. BUT im going to keep the carrier in my bedroom and make it part of the household as suggested (thanks!) Im so glad I found this forum... and thanks for the help!!!
post #9 of 13
I agree with Cooie. I take Fitzy everywhere on his harness. He loves riding in the truck. I started taking to the vet in his crate but stopped when I realized he was much more calm being out on his harness--he thinks he's just going for a ride. It was the difference between a very upset cat crying and grabbing my arm through the bars and a sweetheart asleep on my lap until we got there.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
My two cats are house cats though so are very very scared of the noises etc outside, especially my maine coon who is very attached to me Will try a leash in the house first just in case he freaks out... thanks for the suggestions!!
post #11 of 13
Hi Elaine,

I have a Maine Coon as well. She has become deathly afraid of the vet's (drooling constantly when there etc) so I'm doing all I can to make sure she doesn't associate the carrier with the vets, which means keeping it out all the time. Fortunately, she loves to sleep and play in it, so hasn't associated it with bad things so far anyway.

In addition to all the other suggestions, I would suggest you start feeding your cat in the carrier, that would definitely make him more comfortable with it. Perhaps slowly move his food bowl first closer to the carrier, then next to it, then to the door of the carrier etc. Once he's used to being in the carrier, try closing the door. When he's used to that, pick up the carrier and walk around with it, then go for a drive etc and even once he's used to it, keep taking him for a drive or something in it on occasion just so he doesn't associate longer trips in the carrier with the vet's only. This way he'd become used to traveling in the carrier, but of course you have to make sure you go so slowly the cat doesn't become scared at any point, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Just think of it this way- it may take you weeks or months of work to get him used to it, but once you do, it's going to make his and your life a lot easier and less stressful from then on.

I wouldn't recommend the harness until your cat's very used to it and you find one that's tight enough (but comfortable for the cat of course). I know that when my cats freak, they manage to get out of their harnesses in a flash, no matter how secure I thought they were, I just don't understand how they can twist and turn to get out of the harness, but they can. Well, the Maine Coon doesn't freak so she hasn't done this yet, but my other cat has so I'd be careful with the harness idea.

Oh yeah, almost forgot... The panting is probably a sign of stress. Cats can pant because they've been stressed out about something (in this case the scare of the vet/carrier) and it can continue for a while after the situation. Nothing to worry about as such, just a sign of the overall anxiety he has of the situation. Btw, my Maine Coon even pants when she's been playing VERY hard.
post #12 of 13
You could get a mild sedative from your vet and sedate the cat for any trips in the carrier.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Eeva thankyou! I will try your suggestion, it sounds like a brilliant idea My maine coon also pants after dashing about the house at 100mph The panting when arriving home from the vets is worrying but at least its not something serious
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