Hey pet family!
This one has been brought up many times, so it’s time to share a how to for kitty transportation.
The first thing you should know is that cats are creatures of habit. They are not impressed with change. This is why it is so important to get them acclimated to new activities while they are still young.
Step 1. Leave Those Carriers Out!
I know our carriers are not always our most pretty home accessories, but for a cat, it is a must to leave them out regularly. If you think you carrier is that hideous and still don’t want to leave it out regularly, at least pull it out 3-4 days before a groom appointment. Place their favorite blanky, toy, or towel in there. Let them investigate it and enter on their own. Leave them be while they get reaccustomed to the carrier. You want to act as if it’s not a big deal that their carrier is out.
Step 2. Take Them For Little Trips
Once your cat goes in the carrier on their own, take them for short trips around the block. Get those high value treats ready for when you come back. Lots of praise and favorite toys and pets will go a long way with them. Short trips help them adjust and not feel so claustrophobic when they have to go on a longer trip (long to them can be 10 minutes … yes, very dramatic).
Step 3. The Day Before Prep
Hopefully, by steps 1 and 2, this won’t be such a dreaded occurrence for them. Still, we want to prep them by minimizing the amount of food and treats they receive. If your cat is known to vomit or have a bowel movement in the car, this is due to a combination of nerves and motion sickness. You can help everyone out by reducing their food intake starting the night before. They do not have to fast, but if you chose to do that for grooming day, it’s okay too.
Step 5. Appointment Day
If your appointment is the first one of the day, you’ll want to have done this part the night before.
Close all bedroom doors! If cats are still not completely comfortable with the carrier or something triggered them, they love to hide under those beds, couches and any place else small and hard to get to. Pulling cats from these locations can be nearly impossible and will get a cat more agitated and stressed out. A stressed-out cat often means they will no longer be a safe grooming candidate. Shut those doors! Keep them in an open area free of hard to get to spots.
Step 6. The Carrier
Hopefully kitty is comfortable with the carrier after following through with the previous steps. Just in case, get those nice thick towels ready. We also recommend placing a towel in the carrier as well or favorite blanket. For cats that suffer from motion sickness, “burritoing” or swaddling them in a towel helps them feel more secure. We will be sharing a how-to video on that later. After they are in their kitty burrito, you can place them in their carriers from the top. For other cats, place the back of the carrier against a wall and scootch the cat in headfirst (headfirst protects you from potential bites and swats). The towel comes in to play as a barrier in case they do become agitated.
All right pet parents! We hope you all will start incorporating these tricks and tips! We love to see stress fee kitties and their parents!