Getting your cat to the veterinarian usually involves coaxing them into their carrier to make transportation easier and keep them safe. However, many cats are fussy or nervous about riding in pet carriers. By choosing the right crate and learning more about how to make your pet comfortable, you can help relieve their fear.

Why Your Cat Might Not Like the Carrier

Cats typically like small, dark spaces. However, many pets have bad associations with being put in carriers. Usually, getting inside the carrier means they are going on a car ride to the veterinarian or a boarding facility, which is a stressful  for many cats. It was not what your cat had planned for the day.  As a result, the cat may associate the pet carrier with fear.

What to Look for in a Carrier

veterinarianIt’s important to choose the right carrying crate for your feline friend. This will ensure their safety while they’re being transported and can help them feel calmer.

Carriers are available in both soft and hard designs. Soft carriers are easier to transport and store.   Some  carriers can open from both the top and the side, allowing for easier access. It is often easier to open the top and put your cat in from the top. Make sure you have a carrier that is large enough for your cat.  There is nothing harder than trying to get a large cat into a small carrier even if they will fit. In most cases the larger the carrier the better.

Buy a carrier specifically made for transporting animals. If you ever plan to bring your cat on a plane, make sure you choose a pet carrier that’s approved for air travel.

Getting the Cat in the Carrier

Help your cat get used to the carrier by associating it with a positive experience. Put the crate out at home several days before your trip and leave the door open to see if your cat begins exploring it on their own. Place one of their favorite toys or treats inside to encourage them.

If your cat never warms up to the carrier, there are other ways you can help. Try spritzing the carrier with pheromone spray to help relax your cat. Some cats respond well to catnip, which can either lure them into the carrier or mellow them out enough that they can get inside. If your cat scratches when you try to get them in, wrap them in a towel and lower them into the carrier from the top.  On occasion I have had owners bring cats to me in pillow cases as they feel safe in the pillow case.


If you’re having trouble getting your cat in their carrier, talk to Dr. Douglas Foreman and Dr. Roberta Mauro at Cherry Hill Dog & Cat Hospital about the issue. These experienced veterinarians will give you and your pet the help you need. This practice in Elkton, MD, has been helping cats and dogs stay healthy for more than 55 years with top-rated veterinarians and quality care. Visit the website or call (410) 398-1331 to schedule an appointment.