cat peeking out of soft sided orange carrier in car

How To Get Your Cat In a Carrier

Cats are freedom lovers (and escape artists).

Here’s how to get your cat in a carrier so you can transport them in safety.


Cats are notoriously difficult to get into carriers. Many cat owners can attest that their cats flee as soon as they see it!

However, you should never travel with your cat outside of its carrier. So how are you supposed to get your cat to its pet wellness exam if you can’t get it into its carrier?

This article discusses how to get your cat in a carrier by creating positive associations and reducing your cat’s fear to help make travel time more enjoyable.


Train Your Cat to Enjoy Their Carrier

When a cat is a kitten, it is crucial to teach them to enjoy their carrier. As a result, they will grow up fully accustomed to it. You’ll appreciate how simple it is when they’re an adult!

A cat carrier shouldn’t feel like a scary place but a safe haven. If your cat doesn’t willingly climb in their carrier (some do), here are a few tips to de-sensitive them to the crate.

Ultimately, you want to create a positive association with the carrier. If your cat sees its carrier as a prison or torture device, that will make getting them inside much more difficult.

An easy way to send a positive message around the carrier is to feed them in it a few times. Place their food or a favorite treat inside and let them explore it on their own. If your cat isn’t motivated by food, use a favorite catnip filled toy instead or spray the carrier with an enticing scent.

If you have multiple cats, you should have multiple carriers. That way, none of them feel cramped inside.


adult cat enjoying time in cat carrier

Don’t Surprise Your Cat With Their Carrier

Whether your cat is used to the carrier or is still afraid of it, here’s a good trick.

Bring the carrier out of storage and into the living area at least a few days before the appointment. This way, the cat will become more familiar with it and feel less threatened when it’s time to go to their appointment. When you pull out the carrier right before it’s time to go, it’s a more jarring and sudden experience for you and your cat.

Another tip is to clean the crate before using it. Cats leave a trail of stress hormones on surfaces when they rub against inside the carrier. You should clean the carrier as much as possible to remove any previous odors, urine, and feces.

If you have a cat that’s not been in a carrier before, introduce it slowly. Place the carrier down and get your cat interested in it by using toys or treats.

You will want to start by placing the carrier in an area where your cat spends a lot of time. After a few days, move the carrier close to your cat’s bed and then right next to the food or water dish. Your pet will gradually acclimate to the carrier and create positive associations with being inside it.


Putting Your Cat In Its Carrier

Some cats will try to run and hide no matter what you do, so make sure you’re in a room without many hiding spots.

First, ensure you have a carrier that is the right size for your cat. There should be enough room for them to move around a bit, but not too much space where they feel insecure.

Second, try putting the carrier in a place where they already feel safe and comfortable, such as their favorite sleeping spot. You can also set a towel or blanket over the carrier to help them feel more secure. Finally, try enticing them with treats or their favorite toy inside the carrier.


kitten lying on sofa

Steps to Get Your Cat in the Carrier

  1. When the time comes to physically put your cat in the carrier (if they’re not comfortable enough to climb in themselves), make sure you remain calm.
  2. Hold your cat firmly without squeezing them and place their feet or butt first into the carrier, closing the door quickly afterward.
  3. Don’t forget to secure the carrier with a seat belt so it won’t move around when in the car.


Let Westmonte Animal Clinic Take Care of All Your Cat’s Needs

We want the best for your pets, and that includes enjoying their time before, during, and after their trip to the vet’s office.

If you are a cat owner in the Orlando area, bring your cat to our Altamonte Springs animal clinic for routine check-ups and preventive care. We are excited to welcome new clients! Our experienced and compassionate veterinarians will provide the best possible care for your feline friend, and we offer a wide range of services to keep your cat healthy and happy.

Call us for any questions, and let our helpful staff schedule an appointment for you and your feline friend!