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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Carrier - advice

Last weekend was Zaya's (and mine) first experience with using the cat carrier I recently got her. ... let's just say things did not go very smoothly. I think by the time I got her in there, I had more fur on me than she did on her. Is there a way I can train her to not fear the carrier as if it were the depths of ****? I know it's easier to do when you start young and get them used to it, but we're past that point. She's adult already and doesn't look like she's been trained to use it. Do any of you have problems getting your kitty into the carrier? How do you do it? What helps? I would relly appreciate any suggestions. So far I've heard that you need to leave it out so the kitty gets used to it. That's what I did, but she completely ignores it even though I toss treats in there several times a day. She'll go in for the treats (always leaving her rear legs just outside), but then goes out immediately, eats the treat outside and walks away. I am not sure what else I can do. I don't want this to be such a bad experience for both of us.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 07:20 PM
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Re: Carrier - advice

Do you have a plastic carrier? Most of my cats hate the carrier and I have found that I can either a) tip the carrier up on its end and pick up the cat and put it in back feet first; or b) take the top of the carrier off, put the cat in, and then put the carrier top on (if you are uncoordinated like me this is hard to do alone).

My hubby just ordered me a soft sided carrier to make it easier to get the cats in and out. I think he just doesn't want to have to help me

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 07:21 PM
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Re: Carrier - advice

Sorry, no good advice, Ive been really lucky, she cries but she doesnt really struggle. She places her back feet as a hinder, and I just stay very calm and gentle and lift them away and she lets me, though she's not happy. Being gentle and not frightening her works with her, maybe it'll work for you, but its not the most exciting advice Ive seen. Throwing in treats, leaving it out the night before etc, gets the same reaction from my gal as from yours.

Edit: yeah, I stand it up too, and put her back feet in first. I put the sheet in we'd been sleeping on the night before too, for all the familiar smells.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 09:13 PM
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Re: Carrier - advice

When the cats were new to the house, we kept them in one of the bathrooms when we were away - for their safety and my sanity. The girls loved to sleep on top of the carrier (a rigid cloth one) - one of the highest points in the bathroom. We put their small blanket in the crate, with the door propped open.
Clean out the crate, with something like Simple Green. Wash any blankets or cushion. I would put the crate on the counter in th bathroom, with breakfast and dinner to be served served inside the crate - start close to the door and gradually move it further in every 2-3 days.
At some point, take Zaya on car rides - trips in the carrier and back home.
Patience and time.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 01:27 AM
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Re: Carrier - advice

I have a fail-safe every time.

First, the easy way.
Leave the carrier out. Put her food in it. Tada! Lol, that usually does it within a week.
Since I feed raw I always feed them in kennels, then wipe them out.

I also have a few small ones about for kitty hides. If you put them in darker corners with a comfy blanket in it it works pretty good.

Jitzu hated kennels when I got her. Now she regularly goes in to sleep by herself. I just leave them out and completely ignore them. If you make a big deal out of it they get suspicious.

If you don't have time to do it the 'nice' way there's a trick. But be warned, if you use it once it gets MUCH harder the second time.

1. Pick up and pacify kitty facing away from the carrier (with you back to it.)
2. Hold kitty's front feet in one hand, and support their bum, preferably while holding the back paws with the other.
3. Turn around and swiftly put them in headfirst.
4. Withdraw your hands and close the door.

If someone's in trouble here I do a less pleasant more 'corrective' version. Instead of grabbing the front paws I grab the scruff. But I still hold the back paws. That's only for very naughty kitties though.

I've only had one cat that I couldn't get in a carrier like that, and that was Jitzu once I'd done it 4-5 times. I used to have to catch her in a big towel and just dump her in...towel and all. It works, but you don't get them near the carrier for months!

Currently, Jitzu not only loves her sleeping kennel, but is also learning a 'kennel' cue. to teach her to go into the kennel when I want her to. The purpose of this is so if she's being naughty and I'm not home the other people in the house can still lock her up. So far she'll 'kennel' for me, and we're working on doing it for everyone else.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 03:58 AM
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Re: Carrier - advice

I've heard the "leave the carrier out thing" and when I got big fabric dog crate (prior to my move to Iowa) I tried leaving it out hoping the cats would learn to sit. Even though the crate was brand new, they'd never been put in it for a trip, and (to human eyes) it looked more like the kitty playhouses I'd bought them than a carrier.... they KNEW. I don't know how, but they knew.

Even after I'd moved the furniture out and the crate was the ONLY thing in the house to hide in, they refused to go in it. Even when the Cat-Eating Vacuum of DOOM emerged, they wouldn't go near the crate, preferring to try to hide behind the toilet. (I say try. Two 14-15 lb cats can't fit behind one toilet.)

My housemate from grad school said she tried the "leave the carrier out until your cats gets used to it and stops hiding under the bed" but gave up and put it away after her cat spent 3 days straight under the bed, not even coming out to eat or use the litter box. But her cat is stubborn like that.

I have soft-sided carriers which load through either the top or the front. I use the top and it's funny trying to zip Misty in. Misty has learned that if she arches her back and stands with her legs very rigid and straight, she's too tall for me to zip the carrier shut. So it's less a matter of getting the cat into the carrier, and more a matter of making the cat small enough to fit.

When I was growing up we had to get a carrier where the entrance was on the large side of the carrier, not the small ends. There was no way we were getting Smokey into the hole on the end. (IIRC, putting one leg at each corner of the opening and pushing was her favorite technique.)
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 08:35 AM
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Re: Carrier - advice

I have a hard carrier that has gates with latches on both the top and sides. It's actually easy -- you just pick up the kitty and place him in it from above, and quickly close the door. Our SPCA had new ones available for only $22 when we got Murphy, so we picked it up there. I think they'd be more like $35 if you bought one in a store.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 01:41 PM
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Re: Carrier - advice

Arianwen's carrier has a front opening and top opening. Getting her in it is a breeze using the top opening, At our destination I open the front door.
It's a little too small for her, so I close the top with a bungi cord. This way if she stretches up arching her back, it gives, and she won't injure her back by arching up against a solid door.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 02:20 PM
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Re: Carrier - advice

You have a Sleepypod, right? ... e-pet-bed/

I would take the top off, which turns it into a bed, and leave it available for a while. Spritz w/ Feliway, put in a little catnip, etc.

Then, when it's been accepted as a bed, add the top part back on and spritz again. Make it part of the decor and just another kitty bed. That should help!
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 02:23 PM
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Re: Carrier - advice


I think this is a universal issue with our kitties, no matter what type of carrier!

We left our Sleepypod out just as everyone suggested. I noticed it seemed to have a strong smell of new fabric, rubber, whatever. After about three weeks Gracie did take a nap in it one day ( ) but she has ignored it ever since. I think it is not so much the carrier as it is the location, we have it in the living room but that is not her favorite room for naps. She will go in it to fetch toys...

One thing which may help is to take the fleece liner out and make the liner smell familiar by having all your family members use it to sit on, bring to bed, etc. No doubt that will generate curiosity, at least!

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