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I have to take one of my little guys to the vet today for his annual checkup. However, he HATES being in that crate. Even though it's just a ten-minute ride, he loudly meows the whole way, and typically he either pees or poops in the crate, so I can't give him a towel to sit on! I have tried placing a blanket over the crate, but that doesn't seem to work. However, I know that he responds well to catnip; should I try that?
 

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I've never tried that, but I suppose it's worth a shot. If you have time to run to the pet store between then and now, there are two other things you could try. The one would be to get some puppy training pads to use at the bottom of the carrier, since they will absorb the urine if he does pee, and at least he won't be sitting in it. The other would be to pick up some Feliway spray (stress reliever) and spray the carrier 30 minutes or so before you leave. I find that tends to settle Abby down a bit. I don't use if for Muffs, because she loves riding in the car in her carrier, but Muffs is weird!
 

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Tried catnip and it didn't really help. He didn't have an accident, but he was meowing loudly the whole way and back. I may try one of those calming agents next time.
 

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If you have some time for training before you have to use the carrier again, I would do what you can to make the carrier into a "safe" place for them. Leave it out all the time, place blankets in there and treats or toys. Or if you want to go one step further, try buying a different sort of carrier, since kitty will already have associated your current carrier with unpleasant experiences.

Here are some at moderncat.net that you may want to check out:
moderncat :: cat products, cat toys, cat furniture, and more…all with modern style|Archive|Carriers

The Sleepypod looks especially nice, it's basically a bed with a domed cover that zips on, and so it converts into a carrier.
 
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