As you will know from coming to the clinic, we do everything we can to make sure that we create a stress –free environment for our patients (and their owners). Unfortunately, the most stressful aspect of the whole visit has already happened before they arrive. In most cases, being put in a carrier and then taken on a car journey can be really quite terrifying for our feline friends. At best they stay quiet and cower in the back of the carrier, at worst they spend the whole journey letting out mournful cries and then evacuate their bladder (or worse).
There are various ways to decrease the stress of the experience for them so here are our top tips for a happier car journey.
- Choose a carrier which is safe and comfortable. Our favourites are the plastic ones that can be taken apart, with a good sized door.
- Rather than keeping the carrier in the shed or garage, keep it in the house where your cat can see it and it will become a familiar object which no longer induces a fear reaction as soon as it is spotted.
- If you make it an inviting space by putting a warm cosy bed inside and spraying it with Feliway, your cat may even start to use it as sleeping or resting place. Cats love to investigate boxes and enclosed spaces so give it a try.
- The best way to get a cat into a carrier is to reverse it in. If your cat usually spreads its legs out and turns into an ‘octo-puss’, try wrapping them in a small towel.
- Ensure that the carrier has something absorbent on the bottom, just in case of an accident.
- Try using Feliway spray or Pet remedy on the bedding as this can often help them feel more secure.
- We recommend that the carrier is put on the back seat as it can be very distracting if they are next to you while driving. The seat belt can be fed through the handle to make it more secure and prevent it sliding or tipping.
- Some cats prefer to travel in the foot well or even in the boot as long as they are well secured. It is worth trying different locations in the car to see if it makes a difference.
- Try covering the carrier with a towel, just leaving the door uncovered. This can help your cat feel less exposed and vulnerable.
For further tips and advice, give us a call on 01223880707