The Best Cat Carrier (In Addition to YOU!) Part 1
No matter how cuddly your cat is, it’s very frustrating to veterinary staff for parents to walk in carrying their cats in their arms without carriers. I don’t care if it’s been okay every time so far. There may be a time when a particular other creature in the waiting area looks at your fur-kid a certain way and a fight breaks out, causing general mayhem or injury.
Speaking as someone whose dog was prone to lunging and making prey of every single cat it ever noticed, it upset me terribly when people wouldn’t take me seriously when I’d warn them to enclose their cat. They’d usually be offended, when I was warning them for their protection! If you’re resistant to using a carrier because your purr-monster doesn’t like the one you have, maybe a different model would be preferred? According to Karen Commings,
If getting your cat into his carrier is a clawing nightmare, you may not have the right carrier for your pet. The type of carrier you have may greatly affect his desire to get into it as well as his comfort while traveling.
Cats unhappy about their surroundings in a car or other moving vehicle may howl, yowl, experience stress and be generally miserable. If you must take your cat to the veterinarian, the stress experienced due to the trip may raise his pulse and breathing rate, and may even cause exaggerated glucose (sugar) readings on his blood tests.
The type of carrier also may affect how easily you are able to transport your cat. When purchasing a carrier, give careful consideration to your needs and those of your cat.
Getting the Right Carrier
One of the most important considerations is the size of the carrier. Is it large enough for your cat? Squeezing big Ben into a carrier that was made for tiny Tim will reduce Ben’s desire to travel. If you adopted a cute little kitten, consider getting a carrier that will accommodate him as an adult rather than a small carrier that you will have to replace in a year or two. In addition, all carriers must have a few standard features.
- Ventilation. Any cat, but especially one that is stressed by traveling, needs to have the flow of air through the carrier to accommodate a possible increased breathing rate. Most cat carriers have vents on at least three sides to allow ample air to pass through. If your trip is lengthy or if your cat is shipped in the cargo hold of an airplane, adequate ventilation is an important feature. Another important feature for those long trips is an attached bowl for water so your cat doesn’t become dehydrated.
- Security. Make certain it can be latched securely. Dial latch systems or pinch latches don’t accidentally come loose. This is especially important if your cat is traveling by airplane. If the carrier comes in two parts, a top and a bottom, make sure that whatever prongs fasten the two parts together are strong enough to hold if the carrier is jostled. Metal nuts and bolts are typically stronger than plastic and less likely to break.
- Top-loading feature. Many cats are more easily placed in a carrier through the top rather than the side or front. Top-loading carriers are a more recent invention; they satisfy those cat owners whose cats put up a fuss when the owner tries to shove them into a carrier head first. Placing a cat into a carrier feet first is often easier and less stressful for the cat and owner. Top-loading carriers come in a variety of styles including one that looks like a basket and can be carried over the arm.
Speaking from experience, these are excellent points! Please see the next post for continued features to look for in cat carriers.
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