The Best Cat Carrier (In Addition to YOU!) Part 2
Today we continue exploring how to find the best cat carrier other than your own arms. Karen Commings from PetPlace describes the differences between carriers available for purchase and what each type is best suited for:
Carriers are required for all airline transportation. The size depends on whether your cat is being shipped in the cargo hold or under the seat in front of you. Before transporting a cat via airplane, contact the airlines for their carrier specifications well in advance of your trip. Animals must be scheduled ahead of time, so don’t wait until you must fly and assume that you can just carry your cat on board as luggage.
Soft-sided construction. Carriers are more likely to soften any blow to your cat due to sliding or jostling during a trip, but they also may have less ventilation and less room to move around. In warm weather, a soft-sided carrier may be too warm. For agoraphobic cats that prefer to become invisible when they are taken on a ride, the smaller, more enclosed size of a soft-sided carrier may help make the cat feel more secure. On short trips, such as to the veterinarian’s office, a soft-sided carrier may be fine for your cat and easier for you to handle.A soft-sided carrier is difficult to clean if your cat has a potty-accident while being transported. Soft-sided carriers usually come with straps that can be positioned around your neck or over your shoulder. Avoid backpack-style carriers or those that allow the pet’s head to extend out the top. Cats should be observed rather than be carried behind one’s back, and they can easily escape carriers that don’t close completely.
Some carrier features are intended to appeal to the human rather than the animal, so take into consideration what your needs are as well as those of your cat. Cost may be a consideration for you. Carriers of all sizes come in all price ranges. If you are never going to transport your cat via airplane or take him on a long trip, a less expensive carrier may do just fine. If you have limited space to store a carrier, check out collapsible or fold-away types. If you have trouble lifting a carrier, especially with your cat in it, buy a carrier with wheels and a pull-strap so you can roll him where he needs to go.
Cat Carrier Tips
Let your cat become accustomed to his carrier. Leave the carrier open in an accessible place every so often. Put a comfortable bed or blanket inside so your cat will venture in to sleep. Once in the carrier, give your cat some treats (or catnip) so he will associate being inside with something positive.When it is time for your cat to be placed in the carrier, put the carrier in a room your cat normally does not frequent. Then let your cat in the room. His curious nature will make him voluntarily walk into the carrier by himself.
There is no one-cat-fits-all carrier, in my experience, so please don’t give up if you’re not sure yet which type is best for your cat.
Sometimes parents believe that the right carrier is no carrier, as indicated by a parent on the LoveMeow site:
“When we first brought our kitty Squid home, we put him in the cat carrier for the car ride. He attacked the bars until I let him ride on my shoulder inside my jacket, and he was content the rest of the ride…”
I’m guessing this kitty came from a shelter, and it’s very typical for cats who have been housed in cages to be phobic of carriers that have bars. They are reminded of life in a cage and may rebel by attacking said carrier or refusing to get in. However, going without a carrier is NOT an option. Please try another type, like a soft-sided luggage style, or cardboard box handled type that are often provided at shelters. Kitties in their carriers must be buckled in securely when riding in a vehicle, just like humans have to be buckled in securely. It is imperative for their safety not only in case of emergency impact or being spooked by whatever may happen on the road, but ensures they will not get down by the pedals and risk being injured or causing an accident.
Please stay tuned for more cat-tastic facts!