Teach cats to love the car and carrier

May 7, 2018
Steve Dale, CABC

Steve Dale, CABC, writes for veterinary professionals and pet owners, hosts 2 national radio programs, and has appeared on TV shows ranging from Good Morning America to Oprah. He is on the dvm360® Editorial Advisory Board as well as the boards of the Human-Animal Bond Association and EveryCat Health Foundation. He appears at conferences around the world. Visit stevedale.tv.

Cat owners need help simply getting kitties to your veterinary clinic's door.

We know that a prime reason cats don't visit the veterinary hospital as much as they should is your clients' aversion to transporting these pets. The battle of the box necessary to haul a cat from home to clinic and back is simply too much for some cat owners to deal with.

However, Steve Dale, CABC, says you can teach an old and set-in-its-ways cat new behaviors. In the video below, Dale describes how the committed owner can persuade a kitty that a ride in the carrier isn't actually such a bad thing.

"Cats should like carriers," Dale says. "After all, they are boxes and we all know that cats love boxes. The problem is that they've had a negative experience."

More on cat cartage

Keep calm and carrier on with older cats.

Fear Free carrier training tip: Reward that cat!

Teach fraidy cats to love their carriers.

No time to watch? Here are the steps:

Check it out! Leave the cat carrier out all the time so it's "like a piece of furniture in the house," Dales says. This makes its appearance less conspicuous to the cat.

Food! Randomly drop kibble or treats into the carrier so the cat will take an interest and associate the carrier with food.

Snug! Once the kitty is accustomed to popping in for a snack, close the carrier's door and let it eat inside.

Let's move! Tote the tabby on increasingly long trips in the carrier, following each time with a food reward. Eventually, it all culminates in an actual trip to the veterinary clinic.

"I've personally seen it happen with many cats where their attitude about going into the carrier completely turns around," Dale says.

Watch the vid below to hear it all.

You. Can. Do. This!

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