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The carriers that are usually easiest to use are the hardsided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle. An easily removable top allows a cat which is fearful, anxious or in pain to stay in the bottom half of the carrier once opened. Avoid carriers that require a cat to be pulled from or dumped out for an exam. Carriers should be seat belted into a car to keep your cat safer and to reduce the bumpiness of the ride. Some cats like to see out, whereas others are less anxious when the carrier is covered with a blanket or towel to prevent seeing the unfamiliar.
The goal is for your cat to associate the carrier with positive experiences.
* Make the carrier a familiar place at home by leaving it in a room where your cat spends time.
* Place familiar soft bedding in the carrier with their scent or clothing with your scent.
* Place treats, catnip or toys inside the carrier to encourage the cat to enter the carrier.
It may take days or weeks for your cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences. If your cat needs to go to the veterinarian right away, and is not yet accustomed to the carrier, the following steps may help:
* Start by putting the carrier and your cat in a small room together. Go slowly. Do not chase the cat to get him/her into the carrier.
* If your cat does not walk into the carrier, you may remove the top of the carrier. Gently cradle your cat and lower them into the bottom of the carrier or the opening of the carrier. Lowering your cat in from the bottom end (tail) first is sometimes helpful.