Cat carriers should feel like a safe place for felines
I like to believe all my felines have two houses each. The obvious first choice is the home I share with them. The second, not so obvious abode, is the cat carrier.
The cat carrier should feel like home so that when your feline has to be transported, all of the trauma is eliminated. I have trained my felines to be possessive of their carriers, to the point they enjoy going into them.
My felines associate the concept of play with their carriers. This is easy to accomplish if a carrier is always kept in plain view. They accept it as a normal piece of household furniture. They jump on it and play in it (sometimes several at a time, making a silly game).
If I move the carrier, they give chase and want to know where I am moving it. For them, it is an everyday part of their world. They have no reason to fear the carrier when they have to leave the house in it. And going for a car ride has become a safe adventure.
If you only give your feline a car ride for purposes of going to the veterinarian, he may not be as calm. Try to plan a trip to the local pet store. Our animals are always welcome there if they are properly contained or restrained (harness and lead).
If you leave the carrier door open so your feline can go in and out unassisted, this makes for a great game in a multi-cat household. Do not be surprised if you find one feline in the carrier and another dangling upside down, taunting the feline that crawled inside.
If you place a bed or towel in the carrier you can create a cozy, warm place for your feline to nap.
If your cat is initially afraid of the carrier, try removing its door. Sometimes, this makes going in more inviting and less threatening. A few toys placed inside can also assist in drawing your pet inside to investigate.
Once your feline is comfortable with the carrier, you will save yourself the hassle of running around chasing him when you must travel.
Besides making the cat comfortable, keeping the carrier in the house at all times could be a safety factor that could save your animal's life in the event of an emergency. If you have to exit the home quickly, you can do so easily.
• The Buddy Foundation, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with all funds directly assisting its animals. Call (847) 290-5806 or visit thebuddyfoundation.org.