• I could make this a quick and dirty of “how to get your cat into the carrier” using force but I’ve seen enough cat scratch tattoos to know there are more civil and less painful ways.

    The last thing you want is to grab your cat and force them into the carrier either head or butt first. You may be able to do this one time but I just about guarantee that the next time won’t go as smoothly. Cats catch on quick!

    So below you’ll find a couple of easy to implement tips on how to get your cat to LOVE the carrier and go in happily rather than having to do battle with them.

  • Find a nice sized carrier

    I’m a huge fan of plastic carriers (rather than the bag type that you zip up). I just find that they are a whole lot sturdier for your cat.

    I always use carriers that are big enough for my cat to stand up and turn around in. If the carrier is cramped, they won’t enjoy it.

    Keep your carrier out 24/7

    This is a huge tip for getting them to love their carrier. Your cat is likely to be suspicious if the only time the carrier gets taken out is when they are going somewhere. That’s an instant cue to hide and become defensive and edgy.

    I leave the carrier out 24/7 with the door propped, a cozy towel inside and a towel draped over the top of it. The towel inside makes it a good resting spot and the towel on top gives a nice little perch for your cat.

    I keep the door propped so they don’t get accidentally stuck inside when we aren’t actively training.

    Make the carrier a fun place

    Every so often, leave some treats (Temptations are a huge win) inside the carrier and on top. You can also try leaving some catnip inside to draw your cat over. Whenever first doing this, I don’t hover to see if they’ll eat the treats right away but I leave the treats there and check later to see whether they’ve eaten them.

    The more you hover, the less likely they’ll go into the carrier.

    Train them to go in right away

    This is actually a lot easier than it may seem. If you’ve done all of the above steps, you should fly through this one. Steps below:

    1. Have lots of high value treats ready (Temptations, canned food in pea sized portions, chicken, etc.).
    2. Sit in front of the carrier and (With your cat watching), put a few treats inside the carrier.
    3. After they eat them and come out, repeat the process 5-10 times
    4. After you’ve done this a few times, don’t put anything in the carrier but if your cat goes into the carrier looking for food, feed them a bunch of treats then (inside the carrier).

    The goal of this is that you reinforce the cat for going into the carrier after they do it rather than using food to bribe them or lure them inside. If your cat begins to get reinforced for offering the behaviour of going into the carrier, they will likely go in a lot more often when you’re around hoping to get treats.

    If using a clicker with your cat, click when they go into the carrier on their own (step 4).