For your reading enjoyment!
When you choose the carry case, remember above all that you and your feline companion are going to depend upon that carry case for the next twenty years or more.
You’ll be using it for the yearly trip to the veterinarian and for any other trips, such as moving homes or for vacations.
But, even more important, the proper case is like an insurance policy. Come fire or flood, come sickness or accident, come hell or high water, you and your beloved cat can pick up and go in security and comfort.
6 Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Cat Carrier
Keeping in mind the number of years you’re going to be using the case, you should not choose a case because it is on sale or because it matches your luggage; you should choose a case because:
1. It fits your cat
Don’t choose a case that is too large. The passenger cat should be able to stand up, turn around, and sit down, but it should not be so large that the cat will slide around. That would be frightening for your cat.
Cats like to be able to brace themselves against the sides. It gives them a feeling of control over what’s happening to their bodies.
Size small is fine for a kitten, but your cat will soon outgrow it. A great solution to this problem is to get a size medium case and put a smaller cardboard box inside, nicely braced with newspapers or towels, until the kitten grows into the medium size case.
Some other cats, such as a Maine Coon, will most certainly require a size large case.
2. It feels safe and comfortable to your cat
Choose a hard-sided case. Those soft collapsible cases are nice but could be very frightening to cats.
Make sure the bag has some nice strutural integrety so the case does not lose its shape.
For some of the cheaper models, every time you put the thing down, the sides and top start collapsing inward, sagging down on top of the poor cat trapped inside. Avoid these types of soft-sided collapsible cases.
3. It’s simple and easy to put your cat in and take her out
Choose a case that hinges open from the top and allows you to lower your cat in from above, not the kind where you’re expected to push and cram the cat in through the little door at the end.
These regular models are fine if the door is wide enough, but other types of cat carry cases will be more efficient.
4. It is designed with your cat’s comfort and pleasure in mind
The case must have several ventilation holes in both ends.
To avoid motion sickness, choose a case with a transparent lid so your passenger cat can see out and enjoy her trip, and potential admirers can see in.
If you ever choose to do so, you can always make such a case opaque by simply draping a scarf across the top.
5. It is well built and safe
Examine all hinges, clasps, and handles to be sure all are secure and strong enough to support easily at least twice your cat’s actual weight.
Just to be safe, open it and close it and swing it around with some books in it before you buy it.
6. It feels good to your hand and it comfortable to carry
This is just as important as any of the above criteria. After all, you, the cat owner, are an equal partner in using the case.
Warning: Do not cat a case large enough for two cats!
You’ll hate it for the next twenty years and so will your cats. A two-cat case, even if there’s only one cat inside, is heavy, awkward, and unmanageable.
As for the two cats inside, it would be similar to flying coach on an airplane with two people next two you in seats that are just a little too small. It’s not really fun!
Disposable Carriers for Emergencies
If you need a case to tide you over until you find the right one, I suggest the disposable cardboard type.
They have no see-through top, but otherwise they work well as a temporary case. They’re light, comfortable for the cat and owner, and is quite strong as long as you put the carry case together exactly as directed.
You might find yourself in a dire situation where you must transport your cat and you’re case is either broken or unusable at this time. It’s just some reassurance to have some cardboard cat carry cases in your closet or trunk of your car.
Here is a link to some cardboard cases on Amazon.
How To Train Your Cat To Use A Cat Carrier
Once you acquire a carry case you feel good about, the next step is to introduce your fuzzy friend to all the positive aspects of her carry case.
Leave it out and open it one or two days a week for your cat to play or nap in.
Some cases are a bit top-heavy. If so, be sure the carry case is braced securely so that it doesn’t tip over and make a bad impression.
Serve a treat or some catnip in the case every week or so to build positive associations.
If your cat is the timid type, it might be best to put him in the case once a week and carry him around the room for a bit, followed immediately by a play session and some treats.
Notice that training your cat to use a carry case takes time and effort. You are essentially assisting your cat with developing a positive relationship with her case. Be patient, don’t rush.
How To Weatherproof Your Cat Carry Case
There is yet another nice advantage of owning the ideal carry case: you can make it cool in the winter and turn it into a snug little heated compartment in winter.
You should be able to weatherproof your cat’s carry case easily. However, this is difficult if you have the type of carry case with a lot of screen or grillwork suitable for warmer climates.
Let’s assume that your cat falls ill in the middle of a snowstorm. Prepare the carry case in the following way. First, fold two kitchen towels (or paper towels) to fit over the air hols on both ends of the case and tape the towel in place with masking tape.
Also tape closed any additional holes in the case with masking tape. That warm air can filter in through the towel but the case will be windproof.
Now you need a plastic bottle. Save an empty shampoo bottle or water bottle and fill it with water as hot as you can handle. The hotter, the better.
Screw on the lid and drop the bottle into a thick wool sock, preferably one that you’ve worn. It sounds weird but this provides both heat and the comfortable, familiar scent of you.
Fold a towel into the bottom of the case for added comfort. Then slip the sock-covered hot water bottle under the towel in the bottom of the carry case. This will provide ample warmth during the cold winter.
Also be sure to grab a large brown paper bag and container of your cat’s favorite food in case your cat must stay overnight at the hospital.
On the other hand, if you must transport your cat during a heat wave, leave all the ventilation holes wide open and use ice water in the shampoo/water bottle instead.
You could even use the reusable dry ice packs that are commonly found in supermarkets or drugstores. These neat little ice packs can be placed in the socks instead of the bottle. This essentially acts as the air conditioner in the cat carry case.
Be sure to wrap the ice bag or cold water bottle in a sock or towel so it doesn’t come into direct contact with your cat.
How To Put A Cat Into A Carry Case
First things first, you must breath and remain calm. Cats are intuitive creatures that are very good at picking up other creature’s emotions.
If you’re stressed out, then you’re cat will be stressed out. Your cat will then flee from you as you chase your cat around the house trying to catch her to put her into the carry case.
Be sure to have trained your cat before hand to have positive associations with the cat carry case, otherwise you are in for a bad time!
The proper way to put the cat in the carry case is basically the same way you always put the cat down – front feet first.
As soo as your cat is inside and her feet touches the floor of the carry case, quickly close the lid on your own hand. This accomplishes two things: speed and safety.
You will be able to shut it rapidly and successfully because you will be secure in the knowledge that there is not the slightest chances of pinching your cat’s tail. Your hand gives that protection.
Now gently remove your fingers as you tuck the tail, ear, or any other cat limbs inside. Grab your paper bag of cat food and off to the veterinary you go!
Remember that the carry case is very important so be sure to get one that is most suited for you and your cat. Function is far more important than fashion, and a cat carry case that opens on the side and on top is the most effective.
Be sure to train your cat and have your cat create positive associations with the cat carry case. With enough time and patience, you will be able to put your cat into the case effortlessly.
As always, I wish you and your feline companions all the best! Be safe!