Getting nervous cat in carrier and to vet

in Pets & Pet Care
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noelphobicnoelphobic Forumite
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My cat is about 3 years old but I've only had her for nearly 6 months. I haven't been able to establish if she has ever had any jabs, so I've booked her in to get them on Wednesday.

I've borrowed a carrier from my son and it has been in my living room since Thursday night, to allow her to get used to it.

The annoying thing is that within 5 minutes of me bringing it home she had gone in it and it would have been easy for me to fasten it up and take her to the vet. She hasn't done that since.

I've got a Feliway spray and I've put treats in the carrier to encourage her to use it and so that it has positive connotations.

I put some Whiskas temptations in last night but she was grabbing them with her paws to bring them closer to herself, rather than going into the carrier to eat them.

Today I put some tuna in, right at the back of the carrier, in a ramekin. She did go into the carrier to eat that, but her butt and tail were still sticking out.

Current plan is to put some chicken in there in a ramekin on Wednesday, then angle the carrier slightly and push the rest of her in.

Does this sound like a good plan? Or does anyone have any other suggestions please?
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  • WeAreGhostsWeAreGhosts Forumite
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    I had the same problem with mine when I first got her. Tried everything, and the best thing was the surprise element. Got the carrier in at the last minute and didn't let her see it, scooped her up, held her really tight and hid her face from the carrier, then dumped her in it.

    I found a top opening carrier much easier than anything else. I use one of the wire ones.

    Pushing her in is probably a good plan, though!
  • noelphobicnoelphobic Forumite
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    I had the same problem with mine when I first got her. Tried everything, and the best thing was the surprise element. Got the carrier in at the last minute and didn't let her see it, scooped her up, held her really tight and hid her face from the carrier, then dumped her in it.

    I found a top opening carrier much easier than anything else. I use one of the wire ones.

    Pushing her in is probably a good plan, though!

    It's a front opening carrier and I've been advised to upend it and put her in bottom first. I am sure that would be much easier with 2 people but if anyone came to help me she would go into hiding, as she's scared of everyone except me.

    I'm really hoping that Plan A works. It will take me about 20 minutes to drive to the vet so will try to get her in about an hour before the appointment.

    Just wondering whether, if I get her in first time, I should drive to the vet and risk a long wait there, or to hand around at home a while longer, in the hope that she'll be less stressed out by staying in it at home for a while before we set off.
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  • tanithtanith Forumite
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    I used to always grab a large towel and throw it over her and scoop her up in the towel then lift her into the cat box. I'd then cover it with the towel she was much better if in the dark in the car.
    #6 of the SKI-ers Club :j

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  • edited 22 June 2015 at 3:50PM
    pinkteapotpinkteapot Forumite
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    edited 22 June 2015 at 3:50PM
    Our kitty knows exactly what going in the box means. Even Dreamies won't get him anywhere near it. We've given up trying to cajole. We now get the box out of the cupboard at the last minute, and put it in a small room with nowhere to hide (no furniture he can get behind). DH takes kitty into the room and closes the door behind him, so kitty can't escape.

    DH then gets him in single-handedly, so it is possible alone, and we have a front-opening box. Vet taught us to put kitty in backwards, rather than forwards. Put them in forwards and they see the box coming and splay their legs out (spider-cat!). Backwards and you 'just' have to stuff their rear-end in, then push their body in, then closing the door forces their front legs inside.

    DH has the box against a wall, so as he pushes kitty in it doesn't slide across the floor.

    You can alternatively stand the box on end and 'drop' them in - we've done that too.

    Sounds mean I know, but they will forgive you. And it's a brief moment of greater trauma as opposed to a lot of cajoling which makes them less anxious for a longer time.

    Ours is so stressed at the vet - it's horrible. :( He shakes like a leaf inside his box and sheds loads of fur when being examined. Nothing makes it better - we've just learnt to accept it. We stay as relaxed as possible ourselves and talk normally so he hears our voices.

    When we get home from the vet, ours runs off and hides. We just let him. We don't bother him, or try to coax him out. We just do our normal thing and let him come back to us when he's ready. He's normally back on our laps within an hour. :)

    As you get more practiced, try putting her in the box at the last possible minute, to minimise the time she's in there. Looks like you're allowing 40 mins to get her in? If you can shut yourself in a room with her it really shouldn't take that long, but do it if you're worried about running out of time. We now don't start 'boxing' until a few minutes before we need to leave.
  • McKneffMcKneff Forumite
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    noelphobic wrote: »
    It's a front opening carrier and I've been advised to upend it and put her in bottom first. I am sure that would be much easier with 2 people but if anyone came to help me she would go into hiding, as she's scared of everyone except me.

    I'm really hoping that Plan A works. It will take me about 20 minutes to drive to the vet so will try to get her in about an hour before the appointment.

    Just wondering whether, if I get her in first time, I should drive to the vet and risk a long wait there, or to hand around at home a while longer, in the hope that she'll be less stressed out by staying in it at home for a while before we set off.


    If your cat is stressed by being in the box, please put her in at the last possible moment so she spends as little time as possible in it. We have the same problem, so we do the up end and drop (not literally lol) but it is the easierst way.
    I really wouldn't go to all this trouble of treating and teasing, because the minute you get her into the basket she will know she has been tricked and will remember for next time.
    Just get the box, put her in it, take her to the vet, be confident about it. I bet when she gets to the Vets she wont want to get out,
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • Fen1Fen1 Forumite
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    I would strongly suggest putting down layers of newsapaper into the bottom of the cage, fixed to the sides with sellotape. A nervous cat often has accidents.

    Take spare paper and sellotape for the return journey:o

    I have some disposable incontinence bed pads for the bedridden. They are really good as the plastic backing doesn't let anything through.
  • Fen1Fen1 Forumite
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    Just realized how my last sentence reads:o:o:o:o
  • noelphobicnoelphobic Forumite
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    Fen1 wrote: »
    I would strongly suggest putting down layers of newsapaper into the bottom of the cage, fixed to the sides with sellotape. A nervous cat often has accidents.

    Take spare paper and sellotape for the return journey:o

    I have some disposable incontinence bed pads for the bedridden. They are really good as the plastic backing doesn't let anything through.

    I have put her blanket in the bottom of the carrier. Wanted it to be as comfortable as possible for her, but I see what you mean and might have to rethink this.
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  • noelphobicnoelphobic Forumite
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    McKneff wrote: »
    If your cat is stressed by being in the box, please put her in at the last possible moment so she spends as little time as possible in it. We have the same problem, so we do the up end and drop (not literally lol) but it is the easierst way.
    I really wouldn't go to all this trouble of treating and teasing, because the minute you get her into the basket she will know she has been tricked and will remember for next time.
    Just get the box, put her in it, take her to the vet, be confident about it. I bet when she gets to the Vets she wont want to get out,

    It's too late as regards the treats, as I've been doing this for a few days now. I was advised to do this by the cat shelter, although I know opinions vary.

    It would be interesting to know how long cats remember things for. She was last in the carrier nearly 6 months ago when she first came to me. I doubt she remembered the carrier because she wasn't phased by it at all when I brought it in.

    I don't expect I'll be as lucky this time. She'll be due to go back for her boosters in 3 weeks and I may well have more of a fight on my hands next time!
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  • missbiggles1missbiggles1
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    We always joke that our cats call it the "Box of Death" because so many have gone in it and never come back.

    Surprise is your best ally - that and a thick pair of gloves!
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