Do your cats scatter for the hills when you drag out the cat carrier?
What if they no longer associated the carrier with travel, but considered it to be an everyday household item?
That’s what we have turned our Maxx’s carrier into. Essentially it is a piece of furniture to him.
When Maxx came to live with us, we already had one bed that Willie rarely used, and Pearl’s bed, that Willie sleeps in almost daily. Maxx came to us with his own carrier and his own bed. We put his bed in my walk-in closet, next to his carrier. Then, it occurred to me that the bed would take up less room in the carrier, and Maxx instantly liked the coziness of it.
Now, when he is not sleeping in my La-Z-Boy recliner or waiting at the laundry room door for Willie to come out
and play (see photo at left), he snoozes in the bed in his carrier.
This concept will work with almost any kind of carrier. If you have the conventional cardboard folding box, just secure the lids so that they are pulled completely back. A string through one handle directed under the box and tied to the opposite handle will accomplish that.
The now-popular soft-sided carriers have a “hatch” in the top, and either that or the front zipper entrance will work.
PVC plastic carriers that have snaps for connecting the top to the bottom can be dismantled in seconds. The top half turned upside down will nest into the bottom half, into which a bed can be tossed. Older plastic carriers may require the removal of several screws, but it is usually a task required only a few times each year.
One other “secret” to making the new bed acceptable is to put it in a secluded spot. Cats prefer to nap in a protected area, out of the path of foot traffic. Here is the pièce de résistance: Periodically put a treat in the bed, so that, when a cat comes to nap in it, or passes by, he will get another positive experience.
Once your cat accepts his new carrier/bed, the days of running away from the carrier will be over forever.
See you next week, Dr. Randolph.