How To Get An Aggressive Cat Into A Carrier

How To Get An Aggressive Cat Into A Carrier

You’re getting ready to bring your pet cat to the vet for her regular check-up, however, there’s one problem. Your cat won’t get inside the carrier! Worse, he’s losing his wits and ready to go into battle by showing his sharp claws and teeth.

How to get an aggressive cat into a carrier?

The best way to get an aggressive cat into a carrier is by letting the cat get used to the carrier for a couple of days so that she becomes familiar with it and shows no sign of aggression. However, if there’s not enough time to do this, you can get the cat to the carrier using a blanket, pillowcase, toys or treats, as explained in more detail below. 

Through the use of the towel/blanket method

This is also called the burrito method of restraining your cat so you can put him inside the carrier. To do this, lay out a towel and place your kitty on his back at one end of the towel so that the top edge is on the part of his neck. Leave enough room at the tip of the towel to fold over your pet’s belly and by making sure that his legs are tucked in carefully. Then, wrap the towel’s long end around your cat so that she’s enclosed cozily.  Finally, fold the extra towel from the bottom up toward the head of your kitty. Hold the towel snuggly around his neck and fold to make sure that he won’t be able to escape. This type of method works best for kittens and small-sized cats. 

Here’s how to put your cat inside the carrier using the burrito method:

  • Place your carrier inside a small room like your bathroom and position it in a way that the door is open and facing upward toward the ceiling.
  • Bring in your cat and close the door of the small room.
  • Lift and put your cat inside the carrier, tail-end first, so he won’t feel scared.
  • Shut the carrier door shut and don’t worry about unwrapping your cat from the towel as your pet will eventually free himself from it. 

Through the use of the treat method 

This type of method is commonly used by pet owners if their cats refuse to go inside their carriers. To do this, give your cat some treats and also place some kibbles inside the carrier. Even aggressive cats rarely say no to cat treats since they adore it. Once your cat goes inside to retrieve the treats simply close the carrier door shut. 

By using the pillowcase method 

Some people will find this method cruel but contrary to what they say, it actually helps to calm your pet cat since he won’t see what’s going on around him.  To do this, try to catch your cat off-guard and quickly put him inside a pillowcase and tie the top so he won’t be able to escape. Calm him down by using Feliway Calming Spray and then promptly place him in the carrier. 

Through the use of a Laser Pointer 

Most cats are attracted to laser pointers and will do what it takes to follow the laser light around. Try to catch your pet cat’s attention by using a laser pointer and then luring them inside the carrier by aiming the laser light inside it. Once your pet is inside, shut the carrier door quickly so he won’t be able to get out. 

By using cat toys to entice your cat 

Your pet cat has his share of favorite cat toys so why not use it to lure him inside the carrier. Simply throw his favorite toys inside it while you’re in a safe distance. Once your cat chases the toys and goes inside the carrier quickly close the carrier door so he won’t be able to escape.

By using a pheromone spray and catnip

Pheromone sprays like Feliway Calming Spray are effective in making your cat calm, relaxed, and behaved. Similarly, catnip is a well-known herb for making cats less anxious and an effective mood enhancer. 

While it’s understandable for your cat to become nervous and aggressive if placed inside a carrier, always remember that you can also do something to calm him down and become accustomed to it. Make it a point to talk to your cat in a calm voice to encourage him to go inside a carrier or while he’s already in it as this will eventually help him to relax and make him realize that you’re not a threat or that you’re planning to do something bad to him. Cover the carrier with a cloth while in transit so your cat won’t see much of the surroundings and will become more anxious. Most importantly, you should wash the carrier especially after a visit to your vet so as not to stress your cat because he will most probably associate the scents left behind in the carrier with something bad especially if she was vaccinated or went through some painful procedure or surgery. 

How to fix your cat’s fear of carriers?

Cats normally love to go into small and enclosed spaces and even bury themselves among cardboard boxes and blankets. However, it’s a different thing if they’re placed in an enclosed space that they didn’t volunteer to walk into such as a carrier for instance. So, the normal reaction would be fear, resistance, and aggression. Yet, as much as we like to keep our pet cats indoors there will always be the vet appointments to go to as well as other scenarios like an emergency evacuation due to a fire, or if the family is moving to another city or town.  The good news is, you can fix your cat’s fear of carriers and train her to eventually like the carrier. Sometimes a cat might also like one carrier more than another one. For different options read our article on the best cat carriers.

Here are the steps that you should do to fix your cat’s fear of carriers and make her like it:

Step 1.  Put your cat’s favorite blanket inside the carrier. 

Pet cats usually have their own favorite blanket or piece of cloth that they love to snuggle in. You can use this by lining it in the bottom of the carrier.  However, if your cat doesn’t have one, you may opt to buy a fleece or wool blanket and encourage your cat to lie and nap in it frequently. Let your cat get used to the blanket by sprinkling loose catnip or spraying some catnip spray all over it. Once your cat becomes accustomed to the blanket and has slept in it a few times then you can now line it in the bottom of the carrier. 

Step 2. Place the carrier near your cat’s favorite spot and leave its door open. 

The next step to do is to position the carrier with your cat’s favorite blanket inside near your cat’s favorite area or spot in your home. This is where your cat usually hangs out and the purpose is to help associate the carrier with things that your cat loves such as blankets and favorite spots. Leave the carrier’s door open so your cat can sneak in and most probably sit or nap inside it. 

Step 3.  Put catnip on your cat’s blanket inside the carrier and observe if your cat will sleep inside it.

Just like what you did earlier in getting the cat to become accustomed to the blanket, sprinkle loose catnip again on the blanket inside the carrier and leave it open while placed in your kitty’s favorite spot. Wait and see if your cat will find her way into the carrier,  sniff around, and settle in to take a nap or to just hang out. If so, then you’ve taken a huge step toward making your cat become less anxious and intimidated by a carrier. However, if this step wasn’t successful, then try to do the following steps. 

Step 4.  Try to put treats or a few pieces of kibble inside the carrier. 

Most cats are easily swayed by using food and treats so try to entice your cat to go inside the carrier by placing cat treats and kibble in it. Be sure your cat sees what you’re doing or better yet, make your cat sniff the treats before you put it inside the carrier. Once you place the treats inside, wait, and observe if your cat goes after the treats. Or you may opt to go out of the room and do something else but be sure to check how the cat is reacting to the situation. While cats are expected to go after treats at once,  it may take a while for some, especially if it’s inside an unfamiliar thing like a carrier but this is generally normal and something that’s to be expected. 

Step 5.  Continue to put treats inside the carrier until your cat is comfortable enough to get inside.

As it is with the earlier step, the treat in the carrier process should be repeated until such time that your pet cat becomes accustomed to the carrier and being inside it. Repeat the said process for at least 6 times within an hour and be sure to do this for a span of a few hours for at least a few days until your cat will eventually associate the carrier with positive memories and good things like treats. Eventually, your cat will then began to make herself feel at home inside the carrier and will begin to rest and nap in it and become less anxious. 

Step 6.  Try to zip and fasten the carrier once your cat gets inside.

This is a crucial step because it entails zipping and locking him inside the carrier so to lure her you must again rely on treats and kibble to make him get inside it. Be sure to do this only if you’ve observed that your pet is already comfortable with going inside the carrier immediately after the treats are placed inside. Assuming that your cat has already become accustomed to the carrier and starting to get settled in,  try to give her cat treats, and once she’s inside try zipping the carrier shut and then wait for a few seconds. Then, open the carrier and let your cat out.  Repeat the process for a few times,  with the proceeding ones allowing your cat to stay longer before letting her out, up to at least 3 or more minutes. 

Your cat may lose trust in the carrier for a while if you start to zip her shut inside it but repeating the process for a few times with or without zipping her shut inside will most likely allow the cat to become accustomed again with the carrier.

Step 7.  If your cat becomes comfortable enough and allows you to zip the carrier while she’s inside, try to bring for a short walk or a short car ride. 

Assuming that your cat has become comfortable being in a carrier then it’s time to bring him for a walk around your block or a short car ride. Remember, always take things one at a time. Expect your cat to become a bit uneasy in the carrier the first few times you carry her while inside a carrier. It’s always good to go slowly but surely. It takes a lot of patience and getting used to before your cat becomes comfortable and calm enough. Also, one trick to help your cat become calm during this process is to use Feliway Calming Spray so your pet stays relaxed and comfortable.

Final thoughts

Coaxing your cat to get inside a carrier isn’t an easy process and for most pet owners this can be a real struggle. However, you can get an aggressive cat to get inside a carrier and even like it with the help of some training and positive association. Aside from that, there are other safe methods that you can try to entice your cat to use the carrier such as the burrito and treat methods. 

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