Traveling with your kitty loose in your car can turn an expectedly happy and joyous adventure into a frustratingly nightmarish ordeal. Scratches on your car upholstery, urine and / or feces on the floor, and hair balls on various surfaces, these are just some of the most likely situations you will have to face if you let your kitty loose inside your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to put them in cat carriers so you can help minimize these nuisances. Moreover, you can make the whole idea of traveling a lot more pleasant and non-stressful for your feline pet.
Unfortunately, choosing the best cat travel carrier can be intimidating since a multitude of products look essentially the same. If you are easily frustrated about making such decisions from a sea of choices, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. We have listed here the 10 best cat carriers for you to start off on your journey to find the perfect temporary transportable home for your beloved tabby.
Some Tips to Choosing the Right Kitty Carrier
Going on a holiday or even a simple weekend get-together at the park or the beach with your beloved kitty can do a lot of wonders to strengthen that special relationship you have with it. Letting it roam in your car is never a good idea. The best way is to put your pet in the correct kitty carrier. And if you’re lost as to which one from the ocean of similarly-looking products you should get, fret not as we’re going to give you some tips on how to choose the right carrier for your kitty.
- Always consider your cat’s innate behavior
Before you head out to the local pet shop or click on the “buy” button of some online retailer, make sure you have a very clear understanding of your feline’s innate behavior. This is one of the most crucial aspects of pet ownership. If you truly know the inherent characteristics of the pet you’re caring for, it makes it a lot easier to purchase products related to their care and wellbeing.
For instance, if you know that your kitty can be really feisty, maybe you need a feline carrier with multiple doors or entrances. This makes it a lot easier for you to place your kitty inside the transporter, although the key remains in training your tabby to love its own pet carrier for cats. It may also be a good idea to choose a cage that has an opening on top as it is often a lot more convenient to scoop your tabby, cuddle it a bit, before placing it inside its crate. This is less threatening to the feline compared to being pushed into the crate from the side.
If your cat simply loves to scratch, getting a cage that is made of scratch-proof materials should be your primary concern. Don’t make the mistake of getting a soft cat carrier made of fabric and other soft materials as these can be easily torn apart with your feline’s incessant scratching. Of course, if you can train your kitty not to scratch, then a softer version of the pet cage should work.
If your Tom or Garfield happens to consider itself the Houdini of the feline world, you might want to look for security features on the locking mechanism of the pet cage. These should not be too easy to slide open. Maybe you should steer clear of Velcros, zippers, or even snaps as these can easily be opened or your feline pal can easily slip through the gaps.
These are just some of the things you need to consider related to your cat’s behavior. Just make sure you truly understand the things that make your Felix so unique.
- Size does matter
If you’ve ever been to a room that somehow made you feel claustrophobic, feeling suffocated and unable to move, then you know how your kitty will feel if you get it a cage or a transporter that barely allows for ample movement. If you’re going to go on a long-distance travel, consider getting a really spacious transporter; preferably one that can also accommodate your kitty’s food bowl and water dispenser or water bowl while still allowing your feline friend to move with relative ease inside.
However, the cage cannot really be too large, either, as this can have a bearing on its weight which can impact its portability and transportability. You might be giving your cat a really spacious temporary shelter, but if you’re going to have difficulty carrying it afterwards, then what’s the point?
Finding the size of cat car carrier that’s just right for your pet may require using the Goldilocks approach.
- Comfort matters as well
Some folks don’t like hard plastic cages for the simple fact that it may not be comfy for kitty. The thing is you can always put a small pillow to make it more comfy especially when you’re looking at an unusually long ride. A soft cat carrier works best for shorter travels or you would like to bring tabby to the mall or in other public places.
- Choose one that is easy to clean and maintain
This is a deal-breaker for most cat owners. It may be that the cat travel carrier is of the correct size and is just perfect for your kitty. However, if it requires some degree of cleaning and maintenance, you might want to give it up for something a lot easier to clean and maintain. Technically, it’s more a question of how far you would go to keep the traveling home of your pet clean and tidy.
- Consider durability and strength of its construction
Even fabric feline carriers should be made of sturdy and durable materials. The stitching should be, at the very least, doubled and made of strong cord or thread. The seams should not be easily ripped wide open.
If you want durability and strength, a hard plastic feline carrier is your best bet. Unfortunately, you’d have to be ready for some tradeoffs especially when it comes to weight.
- Check the ease of carrying
A backpack cat carrier may be the ideal solution if you need something that is a lot easier to carry while taking a stroll around the mall, the park, or even the beach. You might want to check out other types of cat travel bag designs and styles to suit your needs.
How to Train Your Cat to Love Its Pet Carrier
One of the crucial mistakes of cat owners, or any other pet owner for that matter, is not training their furry pals to love the pet transporter that they have just bought. You simply cannot scoop your furry pal and shove it inside the kitten carrier every time you have to as this will make the kitty associate the carrier with something that it doesn’t like. The key therefore, is to teach your tabby to love its pet carrier and learn to associate it with pleasant things. Here’s how.
- Make the carrier a natural part of your kitty’s ordinary life.
The very first step is one of the most crucial aspects of training your kitty. This entails making the temporary shelter a normal and natural part of its life. In this step, you don’t even need to shove your kitty through the open door of the crate. All you will ever need is to place the crate with its doors wide open in an area in your home where your tabby will see it. It can be in your living room or near its favorite nook. Make sure that the crate is backed up against the wall.
How long you should do this actually depends on how curious your kitty is. More curious felines are more than ready to go into the next step while others may take some time before they start snooping around the mysterious ‘thing’.
The point is that you need to take your cue from your pet. The obvious reason is for your cat to recognize the crate as an ordinary object that is an important part of the house. It should never think of the pet carrier as a prison or as a box where cats are put to be punished. Remember, the goal here is to let the feline understand and appreciate the positive nature of the feline crate.
- Make the crate more comfy.
If it has been quite some time that the feline crate has been in place, yet your kitty seems not interested at all, then you will need to put something more comfy inside the crate. You can place your furry pal’s favorite pillow or even toy inside the crate. Just leave the door open and make sure that your cat actually sees you ‘fixing’ its comfy bed inside the crate. The point is for you to stimulate your cat’s curiosity so that it will be enticed to enter the crate without you having to shove it inside.
- Allow feline exploration
Once you get your kitty inside the crate, let it explore and play with all the toys that you’ve put in. Just remember that it is crucial you pet enters the crate on its own, not coerced, and definitely not physically shoved inside. That is why in this part of the training process you just have to keep the door of the crate open all the time so it can enter and leave unhindered and without getting stressed.
Some owners actually spray a synthetic “happy hormone” for cats into the crate to make their pet’s stay a lot more comfortable, stress-free, relaxing, and enjoyable. We are not saying that you should do this, too, but if it would help your tabby to have a more relaxed and enjoyable time inside the crate, then do so.
- Get your cat used to doing various things in its crate.
This step requires you to close the door of the crate while your furry pal is doing something inside. This acclimatizes it to having the door of the cat travel carrier closed. The trick is essentially the same. You just leave the door open. Let your tabby enter on its own. Once inside, you can play with it for a while or simply let it play alone. You can then gently close the door but with you still sitting right beside the crate.
The important thing is for you to do this step very methodically. If your kitty gets all too fussy once you close the door, reopen it and let your kitty’s anxiety subside first. If it wants to get out, let it. Don’t force it. It may take time before it gets used to the feeling of being ‘locked up’ inside the crate. That’s why you still have to be there with your pet while it is playing or eating inside the cage with its door fully closed. This way your pet knows that it is not being ‘locked up’.
Once you’re confident that you can already start leaving your pet inside the crate with the door closed, there’s only one way to be certain. Following the step above, slowly leave the cage with your cat inside it and the door closed, and move to another room. The thing is you must not be seen by your pet during this time. Give it a few minutes before returning to your cat. Upon your return, you need to open the door of the crate.
The important lesson that your kitty needs to learn from this is to look at the pet carrier not as a trap but as a temporary shelter while you are away. It may take some time before it learns this, however, so you have to be patient.
- Try it inside the house.
If you reached this step, that means you’re much closer to achieving your goal of making your tabby love its own pet carrier. To do this step, you need to accomplish all the prior steps. Once your kitty is inside the carrier, close the door, gently lift the transporter, and walk around the house. Your tabby might become anxious in the first try. If so, set the transporter down, and try to soothe it first. But if your cat doesn’t fret at all, rejoice as it is usually a good sign that your pet is more than ready to be taken for a ride. Just for good measure, though, you may want to perform this routine a couple more times.
- Take your kitty for a ride.
Call it your tabby’s formal induction into the world of pet carriage. This time, instead of walking around the house with your feline friend comfy inside the crate, you will be taking it for a drive. It doesn’t really have to be far. Even a drive around the block should be a great way to initiate your furry friend to the outside world.
Here’s the trick. Do this randomly and never make it as a scheduled routine. Do this for the entire week or perhaps even more until you’re confident that your kitty doesn’t associate the car ride and in a feline transporter to be an automatic trip to the vet clinic.
Whether it is going to the vet or bringing your kitty with you wherever you go, having the right feline carrier is an absolute must. This is to help ensure they don’t get overly anxious while traveling. It helps provide for a more pleasant experience. In choosing the right product for your tabby, it’s critical to consider the inherent characteristics of one’s pet before you can start looking into the size, comfort, ease of maintenance, security features, convenience of carrying, and strength and durability of construction of the portable crate. Training your pet to love its carrier is also crucial and this often involves a series of steps that will make your feline pal look at the crate as a temporary home fully capable of providing a pleasant and enjoyable experience.