Many cats hate cat carriers. Therefore, many cats resist being put in cat carriers. which is why some cat owners even consider putting their cat in a box (bad idea), or look for natural cat sedatives for travel. They either hide or they fight their owner or both. Many cat owners end up canceling a veterinary appointment, plane ride or even traveling in an RV because of Fluffy’s aversion to the carrier. So, are there alternatives?
Cats do need some form of restraint when not at home.
An unrestrained cat in a car can be a danger to itself and its owner. A cat’s agility and small size mean it can easily climb into places where it does not belong like under the pedals or in front of the dashboard. If the cat panics, it could bite, scratch, or otherwise distract its owner. An unsecured cat can also bolt from the car or its owner’s arms and consequently get lost.
Makeshift carriers like pillowcases or cardboard boxes generally do not work because the cat can usually claw their way out. Furthermore, many veterinarians require pet owners to have some way of controlling their pets. Veterinarians are well aware that their patients are stressed – and an upset dog may take out its frustrations on a loose cat. Thus, vets typically require cats to be brought in carriers for their own safety. The prudent owner should, therefore, check their vet’s rules before deciding on an alternative to the traditional cat carrier.
Can you use a basket or cat bed?
A favorite cat bed or basket can provide the cat with both comfort and reassuringly familiar smells. On the other hand, it has no restraints, so there is no way to keep the cat from jumping out or running off if something startles it.
A cat bed is thus a realistic option only for an older cat with a very calm and placid disposition.
How do you pick a cat harness?
One good alternative to the cat carrier is a harness and leash. The harness needs to be snug enough so that the cat can’t simply wriggle out of it, but it shouldn’t be so tight it causes discomfort. The owner should be able to slip one or two fingers between the harness and the cat’s body. The harness should be made of a durable and lightweight material. Nylon is great for cats that spend a lot of time outside because it can withstand both sun and rain. Cotton harnesses, which aren’t as tough, can work for cats that spend most of their time indoors.
Cat harnesses come in three styles: H-harness, V-harness, and figure-eight. The last is the best option for owners who like to walk their cats since it can move with the cat. The other two harnesses are comfortable and easy for the owner to put on and take off the cat.
The figure-eight harness is the oldest type; it has two circles that loop around the cat’s torso and neck. The H-harness looks similar, but it has an extra strip that runs along the cat’s back connecting the two circles. The V-harness looks like a vest. Harnesses of any type are safer for cats than are collars, which can choke them.
How do you leash train a cat?
It often takes weeks or months to leash train a cat, for it requires getting the cat acclimated to the harness, leash, and great outdoors. The first step is getting the cat accustomed to the harness. Let her smell it and otherwise examine it. Then put it on her. Some experts recommend leaving the harness loose at first, pointing out that the clicking noise made by the fastener might startle her.
Watch the cat after fastening the harness. If she’s not wriggling or trying to undo it, she is ready for the leash. Walk her around indoors with the leash until she has stopped fighting the restraints. Then it’s time to take her for walks outside. Again, it’s necessary to start small, for there are many strange sights, sounds and smells outdoors that the cat will have to get used to. Start with short walks that are under five minutes long, and gradually lengthen the walks as the cat gets used to being walked outside.
In the video below, Dr. Adrienne Mulligan strongly advises that an owner with a harnessed and leashed cat bring along a friend to hold onto the leash during car rides. The leash, after all, won’t control Fluffy by itself. She can still get under the pedals unless somebody is holding the leash and keeping her from going where shouldn’t.
Can you carry a cat in a backpack?
Believe it or not, yes! There are actually backpacks designed to carry cats. People use them when they want to take their cats along on hikes. A leash-trained cat may be happy to hike along with her owner for a bit, but when she gets tired, they can put her in the backpack.
There are several different makes of backpacks for cats. They need to have a secure and sturdy bottom to support the cat and make her feel safe. They should also be well ventilated and allow the cat to see out. The prudent owner also needs to consider Fluffy’s size; a backpack designed to accommodate a 10-pound Siamese probably won’t work for a 20-pound Maine Coon (Click here for the best stroller for large or multiple cats).
Sports bags are another possibility.
Sports bags used to carry gym clothes and other gear often have the advantage of being large enough to accommodate big cats. Many of them are made of nylon, which is quite durable.
A sports bag being used to carry a cat should have a flat and solid bottom to comfortably support the cat. It should have mesh or holes in the sides to allow the cat to breathe easily and see her surroundings. Many cat owners will put toys or a favorite blanket in the sports bag to make it more attractive to the cat.
What is Cat-in-the-Bag?
Cat-in-the-Bag is another alternative to the traditional carrier. It’s a roomy bag with a zipper that also has an adjustable collar that fits snugly around the cat’s neck. After slipping the collar over the cat’s head, the owner pulls the bag over the cat’s body and zips it closed. The bag is made of a durable and tightly-woven cotton. It is loose and thus allows the cat freedom of movement; since the cat is basically wearing the bag, it moves with her. The cat can thus stand, sit, and even lie down while in the bag.
Cat-in-the-Bag comes in three sizes: small, large, and extra-large. The small bag is for cats that are under 10 pounds, the large is for cats between 10 and 20 pounds, and the extra-large is for cats over 20 pounds.
The company that makes Cat-in-the-Bag also sells liners designed to protect the bag in case of accidents. Cat-in-the-Bag also comes with a cloth handle for easy carrying. The handle also enables the owner to safely secure the cat by threading the seatbelt through it.