We all have experienced it, a cat who is hard to get in or out of their carrier. Maybe they come out easily at home, but hide in the back at the vet or groomer. For many years, it was simply get the cat in any box or carrier, and get the visit over with. Nowadays, cat owners are looking for gentler, kinder, and less stressful experiences for their cats. One of the easiest ways to reduce stress from vet and groomer visits is to have an easily opened top loading carrier! This may mean replacing that dusty crate that sits in the garage with the rusty screw in bolts or zip ties in the sides from 4 cats ago. At The Cat's Meow, your cat having a positive experience matters to us.
Why replace a crate that you can still carry a cat in?
*Loading and unloading cats into strange environments poses a bite or swat risk to your cats' caregivers, and that risk increases by many times if that caregiver has to reach through a small door. Even cats who walk out of small doors in one environment, may not in another.
* Caregivers or owners may need to scruff their cat to remove it. This is a hostile act in the cat's mind, can be painful, and takes away their autonomy. Cats sometimes react violently to being scruffed.
*Being grabbed, dragged, dumped, or pulled out of a small front door or opening is a predatory move in your cats' mind; and it starts off the visit on the wrong note. Starting out with a negative experience increases stress in your cat. Cats have a hard time letting go of stress.
* Being grabbed, dragged, dumped, or pulled out a front door poses a risk for breaking legs or toes that get stuck in doors, frames, and hinges.
* Putting your cat into a large top opening at home reduces stress and decreases the chance your cat will hide or become aggressive. Cats remember bad experiences with crates and will often see the crate and hide. Pushing a cat through a small front door with all its legs out is not fun for owner or pet, and could be dangerous for both. Missed vet, grooming, and boarding appointments often have cancellation fees.
* When boarding, a cat who arrives and is agitated can have the top removed from their carrier and slid into the suite, leaving the crate bottom at their own pace. A cat arriving in a front opener sometimes has to be forcibly removed.
*Cats can be examined by vets and groomers inside the bottom of an opened top load crate. They have full access to the body, while the cat is still inside a space that smells like home. Groomers can clip nails easily without removing your cat if necessary. This can lead to a positive experience for your cat. If the cat becomes fractious, the caregiver can simply replace the top, vs trying to force an angry cat into a small opening.
So what crate should I get?
A hard or soft carrier with a zippered top opening, a door on top, or EASILY removed clips on the sides. Pins and screws in the sides can take up to 10 minutes to remove, or rust shut easily. An anxious cat becomes more anxious when removing a crate top takes a long time. Modern crates come in many price points and styles.
Size: Cats like to hide and feel safe. Often, our cats will prefer a smaller crate to a larger one because of this instinctual need. Owners often are concerned that their cat might need a large area in their crate but this more of a human feeling. In a car, it is recommended that the animal be touching at least 2 sides of the crate at all times to reduce injuries during an accident.
We sell multiple appropriate crate styles in our cat boutique. Or here are some great choices on amazon!
What about cats that fear or run from their carrier? More on that in our next blog! Thanks! Jennifer at The Cat's Meow