Trainer shares three tips to help reduce your cat’s stress when they’re in their carrier, and they’re very straightforward

Woman sitting in waiting area at vet with cat carrier on her knee and grey cat inside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cat carriers can be super stressful for both pet parents and their feline friends. While some highly social and inquisitive breeds are quite happy to hop into their carrier voluntarily, most kitties aren't fond of being forced into a tight and confined space — especially if it means they're off to the vet!

Figuring out how to get a cat into a carrier with minimal fuss is no easy feat, particularly if your kitty tends to struggle with anxiety. Thankfully, registered vet technician and certified cat behavior consultant, Tabitha Kucera, says that not only is it possible to help your beloved bundle of fluff feel calmer in their carrier, over time, they may even come to love it.

In a helpful post shared to Instagram, Kucera reveals three of her favorite tips for helping cats feel comfortable in their carrier — and number two is so important. You can check out the post below or read on for a summary of each tip...

1. Choose a cat friendly carrier: When it comes to shopping for the best cat carriers, Kucera says it's important to first consider the entry and exit points. "A carrier with both front and top openings, or one with a large round opening will allow you to easily place your cat in and take them out," she says. You'll also want to consider size, with Kucera recommending that you make sure your cat can walk easily in and out of the carrier, and move and turn around if they want to. 

2. Make the carrier a positive place: "Leave the carrier out in a place where your cat and you like to spend time," Kucera suggests. "Our cats love being with us, so the carrier should be in an area you are in most of the time. Make sure to leave it open so they can check it out at their own pace. This will help create less stress when the time comes that they actually have to get in it."

Kucera also recommends placing some of the best cat treats inside the carrier as well as toys and familiar bedding. "All the smells of home will be in the carrier, which will make it feel like a safe place."

3. Be patient and go at a pace your cat is comfortable with: "If your cat is afraid of their carrier, buy a new feline friendly carrier to help set them up for success. Take off the top and the door and start with just leaving the bottom of the carrier out. Once the cat is comfortable entering and resting in the bottom, add the top of the carrier, but not the door. Reward for approaching, entering, then staying. Once the cat does this regularly, add the front door, leaving it open, and repeat." 

When it comes to carrier training your cat, it can take time, patience, and consistency to help them feel fully calm and comfortable. If you find after several months that your feline friend is still struggling with stress and anxiety when they're needing to travel in their carrier, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer, or your vet, for support. 

Looking for ways to give your fur friend's mental and physical health a boost? Our guide to fun cat enrichment ideas has got you covered. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.