Des Moines Veterinarian Discusses Cat Carriers

Choosing the Best Cat Carrier

by: Dr Nancy Peterson, Ingersoll Animal Hospital

At Ingersoll Animal Hospital we see many styles and types of cat carriers, from cute and decorative to simple and functional.

There are many choices and styles of cat carriers all with the same goal of getting your cat safely where she needs to go whether it is a short trip in Des Moines to the cat veterinarian, or a long move to a new home. But some styles are better than others in the ability to keep your cat safe, comfortable, and relatively stress-free during the entire process.

The best cat carriers are the inexpensive, hard-sided carriers that are sturdy and secure and easy to pick up and handle. A good cat carrier should not only open from the front, but also from the top. The top opening allows for easier placement of your cat into the carrier. Avoid carriers that require a cat to be pulled or dumped out for an exam.

Carriers that can be quickly & easily taken apart in the middle (so that the top half can be removed entirely) are very helpful. An easily-removable top allows a cat–which may be fearful, anxious, or in pain–to stay in the bottom half of the carrier for exams. Our veterinarians can often perform a full exam while your cat is comfortably lying in the bottom of a well-designed carrier. Many cats seem to pretend that they are invisible and hidden in the bottom of the carrier, often increasing the comfort level for an anxious cat.

Other ways to make the carrier feel safe and comfortable are:

We recommend leaving the carrier out and visible in the house, not storing it out of sight. This helps avoid the “oh there is my carrier I’m out of here” behavior. Routinely place soft bedding in the carrier and place a treat in it in nightly. Many cats then find it to be a place of comfort and can be found taking naps inside the carrier.

Carriers should be seat-belted into the car to keep your cat safer and to reduce the bumpiness of the ride. While in the car, some cats like to see out, whereas others are less anxious when the carrier is covered with a blanket or towel to prevent seeing the unfamiliar. Let’s keep all of our Des Moines cats safe on their trips to and from the veterinarian.

Helpful resources:

“Cats and Carriers: Friends not Foes” Video

Downloadable Brochure: How To Get Your Cat to the Veterinarian