PetMD provides a nice “how to” article for transporting a cat to the vet. I hope that they have more experience at treating cats than they do transporting them.
First they say to invest in a carrier and then just leave it sitting in the living room with a few treats in it and “…you may,” they say, “find the kitty hanging out in it.” Right. You may also find unicorns hanging out in it. Even my cat, Molly, is not stupid enough to willingly walk into the carrier when it is in our house.
When the carrier is at the vet… Well, that’s a different story. More on that later.
Anyway, they finish that little fantasy by saying that, “all you’ll have to do is keep an eye out for when the kitty is inside the crate and slam the door on your way by.” I definitely am going to call the vet for an appointment, and when they ask when I’d like to come in tell them I don’t know and that it will depend on whenever Molly decides to hang out in her carrier.
They do not say what to do if the cat doesn’t want to get into, or be put into, the carrier. A cat not only has teeth and claws, it can splay its legs out and make itself much wider than any carrier door.
The way to get the cat in the carrier is really not all that hard; you have to catch the little bugger by surprise. Cats are fast, but even cats cannot react instantly. Have the cat in the living room and get the carrier out in the bedroom with the door open and ready. Now carry the cat into the bedroom, holding its head such that it can’t see the carrier until you are in the act of inserting it through the door. Next thing you know the cat is inside the carrier wondering what the hell just happened.
“Never open a crate with a cat inside,” they then tell us, “unless you are prepared for the cat to spring out of the crate and make a dash for freedom.”
Well, you can be prepared for that if you want to, but it isn’t going to happen. What is going to happen is that you are going to need a pry bar to get the terrified creature to come out of its “safe place” and allow the giant in the white coat to torture it. The mad dash is going to happen if the vet doesn’t have a good grip, and it is going to be the cat disappearing back into the safety of the carrier.
We have to take the carrier off the counter and hide it, because if Molly can see it she is making a determined effort to head for it, which complicates the vet’s ability to examine her. When it’s back on the counter there is a little thunderclap as she breaks the speed of sound getting back into it.
Molly is generally fairly quiet in transit, sort of muttering a protest from time to time. One time she was silent after we left the house until we reached the freeway and I was just about to merge with high speed traffic, at which point she emitted a major protest in the form of a piercing shriek. I almost had a terrible wreck.
Thank you Molly, I appreciated the thrill.