cats and vacations. traumatized by carrier!

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April 28th, 2009 23:33
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I am going on vacation for 15 days, I didn't want to leave Nick alone so I was planning on leaving him with my parents, but he is deathly afraid of the cat carrier. We have to force him in, it's quite an ordeal. I'm not sure why he is so afraid, he's only been in it a few times. I don't really see how I can easily take him from my place to my parents without the struggle; so I was wondering if it is too mean to have someone come and visit, feed, etc, him every 2 days while I'm on my vacation? He's never been left alone longer than one day; and I feel awful but I don't know what else to do. How can I easily coax him into the carrier? I don't want him to be traumatized from putting him in it, or traumatized from me leaving him. Any easy solutions?
Thank you!
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April 29th, 2009 15:01
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Ah, the Cat Carrier Battle.
First: he's afraid of the cat carrier because (choose one): 1) he had a bad experience w/it bef. you got him; 2) he hates being confined; 2) the only place it ever goes is to the vet & he hates that [most likely].
Few cats like the carrier. We cat owners know that we just have to stuff them into the box whether they like it or not; I've been doing it for 30 yrs. You're stuck with the struggle, but it certainly won't hurt the cat in the long run. In fact, the more he goes into the carrier & DOESN'T go to the vet, the better he'll feel about it. Harden your heart, pick him up, hold his legs still, & stuff him in however you can. Have cat treats inside the carrier as you do this, it may distract him.
Remember that he may poop in the carrier on the car ride over to your parents' house; they frequently do). To avoid this, don't feed him in the morning on the day you take him to your parents'. Feed him when he gets there, it'll distract him from being mad & upset & may convince him that the trip was worth it.
He will not be permanently traumatized, it'll only be a temporary situation. He'll recover, believe me. He may be mad at your for a few days when you get back, but he will forgive you eventually.
Top-loading cat carriers work better than side-loading carriers.
SECOND: Pet-sitting:
All pets left at home should be visited at least once a day. Cats cannot be left alone a couple of days because they're cats, they do need people & need to be checked on. If you hire a pet-sitter, get one that's bonded & licensed. Have the sitter come in at least once a day, to feed & play with the cat. I recommend that if you leave the cat at home & hire the sitter, keep him in his favorite room the 15 days, so he gets into less trouble - & cat-proof the room as much as possible.
I think he should go to your parents, since they're willing. He'll scream in the box, but he'll live. You can't let him manipulate him. This will also help you find out how he reacts to temporary relocations - something he may need to get used to.
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