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If you have ever struggled to get your cat into its pet carrier, then you’ve likely scoured the internet for the best methods for accomplishing this impossible task! Some pet owners deal with this situation all too often, and we understand your frustration. Whether your four-legged feline friend is an unwilling cat, angry cat, or one of those nervous cats, there are simply times, like a vet visit, that require a carrier. We’ll share a few of our favorite tricks to help calm your aggressive cat and while making the sight of a carrier seem like a more desirable place to be.

aggressive cat in pet carrier

Build a Positive Association with the Pet Carrier

One of the best ways to foster pleasant experiences for anxious or aggressive cats is to take fear out of the equation. The first step is to reintroduce your cat to its carrier by placing it in an area that is visible, but non-threatening. You won’t want to intrude on your cat’s eating area, pet bed, or favorite place to play, as those a spots it considers a safe place. Leave the pet carrier in a quiet place just outside your cat’s usual path so that he can explore on his own terms.

If your cat doesn’t sense the sight of the carrier automatically means a car ride to a vet appointment, the carrier slowly becomes less threatening. Leaving the carrier door open will even encourage him to venture inside at some point. Try lining the bottom of the carrier with a favorite pet blanket or soft, thick towel. You may just find him curled up in the cozy, small space taking a cat nap one of these days! As the carrier becomes a non-threatening item he sees on a regular basis, your cat’s stress is eventually replaced with positive associations with the carrier.

brey kitten sleeping on blanket inside pet carrier

You may also want to try tempting your cat a bit closer to the carrier each time you see progress being made. Rewarding anxious cats with positive reinforcements can help relieve the stressful situation. Place a reward closer to the carrier each time one is given to close the gap between them.

Positive reward ideas that helped us get an aggressive cat into its carrier:

  • Place his favorite toys near the carrier and move it closer every day or two until you are able to place it inside the carrier.
  • Coax your fur baby with his favorite treats, leaving a few near or on top of the carrier.
  • Try using a little catnip as positive reinforcement for exploring the carrier after enough time has passed.
  • Invest in a laser pointer, pointing it near and on top of the carrier, then eventually inside. Cats can’t resist the fun!

Top Tips for Difficult Cats

When the favorite cat toy and all the cat treats just don’t seem to work with your little guy, it’s time to step up your game. The last thing you want is to make your cat feel punished. This will only promote further aggressive behavior and can cause more fear of car rides and the vet’s office. The most important thing is to help your cat feel safe and loved. Besides, those sharp claws aren’t exactly easy to deal with every time you need to get him into the pet carrier!

Cat owners tried several options with their difficult cats, including:

  • Burn off extra energy before you need to leave
  • Use the burrito method
  • Try the pillowcase method

Burn Off Extra Energy

If your cat continues to show signs of aggression towards his carrier, try burning off some energy before it’s time to load up in the carrier. A little playtime with a favorite cat toy or laser pointer is always a great option. You’ll have him tuckered out in no time. Engaging in playtime before attempting to get your cat into its carrier should help his entire body relax and keep your cat calm.

What is the Burrito Method

The burrito method, or blanket method, is ideal for unwilling cats who scratch. Wrapping them up in a soft blanket like a burrito helps them feel snug and secure while keeping them from clawing you and pushing against the carrier. If you can cuddle with your cat beforehand, the burrito method can be an easy process. Make him feel nice and snug as you wrap him in his safe haven and love on him a bit before making the transfer to his pet carrier. Remember, you don’t want him to feel the carrier is a punishment.

cat rolled up in towel burrito method

What is the Pillowcase Method

What cat doesn’t love playing in the sheets and towels? While it may not be ideal on laundry day, your pillowcase may just come in handy the next time you need to get an aggressive cat into its carrier. Coax him into the pillowcase then gently scoop him up. While a top-loading carrier is the easiest model for this method, the pillowcase method allows you to easily transfer and place your fur baby inside his carrier, then slowly slide the pillowcase off and out of the carrier.

What is the Best Carrier?

As you shop around for the best carrier, just remember it needs to be the right size carrier. While cats love to squish themselves into cozy corners and tight spaces, this does not apply to the kind of carrier you select. If you have a new cat or kitten, consider its age and breed when considering the right carrier for your fur friend. Investing in a larger size carrier now may save you money in a few months.

The type of carrier you choose may also depend on your travel needs. If you plan to transport your cat by plane at all, you’ll want to check with major airlines for their pet carrier rules and regulations. If you’re a car or RV adventurer, you may prefer a soft-sided carrier or hard carrier, depending on your specific needs. The best cat carrier is one that meets your travel needs while providing enough room to make your cat feel safe and secure.

As you work with your cat to find the best way to get him comfortable in his carrier, just remember to have patience. If your first attempts don’t succeed, move on to the next step. Only time will tell what the best option is for you and your cat, but we’re confident that you’re ready to master how to get an aggressive cat into its carrier with ease!