To think I will be able to get these cats into their baskets?(77 Posts)
I'm (finally) moving house on Monday.
We are taking our cats both age 7 with us. Neither have been in a car since being 13 weeks old. They were feral kittens, and I tamed them.
One, who is the most loving cat, I have not managed to pick up EVER. We have had to have vet home visits for their jabs because she turns into a seething mass of muscle if we try to pick her up.
We are moving a 5 hour drive away.
We have a cat valium prescribed. But another vet told us this is bad because she might fight against it and be worse.
I am putting treats in their baskets but they seem to know the basket is bad and wont go near.
I am thinking of paying a vet to get them in the baskets. I don't even know if they would do this.
Also thinking of asking the Cats Protection lady to do it in exchange for a big donation.
All the usual 'wrap them in a towel just don't work with these two. I have always had cats, so I know that their behaviour is off the scale in terms of getting them in the baskets. The vet said one in particular is the most terrified she has ever seen.
Could you try putting their food bowls inside the baskets?
Can you create a 'funnel' with boxes/gates etc that you can 'gently' usher them down and into the basket? Or take the top off the basket, put their blankets/treats and give them a couple of days to get use to it?
Failing that, thick gloves, thick towel and just get them in anyway you can? Basket on its end so you can just drop them in and slam the door?
I’m guessing you’ve tried different types of carrier before? Mine hates the closed in plastic ones where he can’t see us but sits perfectly fine in some weird wire old fashioned thing that he can see out at all angles.
Have you asked your friends/neighbours? I've helped several people with their cats as I'm quite good with handling them.
Or your idea of asking the CP lady and giving a donation is good. Or a vet nurse at your vets rather than the vet? Cheaper and they're often good at handling animals (I'd be a vet nurse if the pay was better).
What about the metal dog crate style enclosures? Our cats will happily climb into one to eat treats and cat meat. They can be locked inside the crate and transported that way.
I sometimes use the crate if workers/builders are around the house so I can be confident of cats not being able to walk/run out of front of our house (towards the road). It's the best £30 i've ever spent.
Unfortunately it sounds like you’re going to need gardening gloves, a large towel and another person to help you. Swaddle cat in towel, bundle into carrier. It will be a horrible process, but it doesn’t sound like you have another option. As Nessie says, I’ve found the “carrier vertical, drop cat in” method much more successful than trying to push them in horizontally.
OMG - I have this EXACT same problem with my cat!
We rescued him from an empty house as his owner died and her sons didn't re-home him.
Anyways, he will not go into the basket so much so he still hasn't been neutered or had injections and I am terrified he'll get into a fight and end up with infections but the simple fact is I have tried everything.
I also rang round all the local vets to ask if a vet could come to my house and sedate him and they said they couldn't.
Pets at home suggested buying like a pair of think gauntlets so he didn't scratch when trying to get him in.
The only other thing I can suggest is calling cats protection and asking if they can come out and help? They do have "crush cages" which are bigger and might be easier than a normal cat carrier.
You can borrow a cat trap from a local rescue and then leave it set with tuna as a bait.its then very easy to transfer into a cat carrier.
MummyStruggles you need to get a specialist home vet, if you Google you should find one. They are vets who can't afford a practice yet.
Ours have had their injections this way.
My parents use a sort of small tunnel shaped soft carrier for over the shoulder carrying (bad weather means they sometimes have to carry her up to 3 miles).
They might be more inclined to see it as a tunnel toy and be tricked into it?
Movinghouseatlast - Really? Thanks so much - I'll look into that.
My tip is if you can pick them up, put them in backwards (tail end first) so they can't do the spread-legged thing. And wear protective gauntlets
Also try a trail of Lick-e-lix - it's like crack cocaine for cats, they won't be able to resist!
My cat will happily stroll into his basket unasked, but has on two occasions escaped (in one case literally bursting through the plastic "door") in the car which is pretty stressful - especially when you get to other end!
Unfortunately there’s no nice way of doing this. The best way is to do it quickly. Approach the cat from behind and pick it up with a towel or small blanket, wrapping it up as you do so. Then put everything in the basket and quickly lock the door. They will unravel themselves and be able to sit on the blanket in the basket.
Just dragging the scenario out is more stressful for you and the cat.
I think fingernails suggestion of a small dog crate is excellent - do they get on? They might be less scared together. It would also be better for a long drive as scared cat in a small place for 5 hours is likely to result in quite a bit of poo spreadage...
The only issue might be space in the cars if you are planning to transport much of your stuff that way.
It's a shame that you've left it so late. The easiest method I've found is to use the baskets as beds for the cats.
Put the cats beds in, and leave them out in the house with the doors open so that they can come and go as they please. Having their food and water in the basket is ideal if there is room.
Eventually they'll see them as beds rather than nasty cages. An alternative method that can work is to catch them asleep and put them in the baskets while still drowsy.
Yes, we have left it late. We have been having building work in the new house. In trying to protect them from that they have been left alone for a week. I should have asked the friend who fed them to put it in the baskets.
I don’t have cats so apologies if this is not appropriate but could you trap them in a dog crate whilst they are asleep? You could open the door of the dog crate, upend it and put the crate over the sleeping cat.
I also have a cat I can't handle, as well as two who you can, except when a basket appears. We get the baskets out at least a few hours before, then wait for the cat to be in a different room before attempting to pick them up. Don't touch the basket if the cat is in sight, instant warning to them to hide. It's easier to have two people, one to hold the basket vertical, and do the door, one to grab and lower cat backwards, although it can be done alone if necessary. We always use the vertical basket/cat in backward technique, although that does mean they can push off the bottom and headbutt their way out if you're not careful.
I am another owner who solved the problem by getting a big cat/small dog soft tunnel carrier. They are bigger, have more visibility and my cat, at least, was very happy to go in it. He is a bigger than normal cat, and hated his enclosed hard plastic carrier. I think he was claustrophobic.
The one I got was from Amazon, was fairly cheap, and has done the job over the last couple of years.
Our cat hadn't been handled much as a kitten and she is loathe to be picked up and cuddled, but we have much less difficulty than you in getting her in the carrier. We do have to trap her in a particular room (hope your house isn't open plan) and corner her, grab her by the neck scruff and bundle her in. It was much harder at first but she has got used to the procedure now and while she's never going to be strolling in, she resists a lot less. I think she recognises the futility now as DH simply pursues her round the room and doesn't give up - obviously you can't when you need them to be in that carrier!
She does not view the carrier as a comfy bed any more because she's gone to the vet's and the cattery in it too many times. That only works for a short while...
I think for you it is going to have to be the big towel and a small brush. I used to use the brush to help with vicious rabbits - you hold the brush in front of the animal, they attack the brush then you can grab the scruff and surround in towel. I have a thousand pities for you, it is SO hard.
If you can get metal cage type carriers, they are more secure. Some cats like to see out, others are calmer if you cover the carrier. Put the carrier in a small room with nowhere to hide, like a bathroom. Tempt the cat in with a treat, close the door as undramatically as possible, then in one smooth movement grab and drop,back legs first, into the carrier. It’s easier with two people. You have to be slightly ruthless with tails and paws, close the lid as far as possible and push protruding bits in. If you fail first time then you have a problem, unfortunately.
I'd be tempted to starve them overnight and put a tin of tuna or whatever their fave food is in the basket (laced with the sedative) you'd need to do them both in separate rooms so as one doesn't catch on whilst the other is being caught. My vet also recommended the lick-e-lix things too for hiding drugs in (I'm currently on anti-biotics after my cat bit me at the vets this week so I literally feel your pain) good luck!
I upend mine and put the cat into it vertically. Blind superman is another good method. Look some up on youtube
secure the room before you do it and make sure any catflaps/windows etc are locked because if they get spooked, you're buggered.
Be careful with fabric type carriers that they don't twist and end up unable to breathe well- my mum's cat managed this...
Oh God you have my sympathy.
2 beautiful rescue kittens. Really loving on their own terms but try to pick them up they'll run a mile. I've got one of them snuggled up on my chest right now but if I try to move him he'll be off like a rocket.
It took me and DP an hour and a half to catch the girl to take her to be spayed. I was in floods of tears by the end of it and she was upset too
Can you try putting their food bowls in the carriers with blankets from now until Monday - it might at least get them used to it if they have to go in their for their dinner
My mum has elbow length fire gauntlets and goggles for this job (which also requires a goggle wearing assistant to close the cage door). It's not pretty, but this way nobody loses an eye or a hand.
Good luck. They always jump in that cage quick enough when it's time to go home again.
I handle feral/aggressive cats a fair bit and have the tequnique pretty well rehersed.
Firstly stroke the back of the neck if the cat allows.
If not then chuck towel over head.
Once you are aware of where the teeth are, grab cat firmly at the scruff of the neck. The trick is to get a good wedge of cat. Sounds terrible but it means you cant get bitten.
Pick up, drop in basket bum first.
I would look into getting a small crate and start feeding them everyday in their own crate.
Once in, shut the door and cover with a blanket. (On moving day)
The rest of time between now and then, leave the door open.
Treats and food and everything nice goes in it.
Freshly cooked chicken, cheese, ham, dreamies, anything that your cats will go crazy for.
3 times a day just slip treats into each crate. Let them at them at their leisure and wander out. DO NOT SHUT THE DOOR!!
Then on moving day, treat like usual and quickly slip the door shut before they realise
I have a giant mesh fabric carrier that has rigid poles keeping it in a cube type shape. The top completely zips open.
On more than one occasion I have sneaked up on my cat while she's sleeping, dropped it over her and then basically treated her like a giant spider- big bit of card underneath (the Amazon box the carrier comes in will do the trick) then very gently flip it over and zip the top shut.
Ours was about £20 from Amazon and advertised as a medium dog carrier
We used a top loading carrier for psycho cat. Psycho cat hated the carrier, the car, the vet, and everyone but my DH. She had to be put in a kitty muzzle at the vet. This was a very difficult cat.
The top loader was a miracle. The opening is bigger and the angle is just easier.
Oh purple, yours sounds like mine. I have a top loader for her. She has actually just eaten her lunch in it!
Cardboard box with air holes? Cat will go in then quickly close and tape (not the air holes obviously ) this worked for dm's feral rescue when nothing else did, she used a big box and lined it with a cube of rubber matting and a blanket
I use a top loader.One cat responds ok the being grabbed by scruff of neck when eating dreamiest.The other always falls for exploring oversized shopping bag left on the floor which I grab and hold top together and dump cat and bag in the carrier.
Getting them out at the vets is also easier with a top loader.
One of my cats used to try and kill me if I attempted to put her in her basket, it was amazing how wild and strong she became and seemed to grow extra legs. My vet put her carrier on its end, the gate at the top and open. He picked her up and put her in back feet first before she had realised what was going on. I repeated this with gloves, two of us, one firmly but gently holding her by the scruff as well. It was hard and stressful but got her in quite quickly. Hide the basket until the very last second, not saying it works for everyone but it worked for us. Good luck.
My much missed mog was a bugger for getting into her carrier. Grab by the scruff of the neck and drop in backwards was the best way but you had to be sneaky and on no account let her see the carrier. Get some puppie pads to line the crate in case they stress-wee.
Once in it was HOWLING like a banshee all the way to the V-E-T (to the point where you'd get people looking to see WTF was making the noise). Into the surgery and wouldn't come out so the carrier had to be tipped up to slide her out. Once all the work was done she'd walk back in. Once home dreamies for her and gin for me.
I miss her :-(
Can you put pet nappies on them and let them wander about the car? I had to do that with my cat, although she was a manx so didn't have a tail to contend with.
Not sure it's a good idea for the cat to wander around the car as she sounds so stressed she might get aggressive, it's also a long drive.
Hey OP - I had similar problems with my cats - they're absolute nightmares at getting into the basket and it's incredibly hard to wrestle them in. One of them I, like you, can't pick up. I bought special baskets that are top opening, they look like picnic baskets. The opening is much wider and it's much easier to get them in and secure to lock down (one of them bashed through the opening on his last cage). It's still a nightmare and we have to play endless games of running round the house before I manage to catch them - and I agree the the rubber gloves and protective clothing!
A word of warning - mine howl (properly howl) the entire time they are in the cage and also managed to wee onto the back seat of my car (through the cage bars) when we moved house. It was all a bit of a nightmare - so be prepared for an unpleasant journey once they are in. Good luck!
I completely understand your concern. We moved a couple of years ago and had catch our 5 cats (all of whom were feral and we tamed). We managed to get 4 on the day. DH had to use heavy duty construction gloves and pretty much wrestle them in to the carriers.
It took 3 weeks to catch the 5th one. In the end we had to buy an animal trap and leave it set up (keeping our fingers crossed the right animal went in!). Our neighbour rag us to say there was a cat in it. Thankfully we'd only moved an hour away.
If we did it again I'd go straight for the trap. You'd need 2. Don't feed the cats for 24 hours before you want to catch them. Set up the trap and put something really tasty at the far end (prawns?).
If your cats go outside don't give them a sedative as they might fall asleep outside somewhere that you can't find them. My parents did this and the cat ended up under the decking for a few hours.
We have a system - sneak the carrier out the garage and put by the back door when the cat isn't watching. Then Sneak it further into the house, tuck it round the corner of the downstairs loo so can't be seen. Go find the cat, walk round the house giving lots of cuddles, chatting to him etc, walk towards the downstairs loo and quickly before he sees it round the corner, put him in the waiting basket (propped vertically if necessary) and shut the door. It's a one chance deal as if he sees it he will vanish. Second person closes the toilet door as a safety net so he can't hide under a bed/behind a sofa etc. Then if feeling generous, poke some dreamies through the bars. This is the most recent cunning plan, when he cottons on, we will need to find a different corner to hide it behind.
Oh I feel your pain. Have you written a will?
I asked advice from our vet as mine is so carrier phobic and got the towel advice etc, she made it sound so easy. "It'll be fine" she said. "Just make a cat burrito" she said
If you get bitten, it will need medical attention and anti biotics. Just saying
Half the problem is I am too "soft" and scared of hurting her, DH is actually firmer and quicker which really does help. No faffing!
Good luck - DH still has the scar from when we had to catch one of my cats when I moved in with him 11 years ago!
She's calmed down a lot since then and came quietly last time we moved, but one of the others decided to howl all the way to the new place and made some unearthly smells on the carrier too......
We have maine coons - softies but huge strong, and carrier averse. Best approach I've found is to stand the carrier on its end, door open. Grab cat and drop in butt first. Their back legs are stronger than the front and once their ass is in then you have gravity on your side.
We have a carrier sized for a small dog. I stand it on its end, drop blanket over cat, and drop them in. I find a fleece blanket better than a towel.
I then use zip ties to secure the door really firmly.
What do you think about getting the Cats Protection lady to do it?
I'm torn because strangers freak them out so much. Even people they know. Is it better we do it?
I have Dreamies, tuna, prawns, liky lix, feliway, gauntlets and goggles at the ready.
Try yourselves at first - didn't you say they were eating out of the basket? If so shouldn't be too bad - good luck!
We cat nipped our cat into submission turned her into a drooling puddle and scooped her in
Our two rescues are very similar. One we can stroke but can't pick up and o e we can't touch at all. When we moved house we gave them each valium on the vet's advice. We put each tablet in a softish treat and offered them at 5 in the morning when they were calm to start with. One gobbled it immediately. The other was suspicious and retreated under the bed so we put treats in a food bowl under the bed and shut the other cat out and left her in peace (I believe the valium works better if they're calm at the time) . By 6am the bowl was empty and we could grab her. It still took two of us, a towel and a top loader but the valium took just enough of the edge off her speed to make it possible. They slept most of the day in their boxes and were still really out of it at 11pm but then got the munchies.....
Do it quickly and backwards, with no preamble. They'll be in before they've realised what's happened!
I feel your pain I have the same exact problem with my 4 cats it’s a 2 person job to get one cat in to a carrier. I find the semi easiest way is to stand the cat carrier up and lower them in to it either backwards or head first just watch out for splayed legs and them trying everything they can think of to get away including scratching and head butting. Good luck OP.
My method (albeit not with feral cats but friendly ones) is not to make a fuss, just quickly bring in the carrier, open the door whilst cat is distracted and place on top of table slightly overhanging the edge. Pick up cat as normal (I know you said you can't do this but might work for others) point in front if Cartier and they automatically put their feet in as nowhere else to go. Quick shove of bum and shut door after them. Honestly have done this many times. Trick is to not make a fuss and leave the basket around where they expect it. No forewarning, no stress.
Tip the carrier on it's back end, door up and open. Hold cat by scruff of neck and lower in feet first. The use of cardboard as a funnel to direct the back feet in may help stop the splay-block.
Don't be squeamish about holding firmly by the scruff, it's really the best way and it's harder for the cat to deploy teeth and claws against you.
I leave mine on the dining table with a towel over it. Pick her up for a 'cuddle' then straight in the carrier.
I know its not that easy for you but I tried everything before.
Have you tried the leaving the carriers out trick? Just so they get used to them being there whilst they're open.
When you say wrap them in a towel, have you actually thrown the towel over them so they can't see so you can make your grab whilst wearing thick gardening gloves.
If you're not sure you can do it then no harm in asking the CP lady in return for danger money/donation.
Some cats are real buggers to get in carriers. Whatever you do no cardboard boxes (cats can be determined when they want to) and definitely no free roaming in the car-you would have no hope getting them into the new house !
Highly recommend thick gloves e.g. gardening gloves and put them in the basket backwards.
What about a dog cage that fits into the back of a car. Bigger and easier to get them in.
We tried all kinds of methods with much scratching and trauma, then discovered that if we put the basket down behind her on the floor, we could just gently back her in with no trouble at all.
What are peoples experiences of the Valium? I am scared to give it to them.
This reminds me that it was always a nightmare to deflea the second cat as the first one used to warn him , basically 'run, run for your life if you know what's good for you!'
We also rescued a feral cat and had to take him to see the vet. I waited until he was hungry then baited him with tuna and lured him into a small room while he was eating I threw a bedsheet over over and wrap him up in it tightly and bundled him into the cat carrier. I could have done with a afterwards
It's surprising how much trouble cats can be, current cat is daft as a brush, but my mum's cat had to be pinned by 4 people on a particularly troublesome vet trip! She's like Mog in the story.
I can only talk about ours. Vet warned me that occasionally a cat can react badly and become more aggressive but that it was only occasionally and that giving it when they were calm to start with would help. It certainly made our move less stressful for them. Unlike you we didn't have a long journey but they're so scared of other people we left them at my mum's for the day in their carriers. Theirs are each big enough for two snd with water and food bowls that can be slid in at the front with out opening the door so they had plenty space and it was easier than letting them out and trying to catch them again but actually with the valium they just dozed all day
I struggle a lot with my three especially Timid Trevor. A breeder friend told me to get the basket ready a few days in advance then when you are petting the cat pick him up by the scruff ( a mother cat carries her kittens like this) support his bum and drop him into the basket. It works every time.
Throw a blanket over them when asleep, then quickly wrap them in blanket. Drop cat and blanket into crate. Be prepared for blanket to be torn to shreds.
Do you know how to scruff?
You need to ideally shut them into the smallest room available (without large furniture so no beds or sofas to hide under), and then 'corner' them and scruff and quickly lift into carriers.
I have a semi feral pair too and this is the only thing that works, they are generally friendly cats but approach me on their terms only and can't be picked up any usual way. When in a small room and chased around a bit they will usually find a suitably enclosed hiding place (igloo bed, if you're lucky!) and I can then catch and scruff. The boy I quickly cover with a towel after scruffing as he's so strong, the girl is tiny and just protests by growling.
When I had a feral foster cat I got her into a carrier by essentially making her move around a small room, corner to corner, away from me, until she finally ran into the open carrier as the only hiding place left. It was very stressful though and you need to approach the task with confidence or it will be almost impossible.
Asking the Cats Protection lady sounds like a good idea too, she will hopefully have dealt with plenty of tricky cats.
I thought I would say what happened in case anyone else ever needs help.
I used the Valium from the vet in Licky Lux. Other had both been out just before I gave it to them.
They both instantly demanded to go out! We went with them.as we have a routine of walking them round the garden. One of them did both a wee and a poo so I'm glad we went out.
When we came in, the most difficult one went into the carrier to eat. We just gently closed the door behind her!
The other one we picked up and dropped into the carrier.
They both wailed for the first 3 hours. But then I covered their carriers with blankets and they went to sleep. So I wish I had done that from the start. I thought they would feel more reassured being able to see me but I think they felt better being hidden.
They are in the new house now, both seem settled, purring etc.
Wrap cat in towel and shove into basket.
Can't be nice about it sadly. I have to do that for my parents cat as she won't go in a basket either. And you have to hold the basket again your body as she will throw herself at the door until it opens.
Delighted with your update.
I've only just seen this thread and it's made my morning to read the good news.
Congratulations and well done to all of you.
Excellent update, I always dread vet visits as they choose inaccessible hiding places.
Phew! Well done OP and good luck with the new house
They always manage to surprise us don’t they
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