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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10380
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I have a 13 year old tabby and I have to leave my current home

Customer Question

I have a 13 year old tabby and I have to leave my current home for an apartment. I am concerned how my cat will travel as she is so afraid of crates. She is overweight and I have not been able to get her to the vet because I can't get her in the crate. Is there something I can give her to help her to make the move much easier on both of us.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Deb. I'll do my best to help you today.
I'm sorry you're having a tough time with Shadow but as you might not be surprised to hear, getting a cat into a crate can be a challenge for many owners.
I do have a few suggestions for you though which, hopefully, will make the move a little easier for your both.
1. If you have one of those plastic carriers, consider purchasing a soft sided one. Cats tend to prefer them and since they open from the top, it's often much easier to get them into it.
2. Another option if you don't have too far to travel would be to use a pillow case to transport her. You might be surprised how well it works since the cat can't see where it's going which often reduces stress. They can breath just fine if you're concerned about this.
There are several videos available on the internet which will demonstrate the technique a little better than I can explain it but you've basically just scooping her up into it and tieing the top of the pillowcase. You could then put her in the carrier while she's in the bag or just support the bottom of it and carry her in your arms.
I often recommend this method for my owner's whose cats fight tooth and nail to get in the carrier and it really works well for the majority of them.
3. I'd purchase a product called Feliway which is a natural pheromone and intended to reduce stress and anxiety and is advertised as perfect for this sort of situation. It comes in a spray or wipes which can be used inside the carrier (or pillowcase) but you'll want to make sure that it's dry before you put the cat in it.
It can be purchased at many pet or grain stores or online.
4. I'm somewhat reluctant to suggest drugs given her age but one to consider would be over the counter Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) which often has the benefit of sedating the pet taking it. There are a few cases, however, where just the opposite effect of excitement can be seen so a trial run with it should be done first if you decide to use it.
The dose would be 1 mg per pound of body weight about 1 hour before desired effect (sedation in this case). For example, the dose for an average sized 10 lb cat would be 1/2 of a 25 mg tablet.
I hope this helps and that your move is stress free...or relatively so.