New Cat with Mild Anxiety?

wealthy1

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I recently adopted a beautiful, friendly and loving kitty. What I didn't know is that she has a fear of small spaces...like a cat carrier. When I was bringing her home from Petsmart she destroyed the box she was in while I was driving. When I took her to the vet today for an exam she was trying to destroy the cat carrier.

Each instance she was in the front with me; so I was in eyeshot. I do need to take her back to the vet in about a month for another check-up. Is there anything I can do to ease her anxiety?

ETA: Also does anyone have a cat carrier recommendation that she can't destroy?
 

di and bob

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Get a sturdy hard plastic one that has the whole side lay down rather than the little opening in the front. Amazon has them or most retailors. I have one and it is much easier getting them in and out and is very strong. I give a couple of my cats some calming treats befroe they go and they work. You can get them online too. I limit teh amount of vet trips too, unless they are absolutely necessary. Most times my vet will accept progress reports from me over the phone.
 

Lennybells

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Get a sturdy hard plastic one that has the whole side lay down rather than the little opening in the front. Amazon has them or most retailors. I have one and it is much easier getting them in and out and is very strong. I give a couple of my cats some calming treats befroe they go and they work. You can get them online too. I limit teh amount of vet trips too, unless they are absolutely necessary. Most times my vet will accept progress reports from me over the phone.
She sounds scared of the carrier. Hobbes hates it but tolerates it. The plastic carrier is amazing for that. If she starts showing anxiety for other daily routines like nail clipping (that kind of stuff; things you have to do for her benefit) you might have to get her on meds for that. It probably won’t (I’m probably just being dramatic 😂). Hope you enjoy your new furbaby!
 

Eurocat

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Hi there
First - congratulations on your new kitty! :)

I think things will take time, but with many small steps I‘m sure she can get used to a carrier without destroying it. (Or you;))

Being in europe, I don‘t know what Petsmart is - but if it‘s a shelter it may mean she was confined and has bad memories of this.

Whatever the background I think it‘s important to try and understand things from her perspective and try and build up in small steps to try and reach what you want to achieve.
The first point is that no matter how friendly she is, she still doesn‘t know you very well. The more she knows you, understands you mean well and trusts you, the more you will be able to do things with her, although she may always have things she doesn’t like doing. But she will understand you are a support and be generally calmer.
Regarding the carrier, whether soft or hardcase I‘d first start introducing it into everyday life and building only positive connections with it. Some integrate it into clicker training.
With my very anxious semi-feral I‘m on the third carrier - and she actually loves this one, even though she isn’t a confident traveller. She had some negative connections with the first 2 as in the first months she was with me the carrier was used as the gateway to the vet. Of course she was smart enough to understand that no matter how wonderful her carrier may be most of the time, the risk of being transported to the vet outweighed anything else. She outgrew the first one anyway and I got the second one in the hope that she‘d be more accepting of it, which she was. I got a 3rd one as a sponsored trial as there was an integrated (useless) litter tray in it (which for me is an important aspect in trying to reduce stress when transporting a naturally very fastidious feline.) The litter tray was however totally redundant and more of a sales gag and I actually wanted to return the carrier, but mindblowingly, my kitty just loves the carrier. I had to solve the transportable litter tray problem another way.
So as of this time the carrier is always out for her to use. She gets food in there sometimes, she occasionally snoozes in there, I integrate it into play sessions and if I unzip both sides she even uses it as a cat tunnel to zoom through.
We‘ve now been to the vet a couple of times and I‘ve even taken her on with me in the car to one of my holiday destinations (shorter ride) and she‘s done really well, even though I get a miserable meow here and there. But she does calm down after a while if I reassure her. And she still loves the carrier.
Initially I also practised carrying her around the house and to the garden in the carrier, so she knows that it can mean a portal to good experience too ;)
So I think you have to look at the carrier issue in the larger framework and build up. Car drives if course may add to the feeling of horror in the carrier.
Once she feels more comfortable with a carrier, you could train car drives and also here provide positive associations (eg. initially only getting into the car and giving her some amazing treat) and then building up to starting the car and then going round the block.
As I don‘t have a car, this has really been my weak point in my training - I‘d love to get my kitty more used to being inside a vehicle.
The next point is something I‘ve already touched on - namely having a litter tray available when your cat is transported. Cats have a tough deal in this respect as they are just put in a carrier on a puppy pad and have to take things as they come. The need „to go“ can just add to a sense of panic in the carrier.

As I said, with a tiny step by step approach and a build up of trust I‘ve been able to really woo my very anxious kitty into allowing and tolerating quite stressful situations for her.

And I‘d really use medication as a very last resort as any medication can have nasty side effects.

As far as I remember, there‘s a lovely lady from Texas on youtube „Bordernerd“ that does amazing things while fostering kitties and socializes them wonderully to be able to tolerate a wide range of experiences.

The very best to you and your kitty!
 

Biomehanika

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Lots of good advice here. As well as leaving the carrier out 24/7 so she can get used to it and scent soak whatever blankie will be in it on her own terms, make sure to have another blanket or towel to cover the carrier with when she’s being transported. My cats do not like travel in general but the difference in their anxiety level between an uncovered and covered carrier is huge. You could also talk to your vet about giving gabapentin beforehand so that the trip over and exam is less stressful for her.
 

Alldara

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I've been playing with my cat by doing some hidden treats in the carrier. But that's after building up some trust
 
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