Potential Injury with Attempt to Get in Carrier

hoosiercatlady

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Within the past year, my two beloved geriatric cats (litter mates) died. It was brutal. I had them since they were kittens, and they were so cooperative and docile. I was therefore spoiled/naive in my expectations from cats. They let me bathe them, clean their ears and teeth, check their temperature when necessary (the way none of us liked), feel around on them for signs of illness or disease, and ... load them into their carrier. Neither liked it, but they didn't fight me about it. The worst they did was cry a little and put up a half-hearted protest.

Now we have Katie, a roughly six-year-old scrappy former stray, with big beautiful blue eyes (she's a lynx point siamese) and major trust issues. Oh, and she's FIV+, so keeping her stress level low is important. She has gradually learned to trust us (long story, but we've known her and fed her for over 5 years near a family member's home a nearby town while she was a tame-ish stray cat, but we only finally adopted her in February), but gets snippy if she's manhandled and outright violent when coerced into a crate.

We live in Tornado Alley and it's the spring, when the need to take swift shelter is common. We live on a upper floor of an apartment building that is not safe if a tornado comes through. There is a storm shelter area below us where I used to be able to swiftly round up our previous cats and take them down with me. It took all of 3 minutes. Now with Katie, we have an incredible degree of difficulty that I'm not accustomed to. I've been a cat owner for nearly 20 years with very cooperative cats, but she is my first intensely noncompliant one, and while I know the ins and outs of lots of feline health issues, behavioral ones like hers are entirely new to me.

Earlier today there was a tornado spotted nearby and it was time to go down to the storm shelter, fast. For weeks now, we have left her carrier out with the door open for her to get used to it and walk in and out — which she has been. So the hope was today that, as we were headed down to the shelter, we would be able to swiftly get her inside it to take her with us.

Lowering scared/angry cats through an open door when a carrier is turned upright always looks good on blogs and YouTube videos done with already docile (?!) cats, but it doesn't work so well in practice with violently panicking ones.

As my husband adores her, and she him, we thought he'd be the best to try. As he went to lower her in, she thrashed around incredibly dramatically, hissing and yowling, somehow avoiding making contact with my husband's skin with her claws or teeth. He had to set her down in the calamity so that we could hustle down to the shelter and hope that she stayed safe in the closet.

When the coast was clear and the tornado warning ended (no touchdown near us), and we came back inside our apartment, all she wanted to do was hide under the bed, which I can understand after what she probably feels was a major betrayal of trust.

When she finally came out a minute ago though, my husband and I both noticed she seemed to be limping, but she slinked/hustled so quickly it was hard to determine which limb it might be. [EDIT: seems to be right shoulder area, now that we've witnessed it again] I'm sure she somehow hurt herself in the whole carrier attempt.

I retrospect, we're both thinking she may have actually been limping for a while now — the whole time she's been here, though very subtly and only now gelling in our minds now that we've seen it so pronounced today. Five years ago, when she was at the house she lived outside of before we took her in ourselves, she used to jump fences and even hop on rooftops. Pure acrobat. Over the past couple years, we noticed she wasn't doing that anymore and assumed that she probably had a bad tumble at one time and was left less agile — perhaps an old injury healed badly.

So... we're now both concerned that she's further damaged whatever latent injury she may have already been harboring. With my previous cats, I would be at the vet with them as soon as possible this week, but with Katie, obviously there's a new degree of difficulty. I don't even know how we would get her into the carrier in order to get her to the vet for scans. (This was so easy with our last two!)

When we adopted her and took her inside our apartment a few towns over three months ago, it took forever to lure her into the carrier with tuna and quickly slam the door shut on her. A ton of drama/thrashing then too, but injury-free. She was so wild at the vet immediately after that they had to anesthetize her to give her an initial quick checkup, triple test (faint FIV positive results), and trim her nails.

For future check-ups and ailments that could be done in our home, I had planned to bring in the mobile vet that came to our home to put our senior cat, Gus, down in March, but obviously if she needs scans, we're going to have to take her in.

I'm not even sure what my question is right now... How badly might she have hurt herself thrashing around in the carrier attempt? Could it have caused a worsening of an injury that we've been the vaguely curious for months may have been pre-existing? Should I try the Cosequin I still have left over from my late, great, arthritic Gus kitty? What do we do about a vet visit to get her bones/joints checked out if we can't even crate her easily? We already need to keep her calm and low-stress for her FIV; the trust and cautious snuggles that we have slowwwly earned from her seem like they can be easily reversed in situations like this.

I miss Gus and Liz so, so much on days like this. I know I can't compare her to them; that's not fair. I know she has emotional baggage and fears they never had because they'd been doted on and handled and hugged on since they were kittens. But I'm just so used to having cats that are basically adorable live stuffed toys, snuggly and cooperative. Katie is hard. So hard. I love her to pieces and I'm committed to giving her the indoor, pampered life she deserves, even though I'm deflated over the demands another special needs cat, even though she blows hot and cold, even though she's an emotional wild card on any given day. I'm at a loss over what to do with all this right now, next steps...

I'm just scared of what injury she might have incurred this afternoon in the carrier disaster, how we can even deal with it for next steps, and what to do with a cat I love and have bonded with, but who reminds me with each tantrum when I'm just trying to help her that she's not as easy as is in my skill-set.

I thought I was a seasoned veteran with cats. Turns out, that was just with abnormally easy ones — not emotional trainwrecks.
 
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hoosiercatlady

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She's a gorgeous wounded girl, chock-full of emotional baggage and trust issues, but deserves to be loved. She's our little Holly Golightly kitty. (In this case, the cat is Holly, not the other way around.) ;)
 

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She is beautiful and you no doubt are a seasoned veteran with cats, it's just that with cats that does not make any difference sometimes. In the short term, since you are probably have a good relationship with the vet who cared for your other two babies, I would call and ask if you could have a prescription for something like Gabapentin to calm her down before you have to put her in the carrier. Do you know if you can pill her? Hide something in food? Explain what is going on to the vet so they understand exactly what is needed. If she is indoor only, most vets will give a tranquilizer since the cat will not wander off down the street and collapse in front of an oncoming car.

As for the storms...and thankfully you are safe....that is a little different. I have not ever lived in a place with tornados or hurricanes, so don't know if sedation ahead of time is even a possibility.

As for being injured, if it happened when your husband tried to put her in the carrier, I would guess that it is a strain or sprain or even just a bruise unless you suspect a break from what you are seeing. It did not sound that way to me. If this now presents an possible earlier injury, that might be were the tranquilizer comes in.

Mickey has a vet appointment. This thread might help and there is a link in it to one of the articles from the site.

You have had her for a year?
 

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We place Belle's food dish inside her carrier to get her used to it. She'll climb in to eat, but is very aware when we start zipping it shut.

I've never been able to get a cat in a carrier butt first. Cats are good at using their paws & claws to impede progress. It also goes against the lay of their coat. I've always had to carefully work them in head first. Sometimes I've had to scruff them. I try to be as gentle as possible.

Last week, we got Belle a Kitty Holster. She not up to being walked in it yet, but getting her in the holster makes it easier to handle her. We've been placing Belle in her carrier and taking her outside and bringing her into the motorhome to get her ready for family vacations. For some reason, Belle is more docile when in her holster and it's easier to get her in the carrier. Still, it's impossible to place her in the carrier butt first.

I know, your cat is your cat and mine is mine. No two cats are alike and what works for Belle may not work for Katie. but it is something to try. You don't have to be told how important it is to be able to get your cat to the vet or be evacuated during a disaster.
 

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Within the past year, my two beloved geriatric cats (litter mates) died. It was brutal. I had them since they were kittens, and they were so cooperative and docile. I was therefore spoiled/naive in my expectations from cats. They let me bathe them, clean their ears and teeth, check their temperature when necessary (the way none of us liked), feel around on them for signs of illness or disease, and ... load them into their carrier. Neither liked it, but they didn't fight me about it. The worst they did was cry a little and put up a half-hearted protest.

Now we have Katie, a roughly six-year-old scrappy former stray, with big beautiful blue eyes (she's a lynx point siamese) and major trust issues. Oh, and she's FIV+, so keeping her stress level low is important. She has gradually learned to trust us (long story, but we've known her and fed her for over 5 years near a family member's home a nearby town while she was a tame-ish stray cat, but we only finally adopted her in February), but gets snippy if she's manhandled and outright violent when coerced into a crate. S

We live in Tornado Alley and it's the spring, when the need to take swift shelter is common. We live on a upper floor of an apartment building that is not safe if a tornado comes through. There is a storm shelter area below us where I used to be able to swiftly round up our previous cats and take them down with me. It took all of 3 minutes. Now with Katie, we have an incredible degree of difficulty that I'm not accustomed to. I've been a cat owner for nearly 20 years with very cooperative cats, but she is my first intensely noncompliant one, and while I know the ins and outs of lots of feline health issues, behavioral ones like hers are entirely new to me.

Earlier today there was a tornado spotted nearby and it was time to go down to the storm shelter, fast. For weeks now, we have left her carrier out with the door open for her to get used to it and walk in and out — which she has been. So the hope was today that, as we were headed down to the shelter, we would be able to swiftly get her inside it to take her with us.

Lowering scared/angry cars through an open door when a carrier is turned upright always looks good on blogs and YouTube videos done with already docile (?!) cats, but it doesn't work so well in practice with violently panicking ones.

As my husband adores her, and she him, so we thought he'd be the best to try. As went to lower her in, she thrashed around incredibly dramatically, thrashing, hissing and yowling, somehow avoiding making contact with my husband's skin with her claws or teeth. He had to set her down in the calamity so that we could hustle down to the shelter and hope that she stayed safe in the closet.

When the coast was clear and the tornado warning ended (no touchdown near us), and we came back inside our apartment, all she wanted to do was hide under the bed, which I can understand after what she probably feels was a major betrayal of trust.

When she finally came out a minute ago though, my husband and I both noticed she seemed to be limping, but she slinked/hustled so quickly it was hard to determine which limb it might be — or even a hip. I'm sure she somehow hurt herself in the whole carrier attempt.

I retrospect, we're both thinking she may have actually been limping for a while now — the whole time she's been here, though very subtly and only now gelling in our minds now that we've seen it pronounced today. Five years ago, when she was at the house she lived outside of before we took her in ourselves, she used to jump fences and even hop on rooftops. Pure acrobat. Over the past couple years, we noticed she wasn't doing that anymore and assumed that she probably had a bad tumble at one time and was left less agile — perhaps an old injury healed badly.

So... we're now both concerned that she's further damaged whatever latent injury she may have already been harboring. With my previous cats, I would be at the vet with them as soon as possible this week, but with Katie, obviously there's a new degree of difficulty — the carrier. I don't even know how we would get her into it in order to get her to the vet for scans. (This was so easy with our last two!)

When we adopted her and took her inside our apartment a few towns over this past February, it took forever to lure her into the carrier with tuna and quickly slam the door shut on her. A ton of drama/thrashing then too, but injury-free. She was so wild at the vet immediately after that they had to anesthetize her to give her an initial quick checkup, triple test (faint FIV positive results), and trim her nails.

For future check-ups and ailments that could be done in our home, I had planned to bring in the mobile vet that came to our home to put our senior cat, Gus, down in March, but obviously if she needs scans, we're going to have to take her in.

I'm not even sure what my question is right now... How badly might she have hurt herself thrashing around in the carrier attempt? Could it have caused a worsening of an injury that we've been the vaguely curious for months may have been pre-existing? Should I try the Cosequin I still have left over from my late, great, arthritic Gus kitty? What do we do about a vet visit to get her bones/joints checked out if we can't even crate her easily? We already need to keep her calm and low-stress for her FIV; the trust and cautious snuggles that we have slowwwly earned from her seem like they can be easily reversed in situations like this.

I miss Gus and Liz so, so much on days like this. I know I can't compare her to them; that's not fair. I know she has emotional baggage and fears they never had because they'd been doted on and handled and hugged on since they were kittens. But I'm just so used to having cats that are basically adorable live stuffed toys, snuggly and cooperative. Katie is hard. So hard. I love her to pieces and I'm committed to giving her the indoor, pampered life she deserves, even though I'm deflated over the demands another special needs cat, even though she blows hot and cold, even though she's an emotional wild card on any given day. I'm just at a loss over what to do with all this right now, next steps...

I'm just scared of what injury she might have incurred this afternoon in the carrier disaster, how we can even deal with it for next steps, and what to do with a cat I love and have bonded with, but who reminds me with each tantrum when I'm just trying to help her that she's not as easy as is in my skill-set.

I thought I was a seasoned veteran with cats. Turns out, that was just with abnormally easy ones — not emotional trainwrecks.
Get a cat carrier that opens on the top. It is the best investment I made. They dont cost much. But it has given me peace of mind
 

LTS3

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Get a cat carrier that opens on the top. It is the best investment I made. They dont cost much. But it has given me peace of mind

:yeah:

A carrier with a top door will make getting the cat in so much easier than trying the front door facing up with the carrier wobbling on the other end. I have this one and there are similar other ones you can buy:

 
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hoosiercatlady

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She is beautiful and you no doubt are a seasoned veteran with cats, it's just that with cats that does not make any difference sometimes. In the short term, since you are probably have a good relationship with the vet who cared for your other two babies, I would call and ask if you could have a prescription for something like Gabapentin to calm her down before you have to put her in the carrier. Do you know if you can pill her? Hide something in food? Explain what is going on to the vet so they understand exactly what is needed. If she is indoor only, most vets will give a tranquilizer since the cat will not wander off down the street and collapse in front of an oncoming car.

As for the storms...and thankfully you are safe....that is a little different. I have not ever lived in a place with tornados or hurricanes, so don't know if sedation ahead of time is even a possibility.

As for being injured, if it happened when your husband tried to put her in the carrier, I would guess that it is a strain or sprain or even just a bruise unless you suspect a break from what you are seeing. It did not sound that way to me. If this now presents an possible earlier injury, that might be were the tranquilizer comes in.

Mickey has a vet appointment. This thread might help and there is a link in it to one of the articles from the site.

You have had her for a year?
Thanks so much for all this helpful feedback. I'll look into that other thread as well.

I will have to ask them again about some Gabapentin. I'd inquired about it before, bit they said they don't encourage sedating animals in advance since the meds can bring significant risks. I know Gaba is a doozy (I've been on it myself once before and I know a lot of people in the CKD group I belonged to for Gus used it for their cats sometimes), but it seemed alarming to me that my vet was flat against it last time. It seems odd to me that she appeared more concerned about those risks than the risks of them full anesthetizing Katie when we went in for a visit. How is Gaba worse?

Unfortunately sedation ahead of time for the storms is not an option during this time of year. We have a 10-day rain forecast right now, and in this instance today, we weren't even in a tornado watch (let alone a warning) when it came on suddenly, so we literally only had minutes from "what a cozy calm/drizzly day" to "seek shelter now" emergency alerts. (Man, I hate tornadoes. Katie's not the only one who could do with a sedative during this stuff...)

Definitely does not seem like a broken bone. I've had a kitty with a broken leg before, and he couldn't handle any weight at all on it. Katie's walking on hers (we're now 90% sure it's her front left shoulder/upper arm area) — just clearly favoring it. Step, slight lurch, step, slight lurch.

Also, I edited my main post above to make it more clear that she's only been in our home for three months.

It's kind of a long detour, but I feel like I should offer some context for how we came to have Katie, because out of context, it can seem pretty callous. Her previous owner lived on the same block as my 87-year-old grandmother, and when Katie's elderly owner died, her children selling her home threw her cats out on the street to fend for themselves. (People suck.) Katie was terrified of people for a long time but would still eat the food that we would put out for her when we visited or that my grandmother gave her several times a day.

As we visited regularly, we would gradually coax her to let us pet her. Took forever. Those trust issues. My grandmother was severely allergic to cats, so could not take her in herself. We have a maximum pet limit on our apartment of two, and my own geriatric cats (Liz blinded in old age by hyperaldosteronism and Gus feeble from advanced CKD) wouldn't have been able to handle a feisty new roommate anyway. We tried to find rescue groups or fosters or adopters, but it's incredibly difficult to get a cat as lovable but volatile and complicated as her into a loving home (people want it easy — she's not). Someone needs to have a lot of patience and knowledge about cats, but simultaneously be a single cat household. As Gus started to fade from CKD at the beginning of the year, right at the time my grandmother was dying, we realized, even though Katie would slightly overlap with Gus, we had to get her in with us. After my grandmother's death (ironically, the same day we managed to trap Katie and bring her home), Our own family members would be selling her house, so timing was essential. I'm in Texas, where there was that mega freeze in February, so even though she had survived several winters on the street and living in sheltered areas and my grandmother's small neighborhood, we knew we couldn't chance it during those record low temps. It's been a rough start to the year, losing my grandmother the same day we were dealing with trapping/rescuing Katie, dealing with power and water outages during the snowstorm, having to put Gus down a couple weeks later, and in the months since, trying to give this girl the space she needs to be herself while still keeping her safe. She had a crappy start to life, and through no fault of her own, is struggling to shake off that trauma. Hopefully we're doing right by her.
 
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hoosiercatlady

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Get a cat carrier that opens on the top. It is the best investment I made. They dont cost much. But it has given me peace of mind
Thanks for the tip. I've wondered about that, but most of the top loaders that I've looked at actually have a more narrow opening than the front door of the extra large standard carrier (like beagle size) we already have. Maybe I just need to search around some more...
 
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hoosiercatlady

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:yeah:

A carrier with a top door will make getting the cat in so much easier than trying the front door facing up with the carrier wobbling on the other end. I have this one and there are similar other ones you can buy:

Thank you for the advice. Standard front loader that we have is gigantic — probably mid-size dog size. The door itself is about as large as (if not larger) a cat top-loader. Maybe I just haven't found the right one yet...
 
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hoosiercatlady

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We place Belle's food dish inside her carrier to get her used to it. She'll climb in to eat, but is very aware when we start zipping it shut.

I've never been able to get a cat in a carrier butt first. Cats are good at using their paws & claws to impede progress. It also goes against the lay of their coat. I've always had to carefully work them in head first. Sometimes I've had to scruff them. I try to be as gentle as possible.

Last week, we got Belle a Kitty Holster. She not up to being walked in it yet, but getting her in the holster makes it easier to handle her. We've been placing Belle in her carrier and taking her outside and bringing her into the motorhome to get her ready for family vacations. For some reason, Belle is more docile when in her holster and it's easier to get her in the carrier. Still, it's impossible to place her in the carrier butt first.

I know, your cat is your cat and mine is mine. No two cats are alike and what works for Belle may not work for Katie. but it is something to try. You don't have to be told how important it is to be able to get your cat to the vet or be evacuated during a disaster.
I'm going to look up a cat holster. Is that like a harness? Or is that an actual product name?

I'll also try actually putting her food in there too. You're right that one cat can be very different than another, but at this point, since we're starting from scratch with this girl in many ways (versus having my previous cats since kittenhood), there's definitely merit in trying anything safe and seeing if we land on a winner. Thanks again!
 

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Kitty Holster is a brand of cat harness and recommended by Jackson Galaxy. It isn't 100% escape proof, but it took Belle longer to slip out of it than other harnesses I've tried. I think I should have ordered a smaller size. The makers do not claim it's 100% escape proof and recommend training your cat to the harness. I look at it as another layer of security, not a final answer.

When I called to check on my order, I got good, cheerful customer service.
 
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hoosiercatlady

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:yeah:

A carrier with a top door will make getting the cat in so much easier than trying the front door facing up with the carrier wobbling on the other end. I have this one and there are similar other ones you can buy:

Just to be clear, I was holding the crate in such a way where the opening was at the top, so the whole structure was facing vertically up. So the butt-first finagling wasn't pushing her in so much as lowering her into the opening (unsuccessfully).
Kitty Holster is a brand of cat harness and recommended by Jackson Galaxy. It isn't 100% escape proof, but it took Belle longer to slip out of it than other harnesses I've tried. I think I should have ordered a smaller size. The makers do not claim it's 100% escape proof and recommend training your cat to the harness. I look at it as another layer of security, not a final answer.

When I called to check on my order, I got good, cheerful customer service.
Ooh. Good to know — thank you! We've been diving into Jackson Galaxy videos a lot lately to help with coexisting with Katie and her (slowly) healing trust issues. I'm normally skeptical of some endorsements by "celebs", but I would trust him on something like that.
 

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I also live in a stormy place and time is crucial. A harness can be a reassuring feeling to cats. Some of mine love wearing one that is a bit like a Thundershirt. It has enough fabric to give a secure, covered feeling.
A top loading carrier can help. I have some cats that always know when a vet visit is scheduled. They actually love the vet but it’s more like they just feel my tension and react. A storm coming can alarm them and your own tension may be felt too. I open the door on the top loader as well as the top. Many cats want two exit points and this works to give them that. They enter more willingly but I do have to be quick to close both doors. I also find that covering the carrier can help. A cave is nice! I keep the carriers out at all times with a favorite blanket inside. Another light cover over it. Treats are given there. Have you tried catnip? I use that on any new item or in any place I want them to associate with good times. Some love it and some don’t care. Lol Some prefer dried catnip and some prefer fresh. What about using the carrier inside just for moving from room to room for play time or feeding time and regular daily events? I have ferals. Sometimes I just have to keep working to find what each cat tolerates. Have you tried a small cage instead of a carrier?I have a two door cage. Some of the kitties prefer the open feeling that provides. I have a padded mat for the bottom and it doubles as a bed for every day. It has been invaluable for getting ferals used to other types of carriers too. I have an Felv cat, a kitty with Cancer and one with FIV so I understand about keeping stress levels low. We do regular practice trips in the house and it seems to desensitize them as far as stress. The first few times they are suspicious but since we all have to move cats many times during their lives, I find it is better in the long run if they learn it’s okay. Not every cat will adapt well but most here did.
She is a Lynx pony Siamese? I do love them! Although this may not work more than once, for this needed vet check, can you interest her in chasing a treat or toy thrown into the carrier? Cats are stimulated by prey like movement. She seems a prime candidate for that type of activity. It may only work once because cats are smart but if it helps you now, that would be great! Lastly, have you tried calming products. There is Feliway. Sprayed inside the carrier, it might help. Jackson Galaxy puts out several calming products. I have not used them but many here have. I have had others tell me that the products helped. A friend is using a calming collar to ease a nervous cat during introduction to a new cat and he tells me that is working. I just want to say that you really are a veteran with cats. You did amazing things with your other kitties. This is just a new kitty and you don’t fully know all the preferences yet. You’ll get there! Give yourself time. Every cat is different and even the most seasoned of cat guardians must get to know a new furmily member. I am so very thankful that you brought this kitty into such a loving home. You saved a life! I hope the leg is just a strain but whatever it is, I know you will be able to help this cat. :rock::goldstar: Beautiful kitty!
 

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I couldn't read everything, sorry if I'm repeating but if you haven't already tried, I suggest picking her up and getting her in the carrier for positive experiences like to feed her there with her a tasty treat (that she doesn't eat anywhere else!) when you're not taking her anywhere for starters. Then over time increase it to things like taking her in the carrier to the other room only, again for a positive experience.

I'm not sure if at 6 years old how effective it would be but the vets where I live suggest trying taking the cat for occasional, short car rides to make them get use to car rides and not associate the ride with a vet visit only. It worked well with my one cousin's cat. The cat loves cousin's SIL's cat and got use to going there as a guest and have playtime. They go there far more often than the vet, so a car ride became mostly a positive experience for him!

With my cat she gets less stressful if she can see outside from the carrier only from one side and the other sides are closed. I got a carrier cover for this.
 

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Nothing you said sounded callous in the previous post. I am sorry for the loss of your two beloved cats, and then your grandmother who sounds like a lovely lady who tried to help as best she could with kitty.

Three months is not very long; I was actually relieved to read that as she is still in a huge adjustment period to her greatly improved new life. I am not well versed with Gabapentin myself; my GSD is on high doses of Tramadol daily. His vet does not want him to take Gabapentin either, but I have to add that he is ill, on a lot of meds, elderly, and in palliative care so those could be the reasons. I would wonder if there is another tranquilizer that your vet could recommend, or even a med that causes sleepiness but is not a tranquilizer per se.

I do get it about the storm and the time frame involved for sedation to take place. Earthquakes are the same. The latest earthquake warning app give about a minute notice, if it works. Certainly not enough time to start shoving cats into carriers and harnessing up the dog.

Yes, people are miserable at times. We had the same experience here several years ago when an elderly woman died at 93 and her son showed up and told the neighbor who had helped her with her three cats that they had one day to clear them off the property....as he got ready to inherit his mom's house and all her money.

You mentioned that you trapped her with tuna despite the fact that it was still very rocky. Would she go into a carrier for tuna again, or for other cat bait type food like Kentucky Fried Chicken which is what I use with all ferals that I have to TNR?
 

suzeanna

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I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but *every weekend* we put a few crumbled treats in the back of the hard carrier for kitty to eat. She steps in, and if she's keeping her back paws out, I'll lightly touch them so she picks them up and puts them inside the carrier (away from me). Once her tail is in and she's done eating treats, she does a little 180 which allows me to close the door. Then my partner helps weigh her on the scale -- picks the carrier up, steps on the scale, then steps down, puts the carrier down, and opens the door, at which point I lay a few more bonus treats out. The first several weeks were not very successful -- it took A LOT of treats to bribe her, she wouldn't step all the way in, etc. Over time, she's gotten used to being closed in the carrier for a brief time since it means treats. We did have to take her to get a dental procedure last December and it was shockingly easy to trick her into the carrier with only 2 treats! She is still really good about it -- 99% of the time she goes in, she's enclosed in it briefly, and she gets treats before and after. And of course we always leave the carrier out, sometimes she goes sniffing around in it hoping for missed nibbles. There is also a blanket on top of it so sometimes she'll jump up and sleep there.

Regarding gabapentin -- it can really be magical. My 8 y/o kitty had aggression issues for awhile, and the gabapentin was instrumental in helping her for a couple months before we transitioned her to Prozac/fluoxetine. It definitely helps before vet or groomer visits, too.
 

spac

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This may have already been mentioned as I didn't read every post here.

If one of my cats fights going in the carrier, I just stick them in backwards with little problems. So just put the carrier on the floor or wherever, then just turn the cat around and shove it in tail first, head last. Well, don't shove it, but you know what I mean. But if it's life or death, you gotta do what you gotta do.
 
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