How to Get An Aggressive Cat Into a Carrier: Easy Methods

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There is nothing more frustrating then trying to get your cat into a cat carrier because they need to go to the vet and they refuse to cooperate with you. In fact according to the 2013 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, 38% of pet owners become stressed at even the thought of this.

If your cat happens to be the stubborn type who does this to give you a hard time luckily there are some methods to get them into the carrier so you don’t rip your hair out.

Before Forcing Them In The Carrier: Train Your Cat to Like The Carrier First

Most cats will not like the idea of a carrier (and as you already experienced) will have a hard time getting them inside of it so maybe that’s all it is that’s stopping you from getting them into it.

The thing that you need to do first is let them get used to the carrier first. To do this you want to leave the carrier out and let them examine it on their own accord. You also want to leave the door open so the carrier eventually smells like your house. Cats like familiar smells and this will attract them to the carrier a lot easier.

Give Them An Incentive to Go Into the Carrier

Your cat might not check out the carrier out because it doesn’t intrigue their interest. The best way to remedy this is put something inside the carrier that does.

Some of these things include food, treats, toys and anything else your cat is attracted to and is familiar with. Catnip would be a really good thing to try if your cat likes that kind of thing. Pheromones would also be wise to use. Feliway would be a good option to use. Just spray it around and inside of the carrier.

Cats not only like familiar smells but they also enjoy objects that are familiar to them as well. Once you lure them into the carrier let them go into it a couple times then close the door. Keep doing this and make the times gradually longer.

Once you do this they should be used to going into the carrier. Unfortunately this doesn’t always work and some cats will always hate carriers.

Forcing a Cat Into a Carrier: How to Get an Unwilling Cat Into a Carrier

If you tried these training methods and they still refuse to go into the carrier here are some ways that can get them inside of the carrier. I would also advise to use gloves if you attempt to handle them in anyway so there is less likely of a chance you will get scratched or even bitten. Wearing long sleeve clothing and avoiding wearing shorts would also be preferable.

Towel/Blanket Method: One of the best ways to get them into a cat carrier is to wrap them into a towel or blanket then place them inside of the carrier.

The idea is to use a towel or blanket so they can’t scratch you while you try to put them inside. The idea is to wrap them like a burrito. Its best to try this when they are laying down relaxing or sleeping. You’ll have a harder time when the have their guard up.

Don’t worry about unwrapping them either as they will unwrap themselves when they are inside of the carrier. If you don’t want them to be unwrapped even when they are in the carrier make sure to not wrap them too tight of course and that their head is exposed so they can breathe.

Treat Method: Just like the training method If you can intrigue their interest with something that they like such as treats or a toy they will walk inside of the carrier. Once they are inside of the carrier simply close the door.

Pillowcase Method: This one seems like its bad or even cruel but it actually helps them calm down a lot since they can’t see whats going on. Make sure to find your cat off guard. When the time is right put them inside of the pillowcase then tie the top so they can’t get out.

If you want to calm them down even more you can spray the bag with pheromones. Feliway is a good option to go with if you decide to do this.

Pheromones: Spraying your cat with pheromones can help them relax more thus resulting in making it easier to getting them inside of the carrier.
If your cat likes to bite a lot a muzzle would be useful for this case.

Laser Pointer: If your cat is attracted to laser pointers this can be an effective way to get them inside of the carrier. Simply get the cats attention by using the laser pointer light and slowly lure them into the carrier.

Once they are inside of the carrier quickly shut the carrier so they can’t get out.

Cat Toys: Another way of getting them into the carrier is if you use one of there favorite toys. Try throwing the toy inside of the carrier from a distance. Once your cat chases after the toy and they are inside of the carrier shut the carrier door so they can’t get out.

This one can be kind of tricky as you have to have good aim to get it inside of the carrier.

Catnip or Valerian: Cats are attracted to these types of herbs so putting them inside of the carrier can be very effective on getting them inside of one.

How To Get An Injured Cat Into A Carrier

If your cat is injured it might be slightly complicated to get them inside of the carrier because you don’t want to injure them worse. To do this you probably want to go with the towel method like I explained above.

This is probably the best method because they won’t be able to move anything thus minimizing injury.

Additional Tips

Put The Carrier Upright: Make the carrier that the carrier is is sitting upright so the door is open and facing the ceiling. This will make it easier to get them inside of the carrier and will make it harder for you cat to escape when they get put inside

Put Them In Tail End: When you put your cat inside of the carrier its best to put them in tail end so they do not see that they are being put in the carrier. This is to prevent them from being too scared when going inside of the carrier.

Wash The Carrier After A Vet Visit: The carrier will smell like the vet after you get home so washing it will help with there stress levels since that smell won’t be there anymore. The smell alone can make your cat nervous so its a good idea to get rid of it.

This would also be a good idea if they happened to urinate inside of the carrier as well.

Talk To Them: Talking to them in a calm voice can really help if you are trying to get them inside of the carrier. Talking calmly can show your cat that you aren’t a threat and may make them relax a bit more.

Get Them In A Small Room: If you can get them into a small room where they can’t get out it will be much easier to catch them and get your cat into the carrier.

A room with less furniture and less things to hide in would be the best way. If you can get them in your bathroom that would probably be the best choice to go with.

Remove Any Hiding Places: If you can’t get them in a small secluded room remove any possible hiding place so they can’t get away from you. This includes under beds, entertainment systems, chairs, couches etc.

Hold The Cat Against You: This will make them feel secure and they will calm down a lot faster than if you didn’t do this.

Cover The Carrier: So your cat is more relaxed while in the carrier you want to make sure to cover the carrier. If they can’t see what is going on then they won’t have a reason to be anxious.

If you want a guide on how to put the muzzle on and overall restraining an extremely aggressive cat this is a good video on that:

Best Cat Carrier for Difficult Cats In My Opinion

You can use any cat carrier you want but you want to make sure it is a carrier that has a top door and is hard preferably. If they are aggressive they will probably rip through the material (and though it is possible) will be more difficult to force them in the front door.

If you want a really good cat carrier for this situation I would go with the “Frisco Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel (click here for the link)“. This is a really good choice as it has both these things, is cheaply priced and is even airline approved.

How To Catch a Semi Feral Cat Into a Carrier

Most likely a feral cat is going to be an aggressive/skittish type of cat so you need to do something extra to trap them somehow.

Havahart Trap: The best way of getting a feral cat into a cat carrier is to lure it with food then quickly close the door. Havahart traps are the best way of doing this. You can buy one here “Havahart 1079 Large 1-Door Humane Animal Trap (click here for the amazon link)“.

Cat Carrier: If you already have a cat carrier and don’t want to spend anything you could put food inside of the carrier, wait for the feral cat to eat the food then shut the door so they can’t get out. This can be tricky to do because they can bolt out of the carrier before you can reach the door.

Stop Feeding The Cat For 1 to 2 Days

If you do this the feral cat will more likely to be hungry. This is where you can put the food in the carrier/trap and there will be a much better chance they will go inside of carrier/trap to eat the food.

  • You can however continue to give them water so they don’t dehydrate.
  • If this method does not work you can try more enticing food like chicken or tuna.
  • It also will help if you disguise the trap or carrier in a bush.

If you want to succeed in trapping them inside of the carrier you have to be really quiet so they don’t know you are there.


Getting a cat into a carrier can be really tricky but if you are smart about it you can make it really easy on yourself and the cat and get them inside of the carrier.