Scheduling your cat to be boarded is generally pretty easy, but getting them to the cat boarding facility may be another matter. This is especially true if your cat hasn't been anywhere or is extremely anxious overall. If you cat falls into one of these categories, then just getting them into the carrier can be a major battle. If you are planning to travel and board your cat often, then you will need to get him used to being in a carrier. Here are some tips to help your cat become less anxious.
Why your cat doesn't like the carrier:
Even the most friendly and well adjusted cat who has never been in a carrier can be scared of it and it's only natural for them to be afraid. In their mind, carriers probably appear to be tight, dark places where they can be easily trapped. If you've used a carrier to only take your cat to the vet, then the cat will likely associate it with going someplace unpleasant. Also, cats are highly territorial and feel secure when they are familiar with their own space and everything around it, so going outside of that space, such as being carried out of the house, can cause anxiety.
Getting the cat used to the carrier:
From the earliest time possible, keep the carrier open and in plain view of the cat as often as possible. Put your cat's favorite blanket or toy in the carrier. Try enticing your cat to go into the carrier with treats and reward them when they do so. Once your cat is used to going into the carrier, then practice closing it up and, later, lifting it up and carrying it around. If your cat shows anxiety, then let him out of the carrier, but don't reward him with treats or comfort. Try again later when the cat shows less anxiety.
Take short car trips:
If your cat has only been in the carrier for vet trips, try taking the cat on short car rides and then bring him back home. Again, if the cat seems severely distressed, cut back on the time or just practice bringing him in and out of the car. Once your cat gets comfortable in the car, then try single day boarding to get him used to the experience and help him realize that he's not being abandoned. You can slowly increase the boarding time until you feel confident that you cat will do well while you are on your trip.
Getting your cat to the boarders doesn't have to be difficult. The thing is to get him to see that a carrier is not something that means bad things, but positive ones. When your cat is used to the carrier, then boarding him will be much easier for both of you.