Patrick at the centre

Cat overcomes life-threatening fear of pet carriers

Few cats enjoy travelling in their pet carrier, but for one poor moggy, it was once so stressful that it risked his health - and was even wrecking his chances of finding a new home.

Patrick, six, arrived at our Suffolk rehoming centre in August last year as his owners were moving and unable to take him with them. Although otherwise healthy, they mentioned to the team that he had suffered a seizure following a vaccination in the past.

And when the grey and white cat was taken to the centre’s nearby vet clinic for a health check after arriving in Blue Cross care, it became clear that there was a serious problem.

Susie Winship, Animal Welfare Assistant, explained: “As he arrived at the clinic, our team realised he was suffering another seizure whilst in the carrier. Following various checks and discussions it was felt that the seizures were likely stress-related from being in the cat carrier.”

Patrick in his pen at the Suffolk centre
Patrick's fear of his car carrier was putting his life at risk

Not only did this create a hurdle to vet treatment going forward, it meant that Patrick could not be safely taken to his new home, when he was lucky enough to find one.

Thankfully, our vet was able to travel to the centre to treat Patrick in his own pen.

Meanwhile, the team had to take Patrick’s association with cat carriers right back to basics. 

At first, this simply meant getting him used to being in the same room as one. By then introducing treats in and around the carrier, Patrick slowly started to associate it with positive experiences.

While most cat owners will have experienced the challenges of getting their pets into a carrier, this kind of early desensitisation work can help enormously to reduce stress and difficulties. Permanently leaving the cat carrier available for your cat to use in the home as a resting place, is recommended.

After three months in our care, and lots of hard work, Patrick reached a point that he could safely travel, and therefore be rehomed.

Susie added: “It has been touch-and-go for Patrick and the team have worked hard to finally get him to the point to which, after 96 days, he finally went to his new home! 

“He was personally delivered to his new owner by Jen, our vet supervisor, to ensure everything went as smoothly as possible for him.”

— Page last updated 08/02/2021