I'll admit it: I hate taking Lucy to the veterinarian's office. All of the smells and sounds in the office are really terrifying to her, and since she can't see, she can't get reassurance by looking at my face. To her, the carrier is a stand-in for the home in which she feels safe, so it's vital that I get a cat carrier she likes. And many of the carriers out there just aren't right for blind cats.
Here are a few of the things I look for when I'm choosing carriers for Lucy.
1. Big, wide doors.It's very difficult to pop a blind cat into a carrier. They can't see where you're pushing them, and often, when Lucy feels the edges of the door with her whiskers, she panics. A panicking cat is almost impossible to get into the carrier, mainly because a cat like that becomes a whirl of claws and teeth. It's not fun for her or for me.
Carriers with big doors are easier, because I can slide her into that carrier before she notices that she's confined. She doesn't feel the doors when she moves past them, so she feels a lot less upset and concerned.
2. Plenty of ventilation.When Lucy realizes that she's inside of a carrier, she can grow so upset that she gasps for air. When I touch her, she feels really warm. It's all due to nerves, and if she grows warmer by the minute, it could be hard on her long-term health.
Some carriers come with vents on almost every single side, and some even have extra panels on the top that I can open and close. For Lucy, the more opportunities for air, the better. I look for carriers that can give her the breeze she needs to stay cool and calm.
3. Secure closures.Loud noises are often a part of the travel experience. Car doors open and close, horns honk and nearby radios blare. When Lucy is at home, she'll run for cover with every single noise. And sometimes, she tries that same approach in the carrier. When there's a loud crack of sound, she runs. And typically, she runs into the door or the sides of the carrier.
Mesh-sided carriers are out, as she could blow right through the zippers when she's really stressed. And carriers with buckle clasps are also a no-go, as she could pop them open with enough momentum. Instead, I look for crates with pinch clasps, so they only open up when humans push on them. And, in the car, I use the seat belt around the carrier, just for extra protection.
Thankfully, Lucy is a healthy girl (aside from her teeth), so I don't need to take her in for appointments more than once or twice per year. But, by shopping for the right carrier, I can ensure that her trip is as safe and as comfortable as it can possibly be. And that makes us both a little happier.