How To Get A Feral Cat In A Carrier? (Tips & Tricks That Work)

Getting a feral cat in a carrier can be quite the difficult task.

Feral cats aren’t only innately independent, but they can also become frightened or aggressive if you approach them.

You can make the task much easier by following some tips and tricks that we’ll list below. After reading this article, and with little practice, you can effectively lead the cat inside the carrier without even touching it!

Let’s get started!

Getting the Feral Cat in a Carrier

To get a feral cat in a carrier, you need to provide a somewhat safe environment for the cat and make them feel as comfortable as possible. It all starts with having the right cat carrier.

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In a nutshell, this can be achieved using a big carrier with lots of space, some time for the feral cat to get used to your presence, and maybe, some catnip.

Of course, some cats are more stubborn than others. You might not get the results you want from the first attempt. I’ve put together some of the best carriers for difficult cats.

What Is A Feral Cat?

how to handle feral cats
Feral cats are unsocialized cats that are extremely scared and don’t trust people.

A “feral” cat is the same as a stray and domesticated cat, the biggest difference is their relationship and interactions with people. Feral cats have NOT been properly socialized and are extremely fearful of people.

These cats are considered “free roaming” cats that tend to roam around neighborhoods, homes, and any other place in search of food.

Maybe you’ve seen a cat roaming around your neighborhood and you’ve decided that it’s time to take it into your home to care for it? Or maybe you just want to capture it so you can help it find a great home?

Regardless of why you’re wanting to get the feral cat in the carrier. It’s important to understand that it won’t be an easy task.

Here are our extensive tips and tricks to help you get the feral cat inside the carrier without breaking a sweat.

Related: How to Get A Skittish Cat In A Carrier

Steps To Get A Feral Cat Into A Carrier

how do you get a semi feral cat in a carrier
These tips will help you get a feral or semi feral cat into the carrier.

1. Try Using a Larger Carrier

Narrow carriers may seem dangerous to the cat. Some cats might feel more comfortable if you use a wider carrier. A wider carrier will provide more room for the cat and they will won’t feel like you’re trying to trap them in a small confined space.

2. Cover the Carrier

Covering the carrier will make it look safer and more approachable for the feral cat. Try covering it in colorful designs to attract the cat, and leave the opening uncovered.

Try using your cat’s favorite blanket or something they lie on during the day and smells like them.

3. Change the Carrier Location

Changing the carrier location can be a good way to guide the cat inside the carrier. Try placing it in a quieter place. This will make the cat at ease and not prone to any external noises that may startle them.

4. Use Female Cats

If a female cat already entered the carrier, use her attraction to your advantage as the males will be more likely to enter.

Be sure that you’re using a cat carrier that is designed for multiple cats. Otherwise, it will be too cramped and can be uncomfortable for your cats.

5. Don’t Repeat Too Much

Trying to get the cat in a carrier can result in the cat being extremely aggressive. However, you must take breaks between tries. It’s essential that you recondition the cat for the next try to prevent its resistance.

6. Use Food Trails

Using food trails leading to the carrier can be a great idea.

You must place food in a straight line leading to the carrier to attract the cat. A common (and often, funny) way people mess this up is by putting too much food in the trail, resulting in the cat getting full and scampering away for a long nap.

If this doesn’t work, you can use larger baits. You can also use their favorite baits to guide them into the carrier.

7. Observe the Habits

Cats have habits just like us. Following the cat and trying to understand its routine can be very helpful. For example, if the cat’s used to sit or sleep in a particular place and time, place the carrier in this place. This will make the cat feel safe.

8. Bait Types

Using smelly and larger baits will attract the cat even more. Cats use their sense of smell very good, so you must take that to your advantage. Using canned sardines or chicken can be fine. You can also place their favorite cat treat inside the carrier.

The downside is that most feral cats won’t go completely into the carrier. So keep this in mind when you’re trying to lure them in.

9. Distract the Cat

Using distracting techniques to get the cat inside the carrier is very easy. All you need to do is point a laser inside or put the cat’s favorite toy. This will distract the cat from the carrier itself, and guide it inside. You can also hang their favorite food, which can attract them.

10. Place Carriers Beside Each Other

If it’s still very difficult, placing 2 carriers side by side facing the opposite direction can work. If the cat is trying to reach the food without entering the carrier by circling around it. There’s a good chance that the cat will walk into the other carrier.

11. Use Catnips

Catnip is a plant that contains a particular oil that changes cats’ behavior. Even though it looks ineffective, approximately two-thirds of cats find this plant extremely attractive.

You can place catnips inside the carrier, which most of the time will work and bring the cat in.

12. Use Technology to Your Advantage

A very simple method of making the cat feel safe is by using your cellphone. You can play a video of meowing cats, and place your phone in the carrier. This will make cats feel secure and less lonely.

If the cat is a mother, she may think her kittens are calling for her, so she would quickly enter the carrier.

13. Change the Carrier’s Smell

Carriers usually smell like humans. This makes it difficult for the cat to enter. However, this can be changed in an easy way by leaving the carrier outdoors or spraying it with attractive scents like sardine oil.

14. Cover The Cat With A Blanket

Use a blanket that covers the cat completely so you can pick him/her up and put her in the carrier. Just know that the cat will push away with his back legs and scratch you up pretty bad.

So make sure you are wearing the right type of clothing to prevent being scratched.

Best Type of Carrier for Ferral Cats

feral cat
It’s best to use a hard shelled carrier for a feral cat as they will likely bite and scratch.

It will be easier to transport feral cats in a hard-sided cat carrier. As mentioned, these cats are not socialized properly and will scratch and bite the carrier. If you’re using a soft-sided carrier, they will tear it very easily with their sharp nails.

Luckily, I’ve put together a huge resource of cat carriers that will fit your needs, regardless of what type of cat you have.

Why Is It Difficult?

Feral cats are usually more aggressive than stray cats. This is because they get into fights daily and are considered “battle-hardened”. They also get very scared when someone touches them resulting in scratching.

Consequently, feral cats are extremely hard to get inside a carrier. They’ll probably present several challenges before you can successfully capture them.

What Could Go Wrong?

Here are a few things to watch out for as you approach a feral cat.


Scratching is a well-known habit for feral cats. This helps them expose the inner part of the nail which is extremely sharp.

Feral cats will usually scratch you if you get close, so you need to be extra cautious when grabbing it. You can also provide a high scratching post as one of the toys, which should be coated with a hard material.

Contagious Diseases

Feral cats are more likely to get infected. Some feral cats die young by some diseases that could be easily treated. It’s essential to look for any signs of contagious diseases.

It’s also extremely important to check for fleas in the fur of the feral cat as they can be very harmful to humans. If fleas are present, it’s better to consult a veterinarian.

Presence of Smaller Pets

Feral cats are used to loot for their own supplies. They’re much more aggressive than stray cats. Feral cats are known for killing birds and mice to feed on. 

You should never put any other animals in the same carrier with a feral cat as this may be harmful to the other animals. it’s better to separate them to avoid any fights.

If the feral cat looks very aggressive, it’s better to ask an expert to hold it into the carrier or you can just lead the feral cat without touching it.

Final Take Away

Finally, getting a feral cat into a carrier can be a challenging task at first. However, after a few days of experience and reading, you’ll be more than ready.

Keep in mind that owning a feral cat requires a medical checkup to make sure the cat has no diseases.

It takes a great level of dedication and compassion to look for feral cats. If you’ve been having a hard time making feral cats trust you, we hope you can put this article to good use. In your next encounter, you should have no hard time getting a feral cat in a carrier!

References And Further Reading

LiveScience – Tia Ghose – 6 Secrets to Unlocking Your Cat’s Personality