Use Pillowcase When Transporting Cat

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Use a pillow case to transport your cat. Make sure the pillow case is in new or very good condition and has absolutely no holes whatsoever. Tightly tie a cotton shoelace or something of that nature to tie up the pillow case. Pillow cases also come in many sizes. I received this tip from my vet many years ago.


When it comes time to put the cat in the pillow case, just leave it open on the floor and casually put the cat inside. Pull it up and quickly tie it up. Make sure the tie is tight. I usually double tie it.

As explained to me by the vet, the pillow case allows the cat to breathe and the cat cannot see where it is going. Usually cats get upset when they see outside a crate. You can carry the cat safely in your arms as normal. It is calming to the cat when you hold it. Also, usually the cat can remain in the open case when being checked by the vet. If it becomes upset while waiting, it will have the security of the case to stay in.

We have used this method for many years on many cats without any problems. Just be sure to use a pillow case that is in good shape. I recommend buying a new one just to be used for this purpose. It can be washed very easily. If in doubt, try it at home to be sure that this will work with your cat.


One thing to keep in mind, if your cat usually becomes car sick, do not use this tip.

By it' from NE PA / USA

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November 23, 20100 found this helpful

I learned this method years ago too. Did you know they can give them shots right through the pillowcase? Didn't really work well with my cat though, unless you consider it successful that he didn't tear the vet & tech to pieces! He did not do well with vet visits at all, we ended up with scars from him & they wouldn't touch him because he would be so vicious.


We put him in the pillow case, which only made him angrier & nearly tore through the pillowcase, but he got his shots! He is a totally indoor cat, so we finally quit taking him in because it was too stressful for everyone, including him.

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November 23, 20100 found this helpful

How would you like to be stuffed in a sac and carried around in it? The poor cat has no idea what or why you are doing this to him/her. Put out a little bit of money (you can usually find them at yard sales or on Craig's list or in the want ads) and buy your poor cats a crate!

To get them accustomed to the crate simply put it on the floor in the living room and leave the door open. You can even put their bed inside along with one or two of their small toys. They will soon go in and out of it and will even sleep in it many times.


When it comes time to put them in it to go somewhere, I use a laser light to coax my cat inside. He chases the light and when he gets inside I give him a small treat and calmly close the gate. When we get to the vet, if that's where we were going, and if he doesn't want to come out, I simply remove the top of the crate and lift him out. It only takes less than a minute and is no stress on him, me or the vet.

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November 23, 20100 found this helpful

I am appalled and highly upset that anyone would even think this is an okay thing to do!

I would also be highly suspect of any vet that would 'ever' advise this as a good idea as an alternative to a kennel crate or a soft sided kennel bag (which you can carry over your shoulder to snuggle the baby at your waist or hip area to calm them) to take them on a trip to the vet or when traveling!


I am with Cricketnc! And, having rescued several cats of various personalities over all my years, I can tell you there is absolutely no reason you can not get a cat used to a kennel for a visit to the vet or anywhere else and be able to do it without cruelty! A couple of the cats I rescued, that seemed to be the worst of the worst, just needed love and soothing and they even ended up letting me just carry them free of any restraint other than my loving hugs and talking soothingly to them! All it takes is having some compassion!

I will also add that any vet or vet assistant that does not know how to humanely handle and calm any cat or dog is not worth their humanity weight!

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November 23, 20100 found this helpful

By the way, a cat can't see where it's going sitting in a kennel on a car seat either!

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November 24, 20100 found this helpful

I wonder if we have the same vet? I have also done this. I don't see it as being cruel. The cat can breathe and he was completely relaxed in the pillow case. It's not as though the cat is in there for hours at a time. We used to use a cat carrier but the cat would stress since he could see through the ventilation openings. We even tried covering it.


My vet advises never to hold a cat in your arms while waiting. Many times I have seen cats stress out more when someone holds them. I feel this is cruel to the cat. Don't tell that person they should give away their pet because you don't agree with them. If someone can explain why this is cruel without being demeaning, please do.

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November 24, 20100 found this helpful

I would absolutely never transport my cat in a pillowcase. My cats are content to ride in their carrier. I fasten their seat belt through the handle. If the cat is in a pillowcase, what is to prevent them from injury if the car suddenly stops or is in an accident? What keeps them from falling off the seat or are they put on the floor when entering the car? It would be dangerous for the driver to hold them while driving.

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November 24, 20100 found this helpful

I am the one who posted the suggestion about using the pillow case. I cannot believe the personal attacks on that post. I cannot be a pet owner because you do not agree with me? Do you think I posted this because I wanted people to think I am a cruel pet owner? If my family or friends would ever read the feedback, they would be shocked at what people are writing. We have had pets for many years; some were rescues that were terribly abused and unwanted. I have many stories to tell about the way we saved pets that people thought were unadoptable.

I was always told that all my pets, cats and dogs, were very loving and well behaved. They were taught lovingly by me to have manners. My neighbors always complimented how good our dogs were. Our indoor cats were always friendly and playful. I would be the one that the neighbors would always ask if I could take care of their pets while they were gone. I would have a dog stay with me instead of it being by itself for hours at a time. And I did this to help, not for any type of payment.

As someone suggested, please give me some reasons why this is not a good idea. Do not attack me as though I am a cruel and heartless person. This idea has worked for me in the past. The cats were never upset or resisted. When we relocated and had to get another vet, not one time was I questioned about this method. In fact, the first time I went to the new vet, she stated that it was a good idea. The cat was relaxed and felt secure. I have been in the vets office and saw so many stressed out pets. Ours were always relaxed and friendly.

I am sorry this is so long but I was appalled when I read the feedback. I understand that people will not agree, but I should not be judged unless you know me as a person not for one post.

By the way, because of our financial situation, when we lost our last pet, we made a decision not to get any more pets because we cannot afford them. As a lover of all animals, that was a very difficult decision but as a responsible person I know we could not afford to properly care for them. We have the love and time, my as of now, not the finances.

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August 16, 20110 found this helpful

I am so thankful for this posting. My daughter just transported a cat and it freaked out in the car. She felt awful, like a terrible parent. I think that this is a great idea. She lives in Africa where there are no kennels, etc. This would have really saved the cat and her a lot of heartfelt issues. So, you go girl, if others prefer to transport their cats another way, fine. But, to attack you was wrong. I'm sorry that that happened. Please don't judge us all by the few that go overboard one way or another. Thank you again.

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December 2, 20110 found this helpful

MKYMLP - Sorry for all the negative feedback you received for a very good suggestion. Knowing someone who does rescue work there are countless stories of terrified or anxious animals.

The suggestion of the pillowcase brought one cat in mind. She was several years old and afraid of everything but eventually welcomed her new owner into her heart. A partially opened pillowcase is her haven. Her chosen place to be in spite of a fancy cat bed. It was held open in the beginning by an oval embroidery hoop that was prompted between a chair and end table leg.

She doesn't like going in the carrier and is not content the entire time she's in it. When a trip is in order, the pillow case goes in the carrier and she wanders her way in, eventually. There's no anxiety for her or her owner. She'll occasionally poked her head out but goes right back in and goes to sleep. She very content. She obviously feels secure in it. It may seem strange to some but as long as the animal is happy and/or content...does strange really matter? It fits some people! :-)

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January 17, 20130 found this helpful

I'm sorry but 2.5 years later this still seems a bad way to transport a cat. My first thought when reading the 'tip' was "Hmmm, can you say 'cat in a bag?'!"

Additionally, depending on where a cat parent lives, transporting a bagged cat may be against local laws. I telephoned my vet office to check if the staff there thought bagging a cat in a pillowcase for transport was a good idea and they went a bit 'ballistic' until I explained I was asking owing to this published tip.

I live in the UK; I have now been informed by my vet's staff if I brought in a bagged cat they would have seized the cat and reported me for animal cruelty.

If stopped by a traffic officer whilst transporting the bagged cat (in or out of a safety carrier) I would have been arrested for animal cruelty-the assumption being I meant to toss Kitteh from a bridge or similar.

As for administering veterinary care (especially injections-WOWSA was the staff shocked that any vet would give a jab through a pillowcase to any animal much less a twisting-turning-wriggling expert like a feline!) to a bagged cat, the staff told me that they would never do something like that as a vital component of care is visual inspection of eyes, nose, coat condition, etc.

Any cat with extreme anxiety during a visit to vet, according to mine, has much safer, saner options like mild tranquilisers, calming cuddles, and in severe cases, safe restraints designed for cats. But a tied shut pillowcase is definitely NOT on the options menu!

If the pillowcase tip is legal and works for someone, great, but please transport the bagged cat in a safe, secure transport carrier. At least do that for the animal who wants to trust you with his/her life.

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September 30, 20130 found this helpful

I'm sorry...but are you SURE about this? I see this as a great way to get your freaking out cat to suffocate. :/

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January 22, 20140 found this helpful

Those who are against this idea clearly haven't done any research. There are multiple veterinary sites, if you google it, who recommend the pillowcase method (even on WebMD, for Christ's sake). The first time I heard of it was from my vet because I had a kitty who just hated any carrier. The cat feels safer because she's close to her human. The cat has no idea what's happening to her regardless of whether she can see outside or not. Cats just aren't that cognitively aware. Why stress her out more by letting her see and get disoriented? She can breathe perfectly well, and the trip is less associated with fear. Just be sure she's not on the seat, as she can fall off and get hurt. Keep her in the arms of a passenger (not the driver) or in a crate (in the pillow case), or at least on the floor of the car so she doesn't have as far to go if you come to a sudden stop. Several of my cats have preferred this method and are much less terrified of going to the vet.

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April 10, 20141 found this helpful

I just wanted to say to the post author. I have worked as a vet tech for 10 years. We have never had any issues with a cat in a pillowcase. Usually it an easy way to restrain a cat who is stressed instead of me sticking my hand in a carrier to get bit or scratched.

Also, if a cat is stressed do you know what the "approved" method of restraint is ( at least in the USA)? Towel! Kitty so If you choose to use this method just use common sense as listed in the post. Hold the cat don't leave it unrestrained while traveling. If your cat freaks it's not for you.

I appreciate the author and I hate that you were attacked for offering a personal suggestion. Also, a cat can see out of a carrier while traveling in a car. Not a lot but enough to stress them out because they aren't clear on where they are.

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September 4, 20140 found this helpful

I have several cats, and they manage, all by their lonesomes, to find the tiniest, most smothery places to squeeze into. They LIVE for that kind of thing. Anyone with cats (who is a thoughtful enough owner to realize what cats like and provide it for them) knows this well.

So why would allowing a cat the darkened security of a pillowcase NOT be ideal in a stressful situation? I especially love the idea of the embroidery ring--I'm all over that one TODAY; buying one this very afternoon.

I have a cardiomyopathy/hyperthyroid/asthmatic cat who is VERY stressed by vet visits--and our cardio is an hour away!

We have an appointment like, now--I wish I'd read this tip yesterday so I could've acclimated her to it at home (she sleeps in her carrier--she would've been fine with it, I'm certain. I just don't want to do it now and have her associate it only with vet trips...)

Remember people--cats are NOT little humans. To know what's appropriate for a cat, you've got to think like a cat.

Just because YOU wouldn't appreciate the close, cozy quarters of a pillowcase does NOT at all mean your CAT wouldn't!

Again, great tip. Thanks for your help and time spent posting for us.

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February 28, 20170 found this helpful

I have a pet carrier, which my cat hates. No amount of treats, toys, or "carrier training" works. He cries the entire time, and hides for days once we release him. We tried a harness with a leash that we could safely secures in the car as an alternative, but he still panicked and cried every single time. My complex recently experienced a fire, and in a desperate moment of panic when I could not get him into his carrier, I stuffed him in a pillowcase so I could safely take him with me outside. I carried him like a baby in my arms and while I felt like a terrible pet owner and human being, shockingly he did not cry or try to escape once. Upon returning to our (thankfully unaffected) condo, he nonchantly walked out of his pillowcase and acted like nothing happened. Wanting to be a responsible pet owner but also wanting to minimize his stress during his occasional trips to the outside world, I now put him in his pillowcase first, then put him in his carrier, and make sure his head is poking out of the pillowcase so he's able to breathe freely and break free of the pillow case if he wants. He usually snuggles back into it, and this setup has become far less stressful for both of us. My vet has commented on several occasions about how calm he is during his visits and has repeatedly confirmed this is a safe method as long as he is able to breathe. He's also commented that pet carriers, even when secured, are not designed or tested to be "safe" for a pet in the event of a collision, and that any marketing claims attesting to such are just that, because there is no governing body or regulatory standard. Pet carriers are not child safety seats, He stressed that, while certainly better than nothing and absolutely recommended over an unrestrained pet, most cats in a carrier do not survive a collision, either, He equated it to being thrown against a wall from three feet rather than ten feet. It's better than nothing, but he recommends transporting a cat by car only when necessary. The most important thing is that your pet is safe, and if there are ways to make it more comfortable, don't heed the advise of internet trolls over your vet's.

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December 21, 20140 found this helpful

We moved from Quebec to Ontario, a very long 10 hour road trip, and we brought our Minette with us. Rather than keep her locked in the carrier we put the open carrier in the back seat, secured with the seat belts to keep it from sliding around, and on top of the cushion put hubby's sweaty work shirt to give her the familiar smell. She doesn't generally wear a collar but we put one on her for the trip and attached a 4 ft cotton lead as we were afraid she might jump out of the car when we stopped at rest areas. Throughout the trip Minette was able to go in and out of the carrier as she chose and for the most part she just snuggled into Dad's shirt for a snooze. She suffered no trauma whatsoever and we've adopted this technique whenever we take her to the vet. The trick we think is the open door and familiar smell of the shirt, which we wrap her up in when going from the car into the office and back.

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