How to get a cat used to his travel carrier (and more)

How to get a cat used to his travel carrier? You let him explore the carrier at home. Then you give him a treat inside the carrier. Then you carry him around the house. Then you practice carrying him outside. You then give him a treat with petting when using the carrier outside. That’s it! Patience will be the key and I think you need to give him time to get used to each phase of this process.

Dan Nguyen and his three cats with 2 travel carriers and one on his shoulders

Dan Nguyen and his three cats with 2 travel carriers and one on his shoulders. Photo: Olivia Nguyen.

The video comes from a man, Dan Nguyen who knows all about training a cat to use a travel carrier. He has gone well beyond that phase and has also trained his cats to use a leash. And he’s gone well beyond that phase because he has trained his cats to get used to being in cities all over the world on a leash but they most often like to sit on his shoulders. Yes, all three of them. He’s become quite famous because of it!

He could not do this without Olivia Nguyen who I believe is his wife. She makes the videos and takes the photographs for social media. Without her there would be no famous, celebrity cats travelling the world with Mr Nguyen.

His trio of cats are Sponge Cake who is a Scottish Fold and a couple of British Shorthairs whose names are Mocha and Donut. They are all two-year-old males. They have posed in front of the Eiffel Tower and travelled on gondolas in Venice and had their photographs taken in front of the Duomo in Milan.

He decided to travel the world with his cats because he’s only young once and he decided that he won’t be in the mood to do it when he is old. And of course, he loves his cats and he likes travelling. He had some trips planned and because they found it hard to be without his cats, they decided to bring them along.

He freely admits that it is “untraditional to travel the world with a cat, let alone three, but we love them and they love us, so it doesn’t feel so crazy to us.”

They live in New York City. They initially got them used to being outdoors in a carrier in Central Park. They graduated from pet carriers to leashes and “they seemed to enjoy being outside and exploring,” said Dan.

Travelling with one of his cats in a travel carrier

Travelling with one of his cats in a travel carrier. Screenshot from video captured by Olivia Nguyen.

RELATED: Should I take my cat with me on vacation?

The first trip away from home was to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He said that they were nervous at first so he kept them in their backpack carriers but “we started walking them around the resort grounds on the leashes and they got used to it pretty fast.”

When flying around America, they accompany him in the cabin and “They mostly just sleep on the plane. There are all so relaxed and quiet. Sometimes other passengers on the plane don’t even realise we have three cats with us.”

They loved visiting Paris. He said “We put them down on cobblestone streets and they took off, exploring every storefront until they decided to stop at a patisserie. Everyone walking by stopped to watch these little kitties discovering the shops of Paris.”

They loved Venice too. And so, it goes on. They’ve got used to it. And this is the key point. Because of that they are able to explore safely and be constantly stimulated. It’s a good thing but ironically the RSPCA in the UK recommend that cat owners do not walk their cat on a leash because “walking outdoors exposes cats to unfamiliar scents they might find threatening, and to potentially frightening experiences, including dogs, strange people, loud noises and cars.”

Under these circumstances cats might panic and be harmed. And I agree with them in principle but their assessment, I believe, is too negative and they are generalising. Cats are very adaptable and you can, with patience, get them used to being outdoors on a leash and behaving in a safe manner. And when you’ve achieved that goal, you’ve achieved the holy grail of cat ownership because you can keep them safe indoors (and wildlife safe at the same time) while safely allowing them to explore the outdoors. This is exactly what millions of wildlife conservationists, ornithologists, city administrators, county administrators, state governors, dog owners and cat haters want.

They want cats to be indoors and not allowed to wander freely outside. The Nyugen family have achieved this and gone to the next level.

Below are some more pages on air travel.


K9 JETS remove the worry of flying with your dog or cat

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Cat travel from Canada to UK

Understanding the importation requirements for a domestic cat when travelling from Canada to the UK

Planning to travel from Canada to the UK with your cat? Get insights on importation requirements for domestic cats. Read ...
Pet health certificate

Taking your Savannah cat (and any domestic cat) from the USA to the UK

I've been asked to look into how you can take your Savannah cat with you to the UK from the ...
4 situations when travelling when you might check for a cat!

Infographic on 4 travel situations when you might check for a cat

I can think of four (but there will be more) situations if travelling when it might be prudent to take ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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