Hot on the heels of my rant on the potential horrors of retractable leashes comes this one on cat carriers.

Granted that cats are hard to catch when they mysteriously surmise it’s vet visit time. A lot of it has to do with the placement of the cat carrier after you’ve decided to hose it down or otherwise clean it up so your vet doesn’t think you’re a horrible owner and a slob to boot. Then you’ve got to grab said kitty and squeeze her into an opening barely bigger than her backside (reference the pic of Fatty above).

Why isn’t it obvious that a cat carrier need provide easy access for the owner, the vet and, most of all, for the actual cat? Why is it that cat carrier manufacturers insist on zippers and Velcro cats can squeeze through or tear? Why do they make the openings on carriers narrow and tall with the hinge of the door cantilevered such that the door itself obstructs entry and exit.

Important truism of feline physics: If it’s hard for you to get the kitty in you can be sure we’ll have a hard time getting her out!

That’s why my favorite carriers are the tried-and-true cardboard top loaders. Though I prefer them of the corrugated plastic variety for cleanability and non-disposability, it’s the shape that makes the most sense for simple trips to the vet.

Sure, it’s a good idea to have a trusty Sherpa for a flight, and it’s my second favorite for all but cats who have a knack for needing a diaper at the bottom to contain major “spills.”

And if you must have a heavy airline crate for in-cargo travel, keep that one, too. But a solid picnic basket or a low-tech pillowcase often does the vet trip just as much justice—if not more (from the vet’s perspective).

True, it’s a nitpicky pet peeve of mine, all these plastic feline hold-alls. But think of it from the kitty’s POV, too. Wouldn’t you rather be in a completely enclosed dark space where extraction didn’t involve pushing, pulling and/or dumping? It’s often enough to make a stressed cat flip herself into a gnashing, hissing fireball of fury.

And then there’s the obvious example of the ultimate in poor carrier solutions for cats: arms. This is inadvisable for so many reasons I can’t even begin to enumerate them. I trust those of you reading this have the mental acuity to understand why no container reflects a basically bad decision on the part of an owner who brings a stressed, unpredictable animal into the presence of other stressed, unpredictable animals. ‘Nuff said.

That’s my two pennies right there. Though I’m sure you all have your reasons for holding onto your favorite carriers. Let’s hear ‘em….