Best Carrier for Cats: A Complete Guide

Whoever said that dogs are man’s best friend obviously didn’t own a cat. There’s little as calming as listening to the soft purr of your furry friend or as gratifying as watching your kitty stretch out in the sun.

With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that you would want to take your cat with you on certain trips and travels. And that’s when the role of pet travel carrying cases becomes invaluable.

Pet carriers for cats makes traveling with your cat really easy. There are different types to choose from, each with their own care instructions. Here, we explore the different types of traveling cat carriers as well as tips on how to clean and maintain them. 

cat in orange bike basket
Ready for a Ride!

Different Types Of Cat Carriers

Anyone who has ever owned a cat will know that the felines are incredibly independent, making it very difficult to travel with your cat in confidence.

A pet travel carrier makes it easier to transport your kitty from one place to another. There are different types of carriers, each serving their own purpose.

Soft-Sided Mesh Panels Cat Carrier

Soft, mesh windows carriers come in different sizes and are great in a variety of instances – from air travel to trips to the vet. The flexible material makes the carrier less bulky and easier to transport without the cat inside as it can fold in. Many also have wheels and sturdy handles for easy carrying.

⇒ If you’re keen to get out and about with your kitty don’t miss my Guide to Cat Walking

cat outside mesh cat carrier

While soft carriers are effective for transportation, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. The soft cat carrier can be more difficult to clean and is prone to damage if your cat is on the wilder end of the spectrum and enjoys clawing as a favorite pastime. But this is one of the best cat carriers for long-distance car travel.

cat backpack carrier
Love the colour scheme of this cat backpack

Hard-Shell Pet Carriers

The hard-shell, plastic carry cases  re known to be the most sturdy and supportive. As an added bonus, they are a fair bit easier to clean. You can choose between single-door, top-door, or top-loading cases depending on your preference.

Normally, these plastic cases include steel wire or steel mesh. Keep in mind that if you have a large cat, then it’s worth the extra bucks to buy a carrier with a sturdy handle.

Cheap cat carriers are normally of lower quality and may put your lovable kitty in danger.

grey cat in blue carrier

If you’re looking for large cat carriers to give your cat more space to move around, then a  hard-shell plastic case may be your best option. These can be one of the best cat carriers for scared cats.

⇒ For everything you need to know about taking care of your finicky feline check out my guide to How to Groom a Cat, the Best Cat Brush, Caring for Cats guide and my quick cat check up guide.

Ultra-Light Cat Carrier

If you simply want to move your kitty from one house to another or take them for a quick trip to the vet, then a heavy-duty carrier may be clumsy and unnecessary. There are also super light cat carriers that are collapsible, convenient, and comfortable – for both you and your cat.

These cute cat carriers may be convenient, but they are also limited for long-distance travel. Another great option for quick and easy day-to-day travel is the portable cat carrier bag and sling. These slings are incredibly easy to clean and very comfortable for both cat and owner.

Cat with Car Toy

Backpack Pet Carrier for Cats

These funky bubble backpacks are ventilated, transparent, and convenient. The capsule cat carriers are mostly airline approved and allow you to travel with your regal feline companion in style. This is one of the best cat carriers for plane travel.

With these cat travel bags, you can take your kitty with you on your next adventure, with both of your hands free to take photographs, read a map, and sip on a cup of coffee.

Cardboard Cat Carrier

Many cat owners prefer to buy in a temporary, disposable cardboard pet carrier. The boxes are mostly one-size-fits-all and are not long-lasting. The cat carry box is prone to being chewed, soiled, and is not the most comfortable.

However, it does have its perks. They are really affordable and work perfectly for the quick and efficient transportation of your cat. If you are after something low cost this is one of the best cat carrier options.

ginger cat on car hood

Features To Consider

There are certain features to look out for when investing in a cat carrier. These features will affect how your cat enjoys its travel.

Number of Doors

There are portable cat carriers with single doors as well as multiple doors. The description is self-explanatory, with a single door offering only one opening for your pet, and multiple doors offering many.

If you have a small, docile kitty, then one door should be fine. But if you have a larger cat that can put up a struggle, then multiple doors (particularly top loading cat carriers) may be a better choice as it’s easier to get them inside.

⇒ About to become a fur parent? Check out my Complete Guide to How to Look After a Kitten.

Lock Type

There are various lock types to choose from that will ensure the safety of your cat. Some kitten carriers have zippers, velcro, and snaps. While these may be quick and easy, it makes it relatively easy for cats to push their way through the opening.

⇒ Check out my guides to the Best Cat Products and the Best Cat Litter

ginger cat looking out from a box

Others have plastic knobs that latch the carrier together. These are also fairly easy to use, but the carrier does need to be aligned correctly to work. Plastic pegs are another way to latch a carrier. While simple to use, the pegs can sometimes be misplaced.

Another method of closing the carrier is with side snaps. These are effective and effortless, but the loud snap can make a skittish cat feel uncomfortable.

Size

The size of your cat carrying case is also important and depends largely on the size of your pet, as well as how long they will be inside. As a rule of thumb, the carrier should be at least one and a half times the size of your animal.

For long flights, you want to make sure that your kitty carrier is large enough for your pet to stay comfortable. If it can fit food and water bowls, then that’s an added benefit. And one they’ll be grateful for.

A medium cat carrier is perfect for your average-sized cat going on shorter trips so is often the best cat carrier for car trips, while a small cat carrier is all that is needed for a quick trip to the vet. At the end of the day, you want your precious cat to be comfortable and secure.

Best Practices For Using A Cat Carrier

While many humans aspire to tick off as many exotic destinations as possible, the thought of travel tends to stress out a lot of cats. Here are a few suggestions and preparation hacks to help you to prepare.

⇒ For all things fun with your kitty check out my guides to clothing for cats, the best toys for cats, great gifts for cats and my annual cat planner for kitty photo opportunities across the year.

grey cat on back legs with duster

Familiarize Yourself With The Airline Regulations

The pet policy may vary slightly depending on which airline you travel with. The last situation that you want to find yourself in is to be stranded at the airport with an unsuitable carrier.

Make sure that you do your research beforehand, and be certain that your cat pet carrier fits within the airline’s policy.

As a guideline, many airline policies follow a similar policy:

  • Pets must be of a certain age before boarding a plane (normally at least 8 weeks)
  • Pets must remain inside their closed container, under the seat in front of you
  • Only two pets allowed per passenger in the cargo hold

As you can see, a large carry container that doesn’t fit under the seat may present itself as a problem for flying.

Ginger cat poses against blurred background

Stay on the safe side and call your airline beforehand to find out what the proper procedure is for booking a cat on a flight.

Make Sure That Your Cat Is Comfortable

As a loving pet owner, you’d naturally want your kitty to feel comfortable and safe while traveling. Whether you’re using the carrier in the car or on a plane, there are certain steps to destress your cat.

Firstly, leave the carrier out in your home so that the feline can get comfortable around it. Don’t allow the travel case to become synonymous with stress.

tabby siberian cat sits on brown paper bag
tabby siberian cat sits on brown paper bag

Secondly, you can make the carrier feel like home. Place a blanket or piece of fabric on the bottom of the carrier to add an element of coziness and comfort.

Another way to make your cat feel at home in the case is to put it inside with its favorite toy, and show it lots of love before you close the door, to make it feel comfortable.

Secure The Travel Case

While airlines have a certain protocol for traveling with pets, transporting your cat in the car leaves the responsibility of security to you. Secure the carrier in the backseat with a seatbelt, and never put your cat in a closed trunk.

It should also go without saying that you should never leave your cat alone in the car, especially on warm days.

Break Up Long Trips

Cats can be real divas and enjoy their independence. Locking them in a cage – no matter how comfortable – for hours on end is not ideal. If you’re driving on a long trip, then make sure that you stop for regular breaks.

Take advantage of to make sure that your kitty is secure when outside of the box.

⇒ Check out my guides to the best treats for cats, high-calorie cat food and a complete cat feeding guide wet and dry food.

Keep The Cat Carrier Clean

Cats are as clean as they are independent. The iconic image of a cat licking its paws is renowned for a reason. So, make sure that you respect your kitty and keep the cat carrier clean.

Each product will have its own recommended cleaning instructions, so keep an eye open for those.

Ginger cat licking its paw

Picking The Perfect Cat Travel Carrier

There are plenty of fantastic options on the market. Most are designed with the comfort and security of your feline friend front of mind.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your cat doesn’t view the carrier as a threat, but rather as a snug mode of transport. Assess what you need the travel bag for and any restrictions that may accompany the journey, and make your choice from there.

cat wicker carrier

A cat carrier solves several transportation problems. Whether you’re shooting to the vet, or going on an exciting trip, now your cat can travel in comfort and style.

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on most of the links and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. This will not effect the price that you pay. I wanted to make sure that you were aware of this.

Like this Post? Why Not Pin It?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *