People who buy or adopt a cat learn early on that cat carriers are some of the most important accessories they should own. There are many reasons for this, and one of these is that carriers help keep cats safe and secure.
It prevents them from jumping through open car windows and ensures they stay safe in case of car accidents. It also prevents felines from running away (and never being found again), ensures they won’t be attacked by other animals, and stops them from hurting their owners, other people, and other pets.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAT CARRIER?
So, whether you’re a new cat owner or have been a pet parent for years, you have to make sure you have a cat carrier for your furry baby. But the question now is this: which carrier should you buy? How do you know that it’s the right choice for you?
To answer these questions, you’ll need to consider several important factors. One of these is the size of the carrier — it should be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
Another is the quality of the product. Carriers made of high-quality materials are often more expensive, but the extra cost is worth it since they can last for years with proper care.
You should also decide on the design that best fits your needs. Do you want to have a hard-sided carrier, or are you looking for one with soft sides? (We discuss these two types below.) Will you buy a carrier with a top-loading door or not?
Many vets prefer top-loading carriers since they can just remove the top half if the cat doesn’t want to come out — no need to pull him out of the small opening! However, many airlines advise people to put cats in non-top loading carriers, which provide more safety for their pets while in transit.
Speaking of airlines, you might need to buy a new carrier if you’re traveling with your cat. Many airlines have strict requirements when it comes to cat carriers and only accept specific makes and models, which means the one you own now might not be suitable to use. Before you go shopping, though, make sure to call your airline company to find out exactly what brand and model you should purchase.
HARD-SIDED CAT CARRIERS
These sturdy carriers are often made of high-quality plastic, which helps them withstand wear and tear and last for a long time. Their tough walls also make it difficult for your cat to claw his way out and escape his carrier.
Hard-sided carriers have holes to provide ventilation and ensure your pet can easily breathe, but compared to soft-sided models, they have darker and more enclosed interiors. Animal experts think this is actually good for cats, since it gives them a sense of security and helps them relax and settle down.
Hard-sided cat carriers are available in various designs. Some have a removable top half, while others are solid throughout. Some have a basic entryway at the side, while others have both the side entryway and a bigger top door (which makes it easier for pet owners to get nervous cats into the carrier).
SOFT-SIDED CAT CARRIERS
If you need a carrier that’s lightweight and highly portable, you’ll want to get a soft-sided model. Carriers with soft sides are often made of nylon, and they’re often shaped like a duffle bag (complete with padded shoulder straps) so you can just sling them on your shoulder and easily carry them around.
This makes them highly popular among people who love to travel with their pets and want to keep their cat by their side at all times.
But here’s the thing: even though soft-sided cat carriers are made of durable fabrics, the fact remains that they’re still made of soft materials and can easily be torn by a sharp cat claw. If you have a determined feline, you might end up with a damaged bag and/or a pet with a torn nail.
The worst case scenario is that your cat will be able to escape his carrier and get into trouble — something you don’t want to happen in a crowded vet clinic, at the airport, or in an airplane.
Because of these, you’ll want to use a soft-sided carrier only if you’re confident your cat is a calm traveler and doesn’t get easily agitated when transported from one place to another.
TOP 10 CAT CARRIERS
Now that you know exactly what to look for in a cat carrier, it’s time to go shopping for one. To make this easier for you, we’ve listed some of the top options in the market below.
1. PetLuv Soothing “Happy Cat” Soft Sided Cat Carrier
This carrier has a nearly five-star rating, which isn’t surprising since it’s packed with a lot of features that pet parents find useful. Its soft and supple material is supported by a sturdy steel frame, and its hypoallergenic mesh doors promote proper airflow and ventilation.
It comes with a plush sleep pillow that helps your cat stay comfortable even when traveling for hours. The carrier measures 18” W x 24” L x 18” H and is designed to be collapsible, so it’s easy to store when not in use.
2. Pawfect Pets Premium Pet Travel Carrier
This soft-sided carrier is made of upgraded and highly durable polyester fabric panels, which are paired with heavy-duty mesh that provide excellent ventilation but can’t be clawed into pieces easily.
It has openings on both sides, so it’s easy to get your cat in and out of the carrier, plus a small opening in the front where you can slip treats to your pet and ensure he won’t go hungry. It measures 10″ W x 17.5″ L x 11″ H and claims to be airplane approved, although you have to confirm this with your airline.
3. Pawfect Pets Large Soft Sided Airline Approved Pet Carrier
This cat carrier is made of microfiber fabric that’s soft enough to keep your pet comfortable and durable enough to last a long time, plus mesh screen panels that maintain good ventilation.
Measuring 12″ W x 18″ L x 11.5″ H, it comes with a fleece bed that provides added comfort and has a back pocket where you can conveniently store toys, treats, and other items. It also has a four-point adjustable shoulder strap that allows you to carry it around without experiencing discomfort.
4. Suncast 23 in. Deluxe Pet Carrier
One of the first things you’ll notice about this is its attractive color scheme, but this isn’t the only thing it has to offer. Its high-quality wire and resin construction makes it durable and long-lasting, while its design ensures that it’s easy to clean.
It measures 15″ W x 23″ D x 12 1/2″ H and comes with a food and water bowl along with an easy-access storage compartment for treats.
5. Pet Magasin Collapsible Hard Cover Pet Carrier
This cat carrier is one of the few models that effectively combines the benefits of both hard-sided and soft-sided carriers. Its hard top and hard base keep it stable and provide adequate protection to your pet while traveling.
Its soft mesh sides, on the other hand, make it collapsible and allow you to easily store it when not in use. It measures 14″ W x 17″ D x 13″ H (which means it’s large enough for most cats) and comes with a padded floor mat that provides your pet with a comfortable, non-slip surface.
6. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
This cat carrier measures 9.4” W x 16.5” L x 9.8” H and fits the under-seat dimensions of most planes, making it a great choice if you love to travel. It’s built with a sturdy wire frame and features mesh panels on all four sides to provide maximum ventilation and ensure your pet stays safe and healthy.
Its front and top openings make it easier for you to place your cat inside, while its removable base insert and fleece pet bed give your pet a stable, warm, and comfortable surface to sleep on.
7. Zampa Soft-Sided Pet Carrier
The Zampa Soft-Sided Pet Carrier has plenty of mesh windows for ventilation and comes with openings on both sides, so getting your cat in and out of the carrier is easy.
It has plenty of storage space for treats (which means you can give your cat some snacks while traveling) and even has an interior leash clip for added safety and security. The carrier is available in different colors, so you can choose one that best suits your style.
8. AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel
Measuring 12” W x 19” L x 10” H, this pet carrier has a top-load design and comes with a side door and a top door for easy access. The top door can be opened to the left or to the right for added convenience.
Its body is made of durable, high-quality plastic, while its side door is made of sturdy steel wire. The top and bottom halves of the carrier connect to each other through four snap-on latches and can be secured further by screws.
9. Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Plastic Kennel
This carrier is designed to be small and inconspicuous but actually has enough space to accommodate pets up to 8 inches tall and up to 10 lbs in weight.
It has plenty of holes on all sides to provide adequate ventilation and has a quick-latching door that keeps your cat safe and secure while traveling.
It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty to give you peace of mind.
10. Favorite Dog Cat Rabbit Airline Approved Car Travel Vet Visit Pet Carrier
Made of durable plastic and steel wire, this cat carrier measures 15.5″ W x 23″ L x 13.5″ H and is big enough for most felines. It comes with a side door as well as a top door (which can open both to the left and to the right) for convenient access.
Its top handle makes it easy to carry, although you can also sling it over your shoulder with the included shoulder strap.
WHICH ARE THE BEST CAT CARRIERS?
The carriers mentioned above are some of the top options nowadays and can fit the needs of most cat owners. However, there are certain makes and models that rise above the others and can be considered the best in the market. Here are a few of them:
Best-Rated Cat Carrier: Petmate Two Door Top Load Kennel
With more than 2,000 four- and five-star reviews, the Petmate Two Door Top Load Kennel is clearly the number-one choice of many pet parents.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, though, since the carrier has many wonderful features to offer. Its steel and plastic construction ensures its durability, while its two-door top-loading design makes it easy to load and unload your pet.
Best Value Product: Petmate Sky Kennel
The Petmate Sky Kennel has a heavy-duty plastic shell that can withstand rough use and comes with sturdy wire doors and ventilation windows for optimum airflow. The words “Live Animals” are printed on its side to increase awareness and help your cat stay safe even when he has to go into the plane cargo area.
The fact that it’s made of 25 percent recycled materials makes the Sky Kennel even more attractive to environmentally conscious pet parents.
Cheapest Option: Petamo Dog Cat Pet Carrier Mesh Pup Pack
At less than $15, the Petamo Dog Cat Pet Carrier Mesh Pup Pack is one of the cheapest options out there. But it’s not just budget-friendly; it also has a unique backpack-inspired design that allows you to carry your pet on your back or front.
It’s a great carrier to use if you love to go camping and sightseeing and need both hands free at all times.
Having the right cat carrier can make your life easier as a pet parent while helping ensure that your furry baby is safe and secure at all times. Browse through the models we’ve listed above to decide on the best cat carrier that suits your pet’s needs as well as your budget.