Traveling with cats is one of the most challenging things to try that putting them in the car can often lead to a good deal of bloodshed. The best cat carrier promise to minimize the damage cats can do to their owners, but the use of one will prove to be another hurdle for a lot of cat parents.
Not a lot of cats are fond of these “pet taxis” that lug them around from one point to another, so if you’re a first-time cat parent, you might want to know more about this essential equipment.
Cats and Carriers: Understanding the Complicated Relationship of the Two
Cats are Creatures of Habit
The very thing that you need to know about your fluff ball is the fact that cats are creatures of habit. Their love for a routine is a part of who they are and is embedded on their DNAs. As today’s domestic cats are believed to be descended from the small, solitary, and highly territorial Felis silvestris lybica from the Middle East, scientists have related the behaviors of today’s house cat to be similar with the ancient breed’s adherence to routine. Their daily activities, including marking their territory and burying feces, are all part of how they survive in the wild.
There’s a high chance that modern cats have inherited the need for routine and why they thrive in places that they know well. Although there are cats who love to prowl the neighborhood, they always know when and how to come home, so even “outside” cats are still pretty much following a particular routine.
What’s all of these got to do with a cat carrier? Well, it can easily explain why they often loathe pet crates with a passion. Cat carriers, for most cats, are new environments for them. As these animals are not very trusting, to begin with, they’re often highly suspicious of new spaces.
But cats love boxes, right? And boxes are a lot like pet crates? While this is true, cat carriers are also associated with bad times for most cats. As most cat parents primarily use them to transport their fluff balls from their home to the vet, they don’t always come with beautiful memories.
The car ride alone can be very stressful to your cat, so add to this the experience of being manhandled by complete strangers, your kitty will surely have a lot of issues with a carrier.
Traveling with Cats and Why Cat Carriers are Essential
Because cats like to be familiar with things being a predator and all, they tend to get stressed easily if they have no clue what’s happening around them. This makes them extremely anxious about car rides and being put in a carrier doesn’t make it better except for keeping them and their owners safe.
A hysterical cat that isn’t contained inside a moving car is something a lot of people who know cats well do not want to imagine or, more especially, be a part of. Not only will it lead to bloodshed, but it might also be a cause of distraction that can escalate to a full-blown accident.
By putting your cat into a carrier, you can prevent them from jumping around and violently reacting from the car ride. It will also help you control their environment and even give them a safe space that they’re entirely familiar with making the stressful car ride more bearable.
The Benefits of Using a Cat Carrier
Aside from being an essential equipment when transporting your cat safely from one point to another, there are lots of other advantages in using a cat carrier. Some of the best examples are the following:
1. It can ease their stress from the car ride.
As mentioned above, car rides can be very stressful for cats. With a cat carrier, however, they can be contained in a familiar space. While a lot of cats may hate their crates, they’re better off inside one than just sitting in your car. Not only can they cause a distraction, but a containing them can also help you keep them from seeing the car’s movement from the window.
Experts recommend that you place the carrier on the floor of your backseat if you’re driving a car, or in the back if you’re driving an SUV. This will help minimize their exposure to the sights, sounds, and smells of the journey, so their stress won’t have to be exacerbated by other things.
2. You’ll make the vet staff’s lives a lot easier.
If you know your cat gets stressed from the car rides to the vet, you should also know that they will surely act out as soon as they get to your destination. If they’re not contained in a carrier, you’ll need to directly handle them to move them from the car to the vet’s office, which can be very tricky.
Handing them directly to the staff is another nightmare as that might just hurt a lot of people in the process. If they didn’t try to peel your arms with their claws, they might just do that with the vet’s staff, which can require them to go to the hospital and even take a few days off from work.
So if your cat gets angry for being somewhere unfamiliar, please try to make things easier for others who have to deal with her. While this is purely about being more considerate, it’s still a great benefit that everyone can enjoy from using a cat carrier.
3. Cat carriers can be a familiar space for your cat.
While your cat may disdain their carrier, it can still be the most familiar space for them when going on a trip or when moving houses. Having one will ensure that your cat has a controlled environment that’s recognizable for them.
4. It can keep your cat safe.
There are tons of dangers for your cat out there, but since it’s next to impossible to create a controlled, safe environment for them outside of your home, keeping the dangers out may be the best thing that you can do to prevent anything bad from happening to your fur baby.
By putting them in a carrier, you can keep out excitable or angry dogs. You can also make sure that your cat won’t go to places where they can get injured. A container will also help prevent them from running away.
Choosing the Best Cat Carrier for Your Purrfriend
Now that you have a good idea why you should have a pet carrier, you might already be thinking of getting the right one for your beloved pet. With so, many options, however, how do you make sure that it will suit your kitty’s needs? Let us help you out with these quick tips:
Two Types of Cat Carriers
Often made of nylon and other heavy-duty, water-resistant fabrics, soft-sided carriers are practically cat carrier bags with mesh panels for ventilation. They’re lightweight, making them ideal for toting your kitty around.
These carriers come in a wide range of styles and designs, most of which are fashioned after the different styles of regular bags. Most look like duffle bags, but you can also find them in the form of backpacks and strollers.
This makes soft carriers some of the most attractive options for a lot of pet parents as these products come in a wide range of designs, some of which are unique, novel, or even stylish. They’re also very convenient, allowing pet parents to take their pets outside more often.
However, these carriers are not exactly for every cat. They’re only ideal for cats who are calm and don’t get too stressed out when traveling. If they’re not used to traveling, they might act out while in transport and this can lead to trying to claw their way out.
A soft crate will not be able to hold up to sharp claws, so the carrier’s material can rip and leave your cat even more vulnerable and panic-stricken while in transit. The mesh panels can also trap their claws which they might react violently to as well.
This can hurt your pet and make her lose her nail, causing, even more, aggravation to your already stressed out kitty.
Usually made of highly durable plastic, hard-sided carriers are designed to be very sturdy. They’re also very easy to clean and can be suitable for a wider range of purposes. Airline-approved units can be used for transporting pets on an airplane.
They’re also deemed to be a safer option for cats who get aggressive when taken out of the house. While they’re not exactly very creative when designing these carriers, you can be sure that most options will suit your pet cat’s needs and requirements.
What to Look for in the Best Cat Carrier:
As not all cat carriers are made equal, you might want to know how you can land the best unit for your pet. These are a few things that you should look for in a great crate for your cat so you can be guaranteed that you are getting something that will keep your pet safe and comfortable.
The first thing you’ll want in a pet carrier is adequate ventilation. This will ensure that they get enough air flow inside their container so they won’t feel too stuffy and panic from being too hot or short of breath. This is especially important if your cat is going to be placed in the cargo as they might suffocate from being in a tightly contained crate in an equally poorly ventilated compartment.
To ensure the safety of your fur baby, their carrier should be made of high-quality materials and craftsmanship. They have to be very sturdy, capable of carrying your pet’s weight, and won’t be easily dented, damaged, or even shattered.
The attachments shouldn’t come off quickly. If you can find crates that are weight-bearing, the better your pet’s chances are at being safe during their time in cargo. Aside from durability, the quality make of your pet’s carrier is essential as well.
There shouldn’t be any protruding parts that can cut and hurt your pet. The materials should also be non-toxic. This way, you can be guaranteed that they won’t be put in any harm while in their carrier.
There are two things that you should look for in a crate’s good design.
The first one is its accessibility. Will you be able to easily access your pet inside without her being able to escape as well quickly? Will have multiple doors beneficial to you as a pet parent? Will you be able to carry it with ease? Is it easy to clean? These are important considerations that you have to mull over.
The second thing is aesthetics. Some carriers are just too cute, while others are very convenient. Weigh your options carefully, so you can be sure to pick correctly.
Experts also suggest that you should always opt for carriers designed with its top portions to come off. As cats feel secure when backing up on solid surfaces, it will be easier to carry them out from the top opening of their crate instead of having to drop them from the front gate.
Experts say that a cat carrier should be just a size and a half bigger than your pet to allow her to stand, stretch a bit, and turn around inside. It shouldn’t be any larger than that because cats find smaller spaces cozy and safe.
Cats are smart, so you should be able to prevent their attempts at escape. Look for units that are designed with excellent safety features, so your fur baby won’t be able to get out on their own.
Here is a Video to Help You Choose The Right Cat Carrier for your Cat
Top Tricks for Getting Your Cat Get In Her Carrier
No matter how many your cat carrier options are, the biggest challenge about getting one of these things is how you can get your cat to get in it. A lot of cats hate these things as they are unfamiliar enclosures that may seem very threatening to creatures of habit. So, how do you make them get in?
Experts suggest that you slowly introduce and acclimatize your cat to the presence and existence of the crate before you put them in. Leave the crate where your cat often hangs out with its door open and with cozy beddings to encourage exploration. If they won’t go near it or step inside, you can lure them in with the help of their favorite toy or bedding. Treats and catnip might also help them realize that these things aren’t dangerous.
Executing feeding time in the carrier can also help them feel more at ease of being inside one. If they’re already capable of napping inside, then you can try shutting the door for a few seconds and then carry them from one spot to another.
Give your cat some time before you put them inside and take them out for a car ride in a carrier. Never force your cat into their crates as this will only cause them to harbor resentment towards the equipment, making it harder for you to transport them with its help.
Dos & Don’ts when Using a Cat Carrier
- Don’t let two cats share a single carrier if possible. This might stress out both cats, and you’ll have to face two angry cats in one opening.
- Do add some comfortable bedding in the carrier (but not the ones you don’t want to get soiled). Accidents can happen while your cat is stressed out inside a container, so you should be prepared for it.
- Don’t add a water dish in the carrier, especially if you’re going to transport them. This might get your cat wet, and they will get angry over that.
- Do use calming products if your cat gets too stressed when put in a cat carrier and transported.
- Do make sure that your cat is comfortable at all times. Pack emergency supplies and a clean change of bedding in the case of an accident.
- Do try to make your cat carrier a more fun space for your pet. This will make things easier for both of you if she can willingly step inside her crate.
12 of the Best Cat Carriers Today
Ready to find the best cat carrier for your pet? Here are twelve fantastic options available today:
Cats have their colorful personalities, so a dull and boring carrier may not seem like a great match for some kitties. Petmate’s Compass Kennel will let you express just how fun your furball can be as they come in bold colors like hot pink, blue, and violet.
Made of plastic, it has square holes on all sides to ensure ample ventilation. The 2-way metal grill gate is secure with its dual latch design. The unit can also completely come apart and assembled securely by sliding the top portion to the lower one and screwing them together. Simple and affordable, it can be a great quick option for cats up to 10 lbs.
- Vibrant color options
- Very affordable
- Also good for dogs
- No top opening
- Screw holes can be tricky to align
Thinking of taking your cat to the park for a quick stroll? A cat carrier backpack like this one from Texsens might just tickle your fancy. This hip and modern looking pet carrier will let you carry your pet on your back with them having a full view of their surroundings, thanks to the semi-sphere window it has.
Equipped with several ventilation holes and mesh panels, two side zip openings, a removable, washable pad, and a built-in security leash, this carrier has your pet’s safety and comfort in mind. It can hold up to 12 lbs and is shallow enough to let small pets sit up comfortably when looking out of the sphere window.
- Great for curious but lazy cats
- Sphere can be exchanged with a separately available mesh panel
- Quality construction
- Comes with a cloth protector
- Tricky to install sphere
- Won’t stay upright when left sitting on the floor
Some pet parents love to treat their pets as babies, so a cat carrier bag may be what some folks want. This product from Pettom is a front pack designed for cats and dogs and will allow you to wear your fur baby on your front just like some parents would with their human babies.
What makes this carrier great is the fact that you get to carry it in front of you without requiring the use of both of your hands. Designed with an elastic neck band, it also guarantees that your cat won’t be able to climb out of it and escape the carrier while you’re out and about.
- Can have a calming effect
- Provides a sense of security
- Offers full views of surroundings
- Gives pet parents the chance to supervise their pet closely
- Won’t have dangers of suffocation
- Secure design
- Very affordable
- Sizing can be a bit tricky to nail
- Not for anxious cats
If versatility is something you want in a pet carrier, then this product from Pet Gear is something you should check out. It’s a cat carrier backpack, stroller, and car seat rolled into one as you can wear it on your back, carry it in one hand, roll it along, and even strap it down on the car with the help of your seat belt. It’s very convenient and easy to use with a large front opening and additional storage pockets.
With large mesh windows, a built-in tether, and extendable sides it also guarantees your pet’s security and comfort. It can even hold up to 25 lbs, so you can be sure that you’ll still be able to carry a heavy pet around with ease and safety.
- Very convenient to use
- High weight limit
- Good for cat parents who travel with pets a lot
- Some airlines allow its use onboard the plane
- Can be strapped in with car seat belts
- Quite small
- Won’t stay upright
- Zipper can be opened by pet
great features that will make carting your pet around more comfortable and safe. For one, most airlines will let you hand carry your cat with you in this carrier. It meets airline regulations and is compatible with forwarding seat measurements.
It also guarantees comfort and safety for your fur baby. With a soft fleece bedding, collapsible roof, three openings, wide mesh windows, and safety locks, you won’t have to worry about your pet feeling stuffy or squished. The whole unit’s washable, too, so cleanups will be pretty easy.
- Looks attractive
- Extra pockets
- Comfortable for your pet
- Holds up to 14 lbs
- Durable nylon material
- Can be used to carry pets on flights
- Duffel bag design with shoulder and hand straps
- Dry clean only fleece bedding
If you’re looking for an affordable pet carrier, AmazonBasics has a great option available for you. This unit guarantees well ventilation with its wide mesh panels. It also has a rugged design that will suit all kinds of pet parents who just need to transport their cats safely and securely. With three openings and a 16-lb weight limit, it can be a good pick for small cats.
- Fits most airlines’ under-seat dimensions
- Minimalist design
- Machine washable fleece bedding
- Foldable for easy storage
- Spot clean only
Is your kitty not the calm type? Then a hard-sided crate from AmazonBasics is an alternative you should consider. This unit offers a smart design with its top and front gates. Both opens on either side, so you can easily access your pet quickly. It also comes apart in three parts so you and your vet’s staff can quickly load your pet in and out of the crate.
- vailable in two sizes
- Very affordable
- Top and bottom parts snap together but also comes with screws for additional security
- Spring-loaded latch makes it easy for you to operate but hard for your cat to fiddle with
- Quite a challenge to assemble
Not too sure about crates that snap together? This Petmate carrier is held together by durable plastic screws offering better hold and integrity, so you can rest assured that your pet is well contained inside her crate. Made from durable plastic and metal, this unit makes use of a two-door design, so you have more ways to access and load your cat into the carrier.
- Well-ventilated and allows more light in
- Durable construction
- Available in two sizes
- Ergonomic handle
- Not airline approved for cargo shipping pets
Fashionable pet parents find this Necoichi portable carrier the answer to their woes as it lets them carry their kitties easily and safely without having to deal with a clunky container. This soft crate folds flat for storage and unravels to reveal a very modern take on a cat carrier bag.
This carrier has a unique look because instead of a box-like appearance, it looks more like a cute teepee for fur babies. It’s also very spacious and surprisingly well supported that it might just be the right match for your kitty.
- Holds up to 18 lbs
- Looks fantastic
- Very affordable
- Not for big cats
Pet parents who frequently flies domestic will need an airline approved cat carrier to transport their pets from coast to coast. If you often fly Delta, then make sure to check out this product. Exclusively made by Sherpa in partnership with Delta Air Lines, this soft crate is guaranteed to be compliant with the company’s pet carry-on regulations.
Equipped with three zipper entries, mesh window panels, a storage pocket, and a collapsible spring wire frame, it will guarantee your pet’s comfort and safety. It even comes with an adorable Delta bag tag, so it might just be the start of your great relationship with this carrier.
- Well ventilated
- Available in three sizes
- Seat belt strap for safe car rides
- Privacy flaps
- Machine washable liner
- Guaranteed on Board
- Quite expensive
Another good option for pet parents who love to take their cats to different places is this OxGord soft-sided pet carrier. It’s also airline approved and has a collapsible roof so you can easily place it under the seat in front of yours. It’s also well-ventilated and has one major opening and a half opening that serves as a peephole.
- Has storage compartments
- Removable fleece liner
- Two sizes available
- Equipped with seat belt straps
- No top opening
Love to dress up and go on adventures with your kitty? U-Pet’s cat carrier backpack will definitely tickle your fancy. This cosmic-looking pack is made of acrylic offering stability and comes with an utterly adorable sphere-shaped window where your cat can watch everything go by while they sit cozily on your back. You can also swap the sphere out for a mesh window as well.
- Well-ventilated with lots of holes and mesh panels
- Looks really cool
- Comfortably padded inside
- Washable, removable liner
- Comfortable to wear
- Only for small cats
Our Recommended Product
With so many cat carriers to choose from, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options. However, some still stand out more than the rest, so you can certainly find the best cat carrier for your pet if you’re paying good attention to what these items offer and what your pet cat needs.
For us, the best item from the list is the U-Pet Innovative Patent Bubble Pet Carriers due to their unique and cozy design as well as construction. This product will let you take your cat around with great ease, style, and comfort, which is what most young pet parents are after. However, they’re not really for every cat out there, so if yours don’t like being moved from one place to another, it’s best to opt for a sturdier product.
U-pet Innovative Patent Bubble Pet Carriers
In any case, it’s really up to you which one you think will suit your (and your cats) needs the best. Those who travel a lot will benefit more from an airline approved carrier, while those with really anxious pets will find the best match with a hard-sided crate. Make sure to pay attention to your cat’s behavior to know which one will be the best cat carrier for them.