It can be hard to find a carrier where your cat truly feels comfortable. Just because it is airline approved doesn't mean they will be able to completely relax on the move.
It’s important to consider your cat's temperament, size and timeframe inside the carrier before purchasing one. Do you need something with a litter box? Is your cat mischievous? Or do you just need something for a quick vet trip once a year? Answering these questions will help you determine the best carrier for you and your cat.
Types of Cat Carriers
As you might have guessed or seen, there are a variety of different cat carriers out there. It took me a while to decide on the best one for our furry friend. Questions I asked myself were: Will she feel safe? Will she get jerked around? Will she try and scratch through it? Will it last her whole life?
You might opt for a different cat carrier when you have a kitten versus an older cat. You know your cat's personality and attitude better than anyone else. Not every cat carrier is the best option for every cat. A kennel-like carrier might scare your kitty, while a breathable option might seem better but not necessarily provide the durability you need if you have a larger cat.
If you plan to use your carrier just for vet appointments, you might need something different than if you are jet-setting across the country with your feline.
Hard Cat Carriers
A hard plastic carrier is probably the most common type of carrier if you are only using it to bring your cat to and from the vet. If you grew up in a cat household, these were the go-to carriers.
They are durable and pretty much impossible for your cat to ruin from clawing through.
They have a handle on the top and a metal cage-like entrance. You can strap them into your car with a seatbelt, but these are not the carriers you will want to use as a travel carrier on an airplane.
One benefit of hard plastic carriers is they are probably the easiest carriers on this list to clean. You can wipe them down or spray them out with a hose if you need to!
Soft Cat Carriers
Soft carriers are, you guessed it, soft surfaced. These carriers can be foldable, have mesh sides and are sometimes even machine washable.
They are an excellent option for traveling long distances and airplane travel. Compared to the hard carriers, they can slide underneath the seat and are better for car rides when it comes to crash test safety.
If you have a super anxious or destructive kitty, these might not be the best carriers for your furry friend. Cats have been known to claw their way through the mesh. Then you will be dealing with not only an escaped cat but a ruined carrier, too. Devious kitties also have figured out a way to undo the zippers. You can get locking zippers to help deter a wild kitty.
Roller Cat Carriers
Similar to a rolly suitcase, there are roller cat carriers. Most roller carriers are pretty roomy and cozy for them to move around and get comfy. The one thing to be aware of is that the wheels might scare them and cause them to be more anxious than if you just put them in an over the shoulder or handle carrier.
Roller carriers would also work for small dogs, and depending on where you are going; they can also be great for pet travel.
Backpack Cat Carriers
Last but not least are the backpack carriers. This is my personal favorite when it comes to cat carriers. Sometimes you can even find a roller carrier that converts into a backpack carrier, combining the best of both worlds. A backpack carrier leaves your hands free and allows your kitty to see the outside world easier. These are great for going on walks, park days or hikes. This is not the ideal carrier for traveling, but it can be a great option for a quick trip to the vet.
The type of cat carrier you buy really depends on how often and where you will be bringing your cat. A traveling carrier will be different from the one you only use once a year for your annual vet appointment. You wouldn't use the same cat carrier on a hike as you would when navigating the train station.
No matter where you are headed, here are the 13 best cat carriers for your favorite feline.
The Best Hard Cat Carrier - Petmate Two Door Top Load
If you are looking for a hard plastic cat carrier, the Petmate Two Door Top Load is one of the best hard carriers on the market. With over 9,000 4.5-star reviews on Amazon, you really can't go wrong with anything Petmate offers.
This is not the carrier for long trips or airport travel, but if you need something for a quick trip to the vet or have a very naughty kitty that will try and claw their way out, you will want something durable.
With two different doors, you can put your cat in from the top or the side of the carrier. The top door is slightly wider than the front door, making it easier to put your kitty in and take him out.
Your escape artist will not be able to get through the squeeze latches or the wing and bolts that secure this carrier. It comes in a variety of colors too to better fit your felines personality.
The Best Collapsible Cat Carrier - Pet Magasin Airline Approved Cat Carrier
This lightweight and collapsible cat carrier from Pet Magasin only weighs 2.2 pounds!
Even though this carrier is collapsible, it keeps its shape once all the zippers are zipped up. There is enough room for bigger cats, despite the lightweight material. With mesh panels on the sides, front and back, your kitty will be able to see out of the carrier when you are on the move.
Another major perk of this particular carrier is it is waterproof, making it super easy to clean. It also has an adjustable shoulder strap and folds down flat to be easily stored when not in use.
The Best Expandable Cat Carrier - Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier
The Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier is basically like a big tent for cats. This carrier features expandable options from the front, back and both sides. The spacious interior makes it extra cozy for your cat when they are inside. This could be a great option if you bring your cat to the park and want to hang out for a while. They will feel comfortable and be able to embrace the outdoors without running away and maximum air circulation.
You can quickly secure this carrier in a car seat with a seatbelt over the back of your luggage or carry it with the shoulder strap. The interior pet bed is removable and machine washable.
The Best Top Loading Cat Carrier - Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier
Top-loading carriers are the easiest to get your cat in and out of when you’re on-the-go. The Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier is perfect for traveling, attaching to a stroller or any other activity where you need a carrier. This carrier comes in small, medium and large depending on how big of a kitty you have.
With its patented wireframing, it can easily fit underneath airline seats. It also comes with a non-slip carrying strap, luggage strap and a rear pocket to store goodies. The inside has a faux fur bed that is machine washable for your cozy kitty. This carrier also comes in a range of colors: black, charcoal, brown and plum.
The Best Cat Carrier with a Litter Box - Necoichi Portable Stress Free Series
A litter box inside a cat carrier is great for a variety of reasons. You can bring your cat on longer trips, give them a sense of security and relieve some of your anxiety about dealing with a messy accident. This is also great if you are going on a trip and need to stay in a hotel or bring your cat to a sleepover.
The Necoichi Portable Stress Free Series comes with a fleece mat and a litter box. It is also waterproof, making it super easy to cheap. The litter box and the carrier both fold down for easy storage and convenience. It has a zippered mesh side as well as a panel that rolls up or down, so your kitty can see out of the carrier wherever you go.
The Best Soft Cat Carrier - Sleepypod Air in-Cabin Pet Carrier
This cat carrier is definitely not for the budget-conscious shopper with the $166 price tag. The Sleepypod Air in-Cabin Pet Carrier is a great option for pet owners who travel a lot and are looking for something that is easy to transition from the car to the airport as well as the vet's office.
Not only is the carrier roomy for larger cats, but it also has a shoulder strap, trolley pocket for your rolly bag and is collapsible for easy storage.
With the top-loading tear-resistant mesh, plush bedding, and easy to clean exterior, this carrier will last you for decades.
The Best Budget-Friendly Cat Carrier - Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier
This budget-friendly cat carrier from AmazonBasics has over 13,000 4.5-star reviews, despite the low price. It is a soft-sided mesh carrier with a fleece pad that is machine washable, so your kitty is extra cozy.
It has a top and side loading option and comes in three different sizes so that you can get a small one for your kitten or a large one for your big fluffy. This carrier is great for car trips or storing under your seat on an airplane.
The Best Cat Carrier for Airplanes - SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier Airline Approved Premium Under Seat Compatibility for Dogs and Cats
If you are looking for a cat carrier that will make your cat super comfortable on the plane, this carrier from Sleeko is your best bet.
This particular carrier can fit underneath the seat with lots of mesh windows for your kitty to see out of during the flight. With a padded shoulder strap, it is easy to carry through the airport. You can easily buckle this carrier in with its seat belt buckles going to and from the airport, so your kitty is secure the entire way.
It also offers an expandable side if you want to use it for a dog, a bigger cat or just give your little kitty some extra room at the gate before you board. There are also two pockets so you can stash some treats or toys when you are on the go!
The Most Sturdy Cat Carrier - Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Travel Kennel
Want to tote around your kitty, but make sure they are in a secure carrier? The Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Travel Kennel will keep even the biggest cat safe. It can hold up to 20 pounds with its small carrier and 50 pounds with a larger one.
There is plenty of room and ventilation so your cat can lounge inside and not get claustrophobic. The hard plastic exterior is very easy to wipe clean, but this is not the smallest and easiest kennel to store when you do not use it. If you have a basement or garage for storage– great, but it will take up a hefty amount of space in a small apartment.
The Best Backpack Cat Carrier - Petsfit Sturdy Cat Carrier Backpack
A backpack is a great cat carrier for on the go. It not only lets you be hands-free, but your cat is elevated and can see out at all of the surroundings. The Petsfit Sturdy Cat Carrier Backpack has mesh windows all around the carrier, a pocket to fill with treats or toys and has a top-loading or front-loading entry.
This particular backpack can hold a kitty up to 16 pounds, so you can take your cat to the park, on a picnic, camping or on a neighborhood walk. It comes with padded hip and chest straps, in case you are dealing with a heavier furry friend. It offers plenty of ventilation and room for them to move around inside. This carrier also folds down flat and is collapsible for easy storage.
The Best Cat Carrier on Wheels - Gen7 Compact Roller Pet Carrier
Who doesn't love a good rolly bag? This handy dandy Gen7 Compact Roller Pet Carrier is easy to maneuver from your house to the car, through the airport, and really anywhere you need to go. It also converts into a backpack if you would rather be hands-free or need to go up or down the stairs.
There are mesh windows all around the carrier so your cat can see out. It offers top and front-loading zippered doors and storage pockets you can fill with treats and toys. This carrier is also big enough for two cats if you need it!
It is important to remember that not all cats love the roller bag carriers because they get scared of the loud noise. It can also be a little bumpy for them, so it is a good idea to put a comfy blanket in there if you plan on taking a trip!
The Best Cat Carrier for Road Trips - Sleepypod Mini Mobile Pet Bed
Finding a cat carrier where your cat feels comfortable enough to take a snooze can be challenging. Nothing is quite as relaxing as your bed at home, but the Sleepypod Mini Mobile Pet Bed is a close second. This particular cat carrier has passed numerous crash safety tests, so you can rest easy knowing your feline is safe in the back seat on your road trip.
It has a cozy pet bed; your cat might even prefer to take naps in this carrier at home; it is that comfy. It is extra padded, the bedding is machine washable, and the top-entry makes it easy for your kitty to get in and out of the carrier.
The Best Cat Carrier for Scaredy Cats - SturdiBag Extra Large Flexible Height Pet Carrier
Do you have a nervous nelly? Nervous cats can be extremely hard to find a cat carrier for sometimes. The SturdiBag Extra Large Flexible Height Pet Carrier is the perfect carrier to help relax your cat. It is basically like a big sleeping bag for your feline.
It comes in ten different colors, has privacy flaps and mesh windows and can hold up to 50 pounds. This carrier is machine washable with a flexible soft exterior and safety seatbelt straps to secure in your car.
As you can see, no two cat carriers are the same. Depending on how often you use your cat carrier and what type of personality your cat has will determine the best carrier for your family. No matter what carrier you decide to get, it is important to get your kitty familiarized with it, so they are not scared.
Before you embark on a trip, getting your cat used to its cat carrier is important.
A few ways to get them acclimated:
- Introduce them to the bed
- Leave the carrier open, so they can explore
- Add some treats and toys inside
- Put them inside and carry them around the house
- Spray with soothing pheromone spray
Enjoy your future kitty adventures!
You might also be interested in: The 14 Best Chew Toys For Cats [With Razor Sharp Teeth]
The 13 Best Cat Carriers:
- The Best Hard Cat Carrier - Petmate Two Door Top Load
- The Best Collapsible Cat Carrier - Pet Magasin Airline Approved Cat Carrier
- The Best Expandable Cat Carrier - Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier
- The Best Top Loading Cat Carrier - Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier
- The Best Cat Carrier with a Litter Box - Necoichi Portable Stress Free Series
- The Best Soft Cat Carrier - Sleepypod Air in-Cabin Pet Carrier
- The Best Budget-Friendly Cat Carrier - Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier
- The Best Cat Carrier for Airplanes - SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier Airline Approved Premium Under Seat Compatibility for Dogs and Cats
- The Most Sturdy Cat Carrier - Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Travel Kennel
- The Best Backpack Cat Carrier - Petsfit Sturdy Cat Carrier Backpack
- The Best Cat Carrier on Wheels - Gen7 Compact Roller Pet Carrier
- The Best Cat Carrier for Road Trips - Sleepypod Mini Mobile Pet Bed
- The Best Cat Carrier for Scaredy Cats -SturdiBag Extra Large Flexible Height Pet Carrier