When choosing a new car, there are plenty of things to consider. How safe is it? How stable? How well built?
We put plenty of care into the car we choose, but the same can’t always be said for pet carriers. Too many people simply opt for the cheapest kennel that they can find, which isn’t necessarily the best fit for your best friend. A good carrier should make your pet feel calm, comfortable, and secure as you travel.
Picking the right carrier isn’t as easy as it might seem, but at the end of the day, it’s worth the investment to keep you and your cat safe. With so many carriers to choose from, though, how do you decide which one is the right fit for you and your cat? Here are our top tips on how to pick out the best carrier to suit your kitty’s needs, making travel less stressful for both you and your feline friend.
What is the Best Cat Carrier?
What to Look For in a Carrier
It’s important to choose the right carrier for your pet if you plan on traveling with cats, whether by plane, car, or public transit. A good carrier will make any trip safer and more comfortable for both you and your pet. There are a couple of important features to keep in mind when you’re looking at carriers for your cat.
The size of your cat’s carrier makes more of a difference than you might think. Whether it’s too large or too small, an inappropriately sized carrier can make what should be a fun trip miserable for everybody involved. The right sized carrier should allow a cat to stand, turn, and sit comfortably.
Many people think bigger is better when it comes to carriers, but this just isn’t true. A carrier that’s too big will have your cat sliding and scrambling from one side of the crate to the other as you move, which is not only stressful for your cat but also hard on your back. It can be awkward to try and balance the weight of a cat in a larger carrier.
On the other hand, your cat’s kennel shouldn’t be too small. A cramped carrier prevents your pet from standing and stretching comfortably, which can make long journeys uncomfortable. You should choose a carrier based on your cat’s adult size even if you adopt your buddy as a kitten. If you plan on making any trips longer than thirty minutes or so, you should look for a kennel that can accommodate food, water, and a small litter box.
As many cat owners know, our furry friends tend to prefer tight, enclosed spaces. It’s best to choose a carrier that’s a snug fit for your kitty without allowing for too much free space.
If you have more than one cat, it may be tempting to buy a single carrier, especially if your four-legged friends get along. With two cats, however, it’s almost always best to opt for separate kennels. Even the best behaved cats can become aggressive towards each other in stressful situations, and so you should keep kitties separated when traveling to avoid any accidents or injuries. Separate carriers also make it easier for you if just one kitty has to be taken to the vet.
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You can find all sorts of cat carriers available on the market, from hard-shelled crates to nylon bags. The material you choose for your cat’s carrier will depend mostly on you and your cat’s personal preferences. Here are some of the most common types of carriers that you can find to house your cat.
When you first adopt your four-legged friends, the chances are that they pound or pet store sent you home with a cardboard carrier. While these are fine for temporary transport, they aren’t ideal for long-term use. They’re difficult to secure, difficult to clean and break down when soiled. What’s more, many cats can easily tear through cardboard and escape mid-transit, which can be dangerous for both you and your pet.
Fabric carriers are quickly becoming a popular way to transport pets, as they’re softer and more comfortable than the alternatives. While not as sturdy as cardboard or plastic, fabric carriers offer cushioning that helps to encourage cats to relax during stressful trips. Many also have a removable, water-resistant base that allows you to easily clean up after your pet, while some have liners for added cushioning. Most soft carriers use washable materials so that you can easily clean dirty surfaces.
If your cat is a scratcher, fabric carriers might not be the right choice for you. Claws can easily rip up the sides of even high-quality soft carriers, which not only ruins the aesthetics of the case but can also make it easier for your pet to escape.
For larger or more aggressive cats, it’s a good idea to opt for a hard plastic carrier. These cases last longer than ones made of fabric, and they’re much more difficult for cats to damage in the short-term. Hard carriers are also much easier to clean than other cases. Instead of sticking a soiled carrier in the washing machine, you can quickly wipe it down using a clean rag and a soap or vinegar cleaning solution. This is especially handy if your cat is prone to anxiety or car sickness.
The number and type of doors that a carrier has is another important consideration when choosing a model. While it may be easy to coax calm cats through a carrier door, anxious kitties often prove more difficult. It can help to have a crate with multiple entryways and exits in order to guide your cat in and out of the carrier as needed. You may find it easier to get feisty felines into their box through the top of their crate, for example, than through the front.
More doors on a crate can also help to ventilate the area for your cat as your travel. You should look for carriers with doors made of wire or mesh so that your cat has fresh air circulating throughout their crate, preventing dangerous or noxious fumes from building up. Proper ventilation is especially essential for long trips, or if you suspect your cat may have an accident on the way to your destination.
Reviewed: The Best Cat Carriers
Quick Look : Best Cat Carriers in 2019
Armed with the knowledge of how to choose the best carrier for your cat, now it’s time to look at some of the most popular models available. Here are our top picks of carriers that will keep you and your furry friend safe.
Frisco Plastic Kennel Check Price
This hard-shelled carrier is a simple, no-frills model that’s ideal for easy transport. You can get it in a range of sizes, from extra-small to extra-large depending on the adult size of your cat. Two halves interlock and latch together to create a durable case that can stand up to wear-and-tear from time, travel, and sharp little claws.
This carrier’s hard outer shell makes it easy to clean in the event of spills or accidents, and the bottom comes in a deep black that doesn’t show stains. A shallow moat built into the base of the design helps to trap fluids both to protect your pet’s paws and your car’s interior. Multiple air holes on the sides, back, and top of the case keep it well ventilated, while a wire mesh door keeps your kitty safe without blocking the view.
Environmentally conscientious pet owners will be happy to know that this case is eco-friendly. Unlike many other hard-bodied cases, the plastic used in this carrier is made from 95% pre-consumer recycled materials.
- Multiple size options
- Easy to store, assemble, and clean
- Single door
- Weak latches
Sherpa Delta Pet Carrier Check Price
If you’re a frequent flier, the Sherpa Delta carrier allows you to bring your furry friend along for the ride whenever you travel. The bag is specifically designed to meet typical airline carry-on requirements so that you can breeze through customs and onto your flight. The carrier fits by your feet so that you can keep an eye on your cat throughout the entirety of your trip. Sherpa’s Delta carrier is approved for use by most major airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, United and Air Canada.
If your cat suffers from travel anxiety, this carrier has several built-in features to help reduce stress during travel. Top and side entry options make it easier to get your cat into its carrier while locking zippers prevent accidental escapes. You can also use velcro flaps to close viewing portals if your cat is feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated.
For your comfort, the Sherpa Delta comes with an adjustable carrying strap with no-slip padding so that you don’t have to worry about jostling your cat around too much as you move. A rear pocket lets you conveniently store food, toys, treats, and more for your trip.
- Soft and comfortable
- Compatible with airline restrictions
- Multiple entryways
- Locking zippers
- Adjustable padded strap
- No mesh covering the top entrance
Midwest Spree Plastic Pet Carrier Check Price
If you’re looking to mix fashion with functionality, this Midwest Spree carrier offers a safe space for your cat without sacrificing looks. The base comes in an attractive grey that’s difficult to stain, while the top is a vibrant neon blue. The carrier comes in both 19- and 22- inch sizes to fit both small and larger cats.
Large vents on all sides of the carrier keep airflow moving and allow your cat to look outside as you travel. The only entry into the crate is a mesh metal door, but you can easily unlock the top portion of the kennel for easy access if necessary. The base features grooves to trap liquid and waste as you travel.
When setting up with carrier the assembly instructions are a bit lacking, but you can find more detailed information online. The carrier is easy to assemble and disassemble at home, in the car, or at the vet’s office in just four easy steps.
- Attractive color
- Easy to clean
- Multiple sizes
- Somewhat difficult to assemble
- Single door
Petmate Soft Sided Pet Kennel Cab & Carrier Check Price
This soft carrier is great for pets who are comfortable with travel. Mesh material along the sides and front of the case give your cat a full view of what’s going on outside, which for some pets can make travel a little bit less stressful. The mesh material also promotes airflow, helping your pet to breathe better in cramped spaces such as cars or airplanes.
For cats that aren’t as comfortable with travel, the Petmate Soft Sided Kennel features two openings, one on the front and one on the top for easier loading. Durable PVC backing ensures that the carrier won’t fold in on itself, while a soft fleece insert makes the case’s interior more comfortable.
For the fashion-conscious, you can buy this case in a variety of style to match the rest of your luggage. The carrier comes in black, taupe with a mink liner, and pink with a zebra liner.
- Multiple color options
- Two doors
- Washable fleece liner
- Compatible with most airline regulations
- Mesh sides are easily ripped
- No locks on zippers
OxGord Pet Carrier Check Price
This carrier is designed to allow for maximum space without making your cat feel exposed. A roomy base gives way to a tapered ceiling that offers your cat a comfortable yet cozy space to relax in while you travel. Better yet, the design meets most airlines’ carry on restrictions. The OxGord case comes in both baby blue and light pink.
Mesh panels on all sides allow your cat to see and breathe easily without restricting airflow, while a removable fleece bed makes the interior more comfortable. Multiple storage pockets let you store your kitty’s essentials, plus any extra items that just won’t fit in your luggage.
- Two size options
- Roomy yet cozy
- Breathable mesh paneling
- Removable fleece liner
- Mesh is easy to shred
- May not be big enough for extra large cats