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Sleepypod Review: Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel in 2021

In this article, I am going to review the best cat carrier for car travel; the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed. This cat carrier has crash test safety approval and is one of the best cat carriers overall.

Unlike many cat carriers, Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed has proven car crash safety.

The Center for Pet Safety, performed crash testing with the Sleepypod, showing the carrier is safe for cats under 15 pounds.

The Sleepypod also doubles as a comfortable bed for homes. Whilst this cat carrier is expensive, it has safety and quality of life benefits that may be worth the price.

My name is Derrick and I write for Simply Cat Care. My goal with this article is to help you learn more about cat carriers and the Sleepypod.

In this Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed review, I’ll examine all the features of this product and whether it is a good cat carrier for car travel. Beyond that, I will look at some frequently asked questions around choosing a cat carrier. By the end of the article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on purchasing a cat carrier.

I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before making a purchase of a cat carrier.

Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

Keep reading to learn more.

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed: The Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel Product Review

  • Crash test approved under urban driving for safety
  • Plush interior for maximum comfort
  • Water resistant and machine washable
  • Under-seat airline compatibility with some airliners
  • Seat belt straps for improved crash resistance
  • Breathable mesh dome top for ventilation
  • Adjustable shoulder strap for ease of transport
  • Steep price point
  • Only accessed via a top door
  • 15lbs weight limit might test larger cats
  • Only has a one year warranty


Colors: Multiple color options are available

Carrier weight: 4.5 pounds

Dimensions: 17 (L) x 6.5 (H) inches

Weight: 3 pounds

Pet weight limit: 15 pounds or less

Warranty: One year

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed Review: Key Features

Let’s talk about the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed.

This product is a premium car travel cat carrier. Sleepypod offers high car crash safety, comfort, and style.

The Sleepypod is crash-tested by the Center for Pet Safety. When used with secure straps, the cat carrier meets the secure safety standards for car travel.

The bed is also a comfortable resting space for your cat. It comes with an optional warming pad to keep your cat warm.

Let’s look at some of the features of the product.

Source: https://sleepypod.com/sleepypod

Mesh Dome

The Sleepypod comes with mesh windows on top that cover a wide circular range.

A cat carrier needs enough airflow for your cat to breathe. A soft cat carrier should contain mesh window exteriors.

Ventilation is especially important for car travel, whilst contained for long trips. Your cat should be as comfortable as possible and not under any stress.

Sleepypods mesh windows are a great feature to help with airflow and comfort.

A hard-sided cat carrier should have a wireframe. Wireframe covers are, however, more dangerous (prone to cutting your pet) than quality mesh windows.

Source: https://sleepypod.com/sleepypod

Top Load Entry

The Sleepypod’s mesh window top dome is removable. This allows a generous amount of space for loading your cat securely to the Sleepypod.

Many cat carriers contain a top door that requires stuffing your pet in through a narrow gap.

The Sleepypod allows for far easier entry, and the cat may hop into the carrier itself.

A front door is a nice advantage in many cat carriers. However, the way Sleepypod is built with a unique design allows easy top door access.

Source: https://sleepypod.com/sleepypod

Ultra Plush Bedding

The best way to familiarise a cat with a cat carrier is by using it as a resting bed around the house. That way, they won’t associate a cat carrier with a negative experience (e.g. vet).

Sleepypod is perfectly equipped for daily comfort. The ultra-plush bedding encourages your cat to enjoy resting at home.

Sleepypods top door mesh window dome opens to allow your cat to stretch out and get comfortable.

Many other cat carriers are too cramped or don’t accommodate daily use. This leads to cats experiencing stress associated with use.

In addition, the bedding is machine washable with easy removal. This means you will never have a dirty and musty bed.

Source: https://sleepypod.com/sleepypod

Crash Test Safety

Unfortunately, many cat carriers perform poorly under crash test simulations.

In 2015, the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) released a report evaluating the performance of a range of pet carriers for crash test safety.

The CPS is a non-profit organization based in Washington DC.

The CPS carried out crash tests on a range of cat and dog carriers at speeds of 30 miles per hour. Many of the cat carriers failed to provide safety and security to the pet. Even more disturbing was the claim of products being crash-tested completely failing [1].

The hard plastic carriers performed worst, disintegrating upon impact [1]. This leads to horrifying results of hard plastic carriers.

The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed passed the CPS test with the use of a PPRS handilock using as 15-pound cat crash test dummy.

The crash test dummy cat stayed in the carrier and the carrier stayed connected to the seat of the car [1].

When secured, the Sleepypod provides rigorous crash test safety under typical urban driving speeds of 30 miles per hour or after.

Source: https://sleepypod.com/sleepypod

Padded Shoulder Strap

The best cat carriers are comfortable for pets and owners alike.

The Sleepypod carrier comes with a removable padded shoulder strap which gives allows for easy carrying.

This is useful for people who are unable to hand-carry heavy plastic carriers due to injury or arthritis.

Unfortunately, there are no backpack options for the Sleepypod.

Source: https://sleepypod.com/sleepypod

Warming Device

The Sleepypod warming device is an optional accessory.

This heats the Sleepypod carrier to 102 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum comfort. The device has a wall and cigarette adapter (i.e. for car travel).

Whilst this isn’t an essential purchase, the device is another bonus for extra comfort.

Customer Reviews (Amazon)

Positive Reviews
  • Durability for long car travel
  • Easy to acclimate the cat to the carrier via bed usage
  • Multiple purpose luxury bed
  • The feeling of security with the safety latches
  • Hammock insert great for hot weather comfort
Negative Reviews
  • Zipper connecting dome breaking
  • Only has a one year warranty
  • No-tag to write down pet details (i.e. name, location, phone number)
  • Difficult to put a nervous cat in before the mesh top door is placed down
  • Not enough size options (only available in two sizes)

SleepyPod Mobile Pet Bed: Overall Verdict

The Sleepypod is a sound cat carrier choice for style, comfort, and safety.

The largest benefit of this cat carrier comes from the rigorous safety features. Sleepypod has proven crash test safety, which other cat carriers – do not.

For aesthetics, the bed comes in a range of colors to suit a variety of tastes. The bed itself is super plush for comfort.

Let’s talk about the downsides.

Firstly, the price:

It’s well over what the typical cat carrier sells for. For the car crash safety, that may justify the cost.
However, the weight limit of the Sleepypod is only 15 pounds. Most cats are able to fit this, but it won’t be compatible with larger felines.

Whilst the product is crash tested under urban conditions (30mps) it is unknown how effective the Sleepypod is at high speeds. That said – I don’t think anyone is safe at high speeds – security or not.

It goes without saying – don’t speed with a pet in the car.

Negative reviews cite long-term durability problems with the zipper. That would be fine if the product had more than a paltry one-year warranty. Frequent zipper use may wear down the product faster.

Overall, despite the price, there are enough solid features to make SleepyPod a worthwhile consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cat carrier for car travel?

A safe cat carrier approved under rigorous crash testing conditions is best.

The Sleepypod with PPR Handilock passed safety testing under urban driving conditions.

Hard-cased cat carriers perform poorly under-car crash simulations. I recommend avoiding the use of most hard-cased cat carriers for frequent car travel.

Check out more about cat carriers for multiple purposes over in this article.

Do cats prefer hard or soft carriers?

It will depend on the cat.

Most will prefer a soft-sided cat carrier due to the increase in comfort. Most soft carriers come with soft mesh windows which aren’t going to nick or scratch a cat causing injury.

For cats that want to press their face against the opening for peeking, they will likely prefer soft mesh windows.

How do you travel long distances with a cat in a car?

Traveling with cats long distance is possibly a stressful experience for a cat.

Due to the higher speeds, I don’t recommend traveling with a cat unless no other viable option is available.

Here are some suggestions for maximum comfort and safety.

  • Don’t overfeed your cat before travel to avoid car sickness
  • Make sure your cat is secure in a safe cat carrier
  • Ensure the carrier is appropriately sized to allow your cat enough space to get up and move (the carrier should be 1.5 times the size of the cat)
  • Give your cat frequent breaks along the way to rest, eat, and use the toilet (consider a cat harness to walk outside)

Take your time with travel and make sure your cat is comfortable at all times.

Best cat carrier for car travel

What should I consider when shopping for a pet carrier?

Make sure you take your time when buying a cat carrier.

Be sure to check the product on google for safety testing procedures. Many cat carrier manufacturers claim their product is crash tested and safe, however have not undergone independent testing.

Consider the other uses of the carrier and your physical capacity. A padded shoulder strap is a useful accessory for ease of transport.

Also, look at the comfort of the cat carrier.


You want to use the carrier around the house as a bed to acclimate your cat (and not just tucked away in storage). This ensures your cat is comfortable with the carrier before travel.

Make sure to measure your cat properly and ensure the sizing dimensions are correct. Also make sure the weight limit of the carrier is sufficient for your cat (e.g. if your cat weighs 12 pounds, the carrier weight limit should be more than 12 pounds).

How large should a cat carrier be?

Cat carriers should be 1.5 times bigger than the average cat’s size.

For example, if your cat is 10 inches tall, then the standing height of the carrier should be about 15 inches.

How to measure your pet to select the right carrier

Stand your pet upright and get out a measuring tape. Do the following measurements.


Measure from chest to the rear


Measure from the ground to the top of your cat


Weigh yourself on a scale with your cat and then by yourself – deduct your weight from the cat + person weight to get your cats weight

Use these measurements when deciding on a purchase, keeping in mind you should allow at least 50% more room on either side (e.g. if your cat is 12 inches in length, then have a carrier that is at least 18 inches long). Make sure your cat weighs under the specified limit for the carrier.

Which is the best cat carrier for long-distance car travel?

Make sure you select a cat carrier that has undergone rigorous crash testing.

Also, ensure you have properly selected the carrier for sizing as mentioned above.

Your cat’s safety is the most important thing. Make sure you take your time to find the product which fits your needs and purposes exactly.

I recommend consulting a vet for more assistance and recommendations.

Why should I get a cat carrier?

A cat carrier is necessary for car travel and emergencies.

In many states and countries, traveling without securing your cat is illegal.

Check your local laws to ensure you know the requirements for pet travel.

Make sure you take the time to investigate the options for you.

Can I use a cardboard carrier for a cat?

Cardboard carriers are only meant for temporary use.

This is usually provided when adopting a cat, as a bare minimum to ferry the pet back home. A cardboard carrier does not protect your cat in a car crash situation.

Make sure you take the time to prepare cat carriers ahead of time to ensure you are ready for owning a cat.

Conclusion: Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel (Final Thoughts)

In this article, I’ve reviewed the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed as the best cat carrier option for car travel.

Here are my final thoughts:

  • A cat carrier is an essential piece of equipment to transport a cat by walking, car, and/or plane
  • Cats need to be comfortable with the cat carrier and have enough room to move. A cat carrier should be 1.5 the size of your cat
  • Most cat carriers don’t have crash test safety features. Hard plastic carriers perform the worst in crash tests
  • The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed has proven crash test safety under urban conditions
  • Sleepypod has other good quality of life features including a shoulder strap, mesh ventilation, and plush bedding for comfort
  • The main downsides of the Sleepypod are the expensive cost and short (one year) warranty
  • When planning on buying a cat carrier think about the main method of transport and the safety features you will need
  • Carefully look into the sizing and weight allowance of the cat carrier
  • Talk with your vet for more help with choosing a cat carrier

Final Verdict: Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel

Overall, the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is the best cat carrier for car travel.

This is because of the proven car crash test safety. The SleepyPod has other quality of life features that make the product stand out as a good choice as a cat carrier.

You can check out the Sleepypod Pet Bed over here.

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