5 Best Cat Carriers For Comfort AND SAFETY
As a Chewy and Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for yourself.
Choosing the best cat carrier for comfort is not easy.
There are so many options these days. It’s hard to know what features to look for.
You need a cat carrier for transporting a cat whilst walking, driving, or flying.
In this article, I’ll help you find the best cat carrier for your specific need to give your pet comfort and safety.
My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care.
My goal with this website is to help cat owners learn more about taking care of their cats
I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions.
In this article, I’ll suggest the best cat carriers for a variety of needs. I’ll also provide buying tips and cover frequently asked questions on cat carriers.
Let’s get into the article.
Product Review: The Best Cat Carriers For Comfort
Best Cat Carrier Overall
X-ZONE PET Cat Carrier Large
Why Do I Recommend This Product?
The X-ZONE PET Cat Carrier is an affordable multi-purpose carrier suitable for car and air travel.
There are two sizes that suit a range of cat sizes, although I recommend the large for more comfort. The cat carrier is compatible with most airliners and has two convenient modes of entry.
The main limitation of this product is nervous cats may break the soft mesh. The carrier may collapse with heavy use, particularly with larger cats.
The weight limit of this product is 9kg for the large, although some cats may push this.
- Color: Black / Grey / Blue / Purple
- Large: 19.5″ (L) x 12″ (W) x 12″ (H)
- Weight Limit: 9kg
- Item Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Material: Polyester exterior; Fleece bedding
- Brand: X-Zone Pet
Best Cat Carrier for Airline Travel
Siivton Expandable Pet Carrier
Why do I Recommend This Product?
I chose the Siivton Expandable Pet Carrier for airline travel due to the large size for comfort and positive customer reviews.
This bag expands in four sides to open up the carrier and has breathable mesh windows. The bag is approved for use with most airliners, although you’ll need to check with each individual airliner.
The main downside is the lack of scratch-proofing on the mesh windows. Nervous cats are prone to damaging the product.
- Color: Grey
- Extra Large: 20″ (L) x 12.4″ (W) x 11.4″ (H)
- Weight Limit: 9kg
- Item Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Material: Polyester
- Brand: Siivton
Best Cat Carrier for Large Cats
PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier
Why do I Recommend This Product?
The PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier is great for larger cats due to the durable weight limit and larger size dimensions for comfort.
This product also allows for car travel with seatbelt straps and has 4 entry points for easy access.
The main downside of this product is the size is not airline compatible. It’s also a higher-priced product but does have a durable rubber mesh window design to last longer.
Finally, some customers report a harder time with shoulder carry. This may be tough to carry for those with injuries or impaired mobility.
- Color: Red/Tan/Navy
- Extra Large: 24″ (L) x 16″ (W) x 16″ (H)
- Weight Limit: 20kg
- Item Weight: 9 pounds
- Material: Polyester exterior and interior; rubber mesh windows
- Brand: PetLuv
Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel Safety
Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed
Why do I Recommend This Product?
The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is crash tested for maximum safety and also doubles as a comfortable high-quality bed.
Traveling by car involves risk to yourself and your cat. Most cat carriers aren’t crash-tested, but the Sleepypod is. It passed the test, keeping cats secure in the event of an accident.
The other main benefit of this product is the quality of the bedding for sleeping. This will help improve comfort for vet visits.
The main downsides of this product are the expensive price tag and the small weight limit that tests larger cats.
- Color: Multiple options
- Dimensions: 17″ (L) x 6.5 “(H)
- Weight Limit: 15 pounds
- Item Weight: 3 pounds
- Material: Plush interior; Nylon exterior
- Brand: SleepyPod
Best Cat Carrier Hard Sided
Midwest Spree Travel Pet Carrier
Why do I Recommend This Product?
The Midwest Spree Travel Pet Carrier is a budget hard-sided carrier that provides a generous size for comfort.
This product is safer than other hard carriers on the market, with no customer reports (that I’ve noted from research) from metal door openings. It’s also easy to assemble and pull apart for cleaning.
The main downside is inherent to all hard carriers, and that’s a lack of crash test safety. I only recommend these carriers for short-distance trips at slow speed.
The weight limit is not specified but should be suitable for most cats.
- Color: Green/Red/Blue
- Dimensions: 20.7″ (L) x 13.22″ (W) 14.09″ (H)
- Weight Limit: Not specified
- Item Weight: 2 pounds
- Material: BPA free plastic
- Brand: MidWest
When selecting cat carriers for recommendations, I use the following criteria.
- Cat carrier should be at least 50% larger that cat for comfort
- I recommend the ‘large’ version of most cat carriers for best results
- A high max weight limit improves the lifespan of a product
- Rubber mesh windows provide scratch resistance
- Look for negative customer reviews for carrier parts (e.g. zipper, windows, structure)
- The cat carrier should have removable machine washable cushion inserts
- Waterproof design is preferred
- The carrier should not have sharp exposed edges
- Safety car harness for car travel support
- No structural problems
- Ventilation with mesh windows
- Crash test safety if possible, is preferred
- Hard plastic carriers are more prone to disintegrating in the event of a crash
- At least two entry points are preferred
- More entry points may be better (e.g. four)
- Not a major consideration but should look pleasing
- Neutral tones preferred
- Is the cat carrier airline approved?
- Does the large size accomodate for air travel?
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Carrier
Not sure what the best cat carrier for transporting your cat is?
Finding the right choice is hard with the wide range of products on the market.
This guide will help you cut through the maze and point you in the right direction.
I’ll tell you what to look out for when buying a cat carrier for safety and comfort. You’ll be able to make an informed decision about what to get for your needs.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Cat Carrier?
A cat carrier must be comfortable and as safe as possible.
It should also be transport friendly depending on whether you are walking, driving, and/or flying.
Let’s check it out.
A cat carrier must be 50% bigger than your cat.
Cats don’t enjoy cramming into tight spaces, contrary to popular belief.
Your cat should be able to stand upright without its whiskers brushing against the sides.
Bottom Line: A cat carrier must be 50% bigger than your cat for comfort.
Aim for a high max weight limit to support your cat long-term.
If the weight limit is below your cat’s weight, the cat carrier will break down over time.
Look for customer reviews to see the results over time with use.
All products look great out of the box, but customer reviews show the results of many uses. Be aware that some reviews may be from people not following the weight limit.
Also, look for shoulder carry and any parts that may break down.
Bottom Line: Aim to look for a weight limit over your cat’s weight for long-term durability.
A dirty cat carrier is a smelly cat carrier.
It goes without saying that cleaning helps cut down on smells.
Check to make sure the cushion insert is machine washable. Removable sides help access the inside for cleaning down with wipes.
Also, look for waterproof cushions for peeing accidents.
Cat urine is concentrated and has an unpleasant smell due to high levels of ammonia. You want to clean this easily and quickly.
Bottom Line: Look for machine washable cushion inserts and removable sides for cleaning.
A cat carrier should be safe for transport and general sleeping.
Avoid products with sharp edges or exposed metal parts.
A cat carrier needs enough airflow for your cat to breathe. A soft cat carrier should contain mesh window exteriors. A wireframe provides ventilation on hard cat carriers.
Cat carriers must be as safe as possible for car travel.
Crash-tested pet carriers need attachment via seatbelt to the car.
If the carrier is not crash tested, then it must go on the floor in the backseat area. This is the most secure area for your cat.
In 2015, the Center for Pet Safety released a report evaluating the performance of a range of pet carriers for crash test safety. Many carriers completely eject the crash test pet dummy from the carrier.
Even more disturbing was the claim of products being crash-tested completely failing. The hard plastic carriers performed worst, disintegrating and providing additional hazards.
Bottom Line: Look for a carrier without exposed parts, breathable windows, and seatbelt attachments for car travel. Crash test safety approval is highly desirable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Buy a Cat Carrier?
You need a cat carrier for transporting your cat by walking, driving, or flying. Cat carriers also double as a cat cave around your house.
Here are the main reasons for getting a cat carrier:
- Vet appointments
Traveling without a cat carrier is dangerous for you and your cat. You don’t want to have your cat jump on you whilst you’re driving, for example.
A cat carrier helps make life easy for vets to access your cat for check-ups.
Bottom Line: You need a cat carrier to safely transport your cat by walking, driving, or flying.
Do Cats Prefer Hard or Soft Cat Carriers?
There’s no evidence that cats have a carrier preference.
Cats prefer any type of carrier that provides comfort and a sense of safety.
Things that improve your cat’s desire to use the carrier include:
- Ease of access
Some poorly built hard carriers are a hazard to nervous cats. This is because they tend to have hard metal windows with protrusions.
Bottom Line: Cat’s prefer a carrier that’s easy to access, spacious, and comfortable.
What is the Best Size for a Cat Carrier?
Vets recommend using a cat carrier 50% larger than your cat.
This makes sure your cat is comfortable and not stressed.
If a cat carrier is too small it creates whisker friction. This lowers the chance your cat will want to go into the cat carrier.
If you have a kitten, buy a carrier suited for an adult-sized cat. Use an extra towel to secure the additional space.
Kittens become adult-sized in the first year of life. It’s better to plan ahead for that.
The storage space of the carrier should allow your cat to stand upright.
Lastly, more size allows room for food and drink bowls. This helps give your cat comfort.
Bottom Line: Look for a cat carrier 50% bigger than your cat to maximize comfort and reduce stress.
How do I Measure my Cat to Select the Right Size Cat Carrier?
Stand your pet upright and get out a measuring tape. Do the following measurements.
- Length: Measure from chest to rear
- Height: Measure from the ground to the top of your cats back
- Weight: 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 and find a cat carrier 50% bigger than your cat.
For example, if your cat is 12 inches long, get a carrier that’s at least 18 inches long.
Make sure your cat’s weight is under the weight limit specified by the cat carrier manufacturer.
Bottom Line: Use a measuring tape to check your cat’s size when choosing a cat carrier.
How do I Keep my Cat Calm when Using a Cat Carrier?
Use the cat carrier as a bed around the house to reduce stress before use.
A cat carrier is a place of comfort for your cat, not a cage.
Leave the cat carrier at all times for your cat to access. Reward your cat with small treats to improve use.
Also, consider that cats like to have a hiding location (e.g. cat cave). This plays into their hunting instincts and wanting to conceal location.
Bottom Line: Use your cat carrier as a bed to help your cat relax.
What is the Best Cat Carrier for Two Cats?
Always use one carrier for one cat only for safety.
Cat carriers have a weight limit pushed past the limit with two cats inside. This increases the risk of the carrier structure failing over time.
Two cats in one carrier compromise car crash safety. The most protection from injury occurs when cats are secure.
Another problem with two cats is the risk of injury with open wounds.
Bottom Line: Do not put two cats in one cat carrier for safety.
Are Cat Carriers Cruel?
When used correctly, no.
The main steps to ensuring comfort with your cat carrier are:
- Finding a cat carrier 50% bigger than your cat to provide space
- Use your carrier around the house to help acclimate the cat
- Using soft bedding for support
- Removing a stressed cat (unless it’s an emergency)
Poor quality cat carriers may have exposed parts that present hazards.
Bottom Line: Cat carriers are not cruel if used with care.
How do I place my Cat in a Cat Carrier?
Make sure your cat is already comfortable with the cat carrier.
Do this in advance by leaving the cat carrier for your pet to sleep and rest in.
Create positive reinforcement by using treats. Leave toys and plenty of blankets to ensure your cat is comfortable.
This video shows another method of using a towel, which might be helpful for emergency situations.
If you are still having trouble, contact your vet for support and advice.
Bottom Line: Make sure your cat is comfortable in advance with the cat carrier.
Conclusion: Best Cat Carrier
You need a cat carrier for transporting a cat that provides comfort and safety.
When looking for a cat carrier, make sure the size is 50% larger than your cat. Also, check the weight limit is over your cat’s weight.
For air travel, check for airline-approved cat carriers. For car travel look for crash test safety (if possible) and seat belt straps.
Also, consider how easy to clean your carrier is. If it’s hard to clean, you may experience unpleasant pee smells that put off you and your cat.
Speak with a vet to get more advice about cat carriers.