9 Best Cat Travel Carriers – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2020)

Our cats are in a way like our children. As a cat owner myself, I want the best for my cat. Especially when it comes to delicate situations like traveling together. In my opinion, choosing the right travel carrier for your cat is a must if you want to make safe and sound and stress-free trips together. Who would want to deal with a cat who hates its carrier, refuses to get in and throws tantrums after being forced in? However, once you have picked the right cat carry-case, you will see that your travels with your cat will become delightful.

Now, the question is: How do I choose the best cat travel carrier? Since I have gone through all of this myself while trying to purchase one for my cat, Yoda, I have decided to put together the best options together in my ultimate cat care site for all the other cat owners out there! Below, you may find my selection of 10 cat travel carrier reviews, which I believe will be helpful for your search. Enjoy!

PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Pet Carrier & Travel Crate

PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Pet Carrier & Travel Crate

  • Price: $$
  • Customer Rating: 4.7
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Size: 20 x 13 x 13 inches
SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier

SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 4.4
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Size: 10 x 11 x 17.5 inches
Petsfit Expandable Travel Cat Carrier

Petsfit Expandable Travel Cat Carrier

  • Price: $$
  • Customer Rating: 4.6
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Size: 19 x 12 x 12 inches
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 4.4
  • Weight: 2.35 pounds
  • Size: 16.5 x 9.4 x 9.8 inches
Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Carrier

Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Carrier

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 4.6
  • Weight: 3.75 pounds
  • Size: 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches

Best Cat Travel Carrier Reviews (Updated List)

1 PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Pet Carrier & Travel Crate

PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Pet Carrier & Travel CrateHappy Cat Premium Carrier by PetLuv is not one of the cheapest but one of the most popular travel carriers on the market. I can confidently say that it has not gained its popularity by coincidence and is well worth your money. To start with, it is a soft-sided foldable crate which lets you save a lot of space when not in use. It has access panels with zippers on all four sides as well as on the top. This makes it incredibly easy for you to reach your cat and get it in and out effortlessly.

Thanks to the see-through panels on all sides, The PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Carrier has great ventilation and therefore you will never have to worry about your cat not having enough air. Moreover, these panels made of tear-resistant heavy-duty rubber mesh and closable flaps, offer a perfect view to keep your cat curious through all your trips.

The PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Carrier is also excellent for car rides with its adjustable seat belt loops which allow you to secure it in your car. Furthermore, it is almost impossible four your cat to escape from this crate due to locking zippers and reinforced seams. On the other hand, your cat will probably never want to escape this extremely roomy carrier, especially not after you have placed its soft and comfy rest pillow inside. This pillow is removable and washable.

The PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Carrier is available in two sizes like small and medium-large. If your cat weighs up to 15 pounds, I recommend the small size but if you have a bigger cat or two cats the medium-large one can carry up to 45 pounds and will be perfect for you. The producer boasts about its sturdiness and long durability so you may think about it as a one time purchase for carriers.

Last but not least, the PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Carrier has both top carrying handles and adjustable shoulder straps for easy carrying. Your comfort is as important as your cat’s after all and happy owner means a happy cat!

Key features:

  • Small size: 20″ x 13″ x 13″ (6 pounds), Large size: 24″ x 16″ x 16″ (8.8 pounds).
  • Soft-sided and can be flat folded.
  • See-through panels with zippers on all four sides and on the top.
  • Adjustable seat belt loops.
  • Lockable zippers and reinforced seams.
  • Removable and washable plush rest pillow.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and padded top carrying handles.


2 SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier

SLEEKO Luxury Pet CarrierSleeko Luxury Pet Carrier ensures total comfort and maximum safety for your cat during your travels. First of all, it is an airline-approved carrier. This means that you can get on a plane with your cat in this carrier. It will easily fit under the seats of all major airlines. With this  FAA-approved cat travel carrier, you will not have to worry about getting rejected when you get to the airport.

Sleeko Luxury offers ample air inside due to mesh ventilation on its sides as well as the top. You do not need to worry about your cat tearing the mesh since they are tear-resistant. Furthermore, the product as a whole is quite durable. The polyester fabric gives the carrier bags a longer lifespan and a sturdy insert prevents the travel pet carrier from sagging. Plus, this carrier comes with 2 pockets where you can store the accessories of your cat and will not have to make room for them inside your own bag.

Sleeko takes the safety of your cat very seriously. Therefore, their carriers have 2 seat belt buckles for safe car travel and safety buckle zippers. They even feature reflective strips for night visibility and a built-in leash ring. Also, they come with not one but two removable ultra-soft fleece pads, so that you have one extra to use while washing the other.

Finally, SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier features a padded hand strap and clip-on shoulder strap for easy and comfortable portability which is especially important during long trips with some transfers. The carrier when empty is very lightweight and can carry cats up to 15 pounds.

Key features:

  • Size: 17.5” (L) X 10” (W) x 11” (2.2 pounds).
  • Airline approved.
  • 2 pockets for easy storage.
  • 2 seat belt buckles and safety buckle zippers.
  • Built-in leash ring.
  • Padded hand strap and clip-on shoulder strap.
  • It can be flat folded.
  • 2 removable and washable ultra-soft fleece pads.
  • It can carry up to 15 pounds.


3 Petsfit Expandable Travel Cat Carrier

Petsfit Expandable Travel Cat CarrierPetsfit Travel Cat Carrier is perfect for long journeys with the extra space provided when it is expanded. There is a foldable patio on one side which makes this carrier very spacious, giving your cat enough space to almost stretch. When you fold up the patio, this carrier looks like a fashionable duffle bag. Also, you can easily fold it down flat for easy storage.

Other than its roomy design, the Petsfit carrier is airline approved. It features a very comfy removable mat that you can machine wash. Petsfit carrier has quite a big pocket for all the treats, food and toys. It has openings on all sides except for the bottom. Two of them are mesh openings, one on the side and one on the top and all openings have 2 zippers per track.

The fabric of Petsfit Travel Cat Carrier is made of durable mesh and nylon oxford, which will hold up unless being constantly chewed on. All zippers are lockable which means that there is no way that your cat will be able to open them from the inside. Moreover,  there is a secure leash available inside of it as a means of further security.

Petsfit Travel Cat Carrier has hand straps and one padded shoulder strap. Also, it comes with a side strap that you can easily slide onto the handle of a rolling suitcase. Although the carrier itself is very lightweight, this feature makes it even easier to carry at the airport and to your destination afterward.

The product comes in two sizes. I recommend the bigger one as it is more spacious and can carry up to 20 pounds but of course, if your cat is smaller and lighter than 13 pounds, you might want to choose the smaller one.

Key features:

  • Small size: 18” x 11” x 11” (2.7 pounds) & large size: 19” x 12” x 12” (3 pounds).
  • Airline approved.
  • Extra space with an expandable patio.
  • It can be folded down flat.
  • A removable mat which can be machine washed.
  • One big pocket.
  • Openings on all sides and on the top, two of them are mesh openings.
  • Lockable zippers.
  • Secure leash inside.
  • Hand straps, one padded shoulder strap, side strap sliding onto a rolling suitcase handle.
  • Carries up to 20 pounds.


4 AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel CarrierThe very popular AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier comes in three sizes like x-small, medium and large but I believe the medium size is optimum for most cat owners which can carry up to 16 pounds.

This sleek, all-black carrier is perfect for the safe transport of your cat no matter if you are traveling by plane or car. It conforms to the under-seat dimensions of most airlines. Your cat will never have to travel in cargo again. It is highly recommended that you secure this carrier to the backseat only when traveling by car, though.

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier features two openings as front and top openings, which provide effortless entry and stress-free loading. Furthermore, it has mesh panels on all four sides which allow adequate ventilation for your cat and also easy-viewing. By means of these see-through panels, your cat will be able to observe its surroundings as it wishes and also you will be able to quickly check up on your cat. However, some cats get nervous in such transparent enclosures. If this is the case, you may try partially covering the carrier with a towel or a blanket to give your cat some added sense of security.

The AmazonBasics carrier comes with a removable base insert, which creates a solid surface for your cat to stand on. Also, it features a removable fleece bed, offering a cozy sleeping spot for your cat on the road. One can easily remove and machine-wash this fleece bed. Only the carrier itself needs to be spot cleaned. It provides two connecting loop handles that function as a dual seatbelt/luggage strap for secure transport as well as for balanced carrying. Plus, the carrier features an adjustable shoulder strap for hands-free carrying.

One last point is that this product is backed by an AmazonBasics 1-year limited warranty which makes it sound even more reliable.

Key features:

  • Available in three sizes.
  • The medium size (16.5″ x 9.4″ x 9.8″ )can carry up to 16 pounds.
  • Conforms to under-seat dimensions of most airlines.
  • Front and top openings for easy loading.
  • Mesh windows on all four sides.
  • A removable solid base insert.
  • A removable fleece bed that can be machine-washed.
  • Two connecting loop handles and one adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Covered by AmazonBasics 1-year limited warranty.


5 Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Carrier

Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe CarrierSherpa Original Deluxe Carrier promises a journey in comfort and style both for you and your cat. It has a patented spring wire frame which allows you to push down the rear end of the carrier several inches to conform to under-seat requirements of most airlines. Apart from being approved for use on most airlines, this carrier is included in Sherpa’s Guaranteed on Board program. Guaranteed On Board ® is the only program that guarantees that Sherpa carriers are in line with each participating airline’s rules and regulations. In case you are denied boarding due to your Sherpa carrier, Quaker Pet Group will reimburse you for the cost of your flight and pet fee. In my opinion, this is a great service!

It comes in three sizes like small, medium and large. I believe the medium-sized one will suit most of the cat owners which carries up to 16 pounds. If your cat is larger or heavier, you may check the other sizes as well.

Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier has mesh panels on three sides for adequate ventilation. It features locking zippers to prevent accidental escapes. Furthermore, it includes a seat belt security strap that doubles as a luggage strap. It features top and side entries which make it much easier to comfortably get your cat in and out and to reach to it. Plus, there is a large side zippered pocket in which you can stash your important pet travel documents, treats, food, and toys.

A soft and cozy faux lambskin lining comes with the carrier. You can easily remove and machine-wash it when you need to. Also, Sherpa replacement liners are available and sold separately in case you need any extra for back up.

Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier gives as much importance to your comfort as your cat’s. Therefore, it features a non-slip shoulder strap which is both padded and adjustable. Especially if you travel by plane, I strongly recommend this carrier. You will have safe and stress-free trips, without the fear of ever getting rejected for boarding at the airport.

Key features:

  • Available in three sizes.
  • The medium size ( 17” L x 11” W x 10.5” H) can carry up to 16 pounds.
  • Airline approved and is included in Sherpa’s Guaranteed on Board program.
  • Mesh panels on three sides.
  • Locking zippers.
  • A seat belt security strap that doubles as a luggage strap.
  • Top and side entries.
  • A large side zippered pocket.
  • A soft, cozy, removable and machine-washable faux lambskin lining.
  • A no-slip, adjustable and padded shoulder strap.


PETYELLA Luxury Pet Carrier

PETYELLA Luxury Pet Carrier

  • Price: $$
  • Customer Rating: 4.6
  • Weight: 3.79 pounds
  • Size: 18 x 11 x 11 inches
SportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier

SportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 4.5
  • Weight: 4.34 pounds
  • Size: 15.2 x 18.5 x 14.2 inches
AmazonBasics Pet Kennel

AmazonBasics Pet Kennel

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 4.3
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Size: 18.9 x 11.8 x 9.8 inches
Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier

  • Price: $
  • Customer Rating: 3.9
  • Weight: 3.80 pounds
  • Size: 23 x 15.2 x 11.8 inches

6 PETYELLA Luxury Pet Carrier

PETYELLA Luxury Pet CarrierPETYELLA Luxury Pet Carrier is perfect for those who are looking for a compact and lightweight carrier. The best thing about it is that weighing only 3 pounds when empty and you can expand it when you want to give your cat some extra space to stretch a bit. Better yet, it can be folded completely flat when not in use. So you can stash it under your bed or in a drawer, saving a lot of space. It is capable of carrying cats up to 11 pounds.

PETYELLA Luxury Pet Carrier is airline approved and designed to fit under airplane seats. Also, with mesh windows on all three sides and also on the top, your cat will always have ample air inside. For the sake of being escape-proof and the easy loading of your cat, PETYELLA features a securely zippered front and top openings and an interior leash clip. Moreover, it has heavy-duty handles and a padded, no-twist shoulder strap.

PETYELLA Luxury Pet Carrier comes with a soft, removable and washable interior mat. In addition to this mat, it comes with two bonuses; a machine-washable fleece paw-print blanket and a non-toxic, dishwasher-safe silicone collapsible bowl. You can easily store these bonus materials which may be very useful during your trips, in the pocket on the side of your carrier.

The last but not the least, even though PETYELLA ensures that they are using the best quality materials. Featuring reinforced seams, strong zippers, and durable straps, they also give a 1-year money-back guarantee to their customers. This means that if you’re not delighted with the durability and convenience of your carrier, you can return it for a 100% refund of your purchase price without being asked any questions!

Key features:

  • Size: 11″ x 11″ x 18″ (31″ x 11″ x 18″ when expanded).
  • Carrying capacity of 11 pounds.
  • Airline approved.
  • Mesh windows on 3 sides and the top.
  • Securely zippered front and top openings.
  • An interior leash clip.
  • Heavy-duty handles and a padded, no-twist shoulder strap.
  • Soft, removable and washable interior mat.
  • A machine-washable fleece paw-print blanket.
  • A non-toxic, dishwasher-safe silicone collapsible bowl.
  • A side pocket.
  • 1-year money-back guarantee.


7 SportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier

SportPet Designs Travel Cat CarrierSportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier is made of rugged molded plastic, different from the soft carriers we have gone through up to now. One of the biggest disadvantages of hard, plastic carriers is that they take up a lot of space even when they are not in use. However, SportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier eliminates this disadvantage because it can be folded! All you need to do is to release its latches to flip it open, push sliders upward to collapse its sides and fold it together for easy storage.

Other than being foldable, SportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier has many other advantages. First of all, it has one very large opening which is very cat-friendly and will make your cat very welcome to get in. Secondly, it has a sturdy and single motion door lock which you can manage with one hand. Also, it has side vents for continuous air-flow and a very good view for your cat.

SportPet Designs Travel Cat Carrier comes with a warm and extra comfy cat bed that can be removed. This bed is extra stuffed with poly fiber, which makes it very fluffy. Also, on the top of it, there is a reversible ultra-soft synthetic fur that gives its warmth. The bed is machine washable and dryer friendly. Other than the washable bed, it is quite easy to clean the carrier itself thanks to its sturdy plastic.

Finally, this cat carrier can hold pets up to 25 pounds and is very easy to carry thanks to its comfort grip handle. SportPet Designs brags about their product being veterinarian recommended.

Key features:

  • Size 15.2″ x 18.5″ x 14.2″ (4.34 pounds).
  • Made of rugged molded plastic.
  • Foldable.
  • Sturdy and single motion door lock.
  • Side vents.
  • A removable, washable and dryer friendly bed.
  • It can carry up to 25 pounds.
  • Comfort grip handle.
  • Veterinarian recommended.


8 AmazonBasics Pet Kennel

AmazonBasics Pet KennelAmazonBasics Pet Kennel made of durable plastic with a steel-wire front door has been designed to keep your cat safe, secure, and comfortable when traveling. It features two doors, one in the front and one on the top. This means twice as many options compared to most carriers for getting your cat calmly in. Easy entry helps promote a less stressful experience for both you and your pet. For added convenience, you can open the top door to the left or right, whichever you wish.

AmazonBasics Pet Kennel has a removable top part. The top and bottom of the kennel easily snap together via four latches. There are some extra included screws that one can use to further secure the top and bottom together for added reinforcement.

This carrier is quite spacious and is capable of carrying up to 15 pounds. However, some people who have used this carrier have reported that the latch on the top opening sometimes opens due to the weight carried. Please make sure that your cat does not exceed the weight limit.

AmazonBasics Pet Kennel has plenty of ventilation holes on the sides, back and the top which offer ample ventilation and good visibility. Its heavy-duty design offers durability, strength, and security. Plus, it is very easy to handle and carry by means of a handle on the top of it.

Key features:

  • 19″ x 12″ x 10″ (3.1 pounds).
  • Made of durable plastic with a steel-wire front door.
  • One front and one top door.
  • A removable top part.
  • It can carry up to 15 pounds.
  • Plenty of ventilation holes on the sides, back, and the top.


9 Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier

Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet CarrierAspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier is like a heavy-duty plastic shell. It has a removable top part that you can connect with the bottom part via 4 latches. These latches can be conveniently opened with one hand. Plus, the plastic makes it quite easy to wipe and clean.

Your cat can travel comfortably in Aspen Pet Porter with plenty of fresh air and visibility through the ventilation openings. It meets most airline cargo specifications for easy and safe travel. Yet, I advise that you always check with individual airlines. They won’t let more than three pet carriers in one storage compartment.

Aspen Pet Porter will be quite roomy for your cat unless it is a bigger cat than average. It can carry up to 15 pounds.

Key features:

  • 23″ x 15.2″ x 11.8″ (3.5 pounds).
  • Durable, heavy-duty construction.
  • Lightweight and secure.
  • Ample fresh air and visibility.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Meets most airline cargo specifications.
  • Can carry up to 15 pounds.


Types of Carriers

  • Hard-sided Carriers

Best Cat Travel CarrierMost of the hard-sided carriers are made of hard plastic and depending on their quality, they tend to be extremely sturdy. Therefore, most people who travel by car prefer hard-shell carriers over soft-shell carriers since they provide much more protection to its occupant in the event of a crash.

Again for the plastic construction, they are the easiest type of carriers to wipe and clean.

However, the main disadvantage of hard-sided carriers is that they take up a lot of space even when they are not in use because most of them are not foldable.

Also, many people think the hard sides do not offer as much comfort and coziness to their cat as a soft-sided carrier.

  • Soft-sided Carriers

Most of the soft-sided carriers are made of nylon or ballistic nylon. Even though this material is not as sturdy as hardened plastic, it is quite durable and strong depending on the quality. However, almost all soft-sided carriers have mesh windows for airflow and an aggressive cat might be able to tear it unless the mesh material used is extra strong.

Also, soft-sided carriers tend to sag and traveling in a sagging carrier will probably be not very comfortable for your cat. The ones that have light frames and solid base inserts seem to have solved this problem, though.

One of the biggest advantages of soft-sided carriers is that they take up very little space when they are not in use because most of them can be flat folded. Thus, they are a good option for those who have limited storage space.

Soft-sided carriers mostly have shoulder straps that give you another option than the top handles which you might find more comfortable.

Furthermore, your cat might find a soft-sided carrier more cozy since it wraps around it like a blanket rather than the cold and hard edges of a hard-sided carrier.

Soft-sided carriers are more difficult to clean but most of them have removable and washable mats and cushions. However, they may not be a good option for cats who get car-sick very often.

If you are planning to travel by plane with your cat in the cabin, soft-sided carriers have a lot of airline approved options that fit under the seat of most planes and it is very unlikely that you will get rejected at the airport once you pick one of those.

  • Backpack Carriers

Cat Travel Carrier ReviewsBackpack carriers are simply like a normal backpack but with holes for airflow and a window for your cat to look out from.

They are ideal for those who like taking their cat on an adventure like hiking. In contrast to hard and soft-sided carriers, they do not swing around while you carry them, giving your cat more stability and a better view.

Cats like being on top of things so they might enjoy observing the world from up on your shoulders more.

Backpack carriers have the advantage of leaving both your hands free while spreading the weight more evenly instead of only on one shoulder.

If you are planning to drive around, they are not the best option.

How to Choose a Cat Carrier?

Choosing the right cat travel carrier is of immense importance both for your and your cat’s comfort. Therefore, try to choose wisely! Here are some aspects that you need to take into consideration;

1. The Size

The most common mistake people make when choosing a cat carrier is that they tend to think that the bigger the carry case the better. Unfortunately, this is not the case because first of all, cats feel safer in confined spaces. Think about how they like sitting in corners and getting into even very small boxes. Also, in a too big carrier, it is very likely that your cat will tumble around during car rides, ending up getting car-sick. Similarly, it will be difficult for you to balance the carrier while carrying because it will keep moving around inside.

Now, as you can see a too big cat carrier is not a very good idea. However, this is where it gets tricky because you would not want to have your cat cramped up inside as well. It would be very uncomfortable, especially during long trips and would increase the anxiety of your cat. You need the choose the right carrier size for your cat. So, the question is: How do you measure a cat for a carrier?

To put it very roughly, you need to pick a carrier that is approximately 1.5 times bigger than your cat. It should give the cat enough room to stand without crouching, to turn around and to lie down. If you want to be more specific, measure your cat from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail and from the top of its head to the ground when your cat is standing erect. Now you can compare these measurements to the dimensions of the carrier.

If your cat is still a kitten and you do not want to buy a new carrier when it grows out of the first one, you can buy a bigger carrier depending on the estimation of how much more it will grow and meanwhile stuff towels inside the carrier to prevent it from sliding around.

Apart from the length and height of your cat, of course, its weight also matters. Each and every carrier has a maximum carrying capacity. For the safety of your cat and the durability of the carrier, you must take this into consideration. Say that your cat is 15 pounds, I suggest that you buy one with a max carrying capacity of 25 pounds. It is always good to be on the safe side. Also remember that you may want to load something extra like a blanket, food bowl or treats in it.

2. Security

SecurityMost cats get very nervous when they get out of their usual surroundings. Plus, they are very likely to run off when they freak out and it is almost impossible to hold or catch a freaked out cat because they are incredibly agile. So, it does not matter if you will only make short trips to the vet or if you will travel long distances with your cat, the safest way of taking a cat from one place to another is in a carrier where it feels content and most importantly, in a carrier that it cannot escape from.

Of course, the sturdiness of the material matters. You must make sure that your cat will not be able to chew and claw its way out of the carrier. You need to be extra careful especially with soft-sided carriers. Most of them have mesh windows in which an aggressive cat can tear away.

Cats are also very clever animals that may eventually figure out how to unzip their carriers. Therefore, I would always prefer carriers with zipper locks so that once zipped up and locked they cannot be opened from the inside.

If you are planning to drive around with your cat, I would suggest that you prefer a carrier with seat belt loops. It is important to fix the carrier to a single point in the car to avoid it from tumbling around or falling off once you hit the breaks. By means of the seat belt loops, you can easily buckle your cat along with its carrier into the car seat.

Finally, it is important to check if the handles and the shoulder strap of the carrier are strong and firm enough. Some shoulder straps can be removed and put on via some hooks and it might be a good idea to check their solidity. You wouldn’t want the handles or the strap to come off leading your cat to take a fall in which it could get seriously injured…

Please consider putting a collar with an id tag on your cat as well. It may be of great help in the worst-case scenario that your cat manages to escape.

3. Ease of Cleaning

It is important that your pet is in a clean and healthy environment at all times and the cat carrier is no exception. Nobody would want to spend hours cleaning the carrier after each trip. Thus, it is important that you choose an easy to clean one.

As I have stated above, hard-sided carriers are the easiest to wipe and clean. However, make sure that the top of the carrier can be completely taken off because otherwise, it is a bit more difficult to reach all the way inside.

When it comes to the soft-sided ones, things get a little more complicated. What you should take into account is if it has a base insert. Like a mat or a pillow that you can remove and machine-wash. Some soft-sided carriers come with extra linings to use while the other one is being washed. However, if the lining is drier-friendly you wouldn’t have to wait for a long time anyway.

Furthermore, although you can always pet pads, a waterproof bottom will also help to keep clean in case of spills or toilet accidents.

4. Durability and Sturdiness

Durability And SturdinessCat travels carriers are not very cheap purchases and therefore everyone would like them to be one-time purchases. For you to be able to use it for long years, you should choose a cat carrier made of strong and durable materials.

For instance, hard-sided carriers make sure that the plastic is thick and hard enough to withstand a fall or a crash. Also, some hard-sided carriers have plastic front openings instead of metal. I would go with the metal door because even mellow cats can get nervous sometimes; it never hurts to be on the safe side.

The fabric used in soft-sided carriers matters the most. Make sure that it is flexible and tear-resistant. Especially the material used in the mesh openings should be very strong. Reinforced seams always help. In addition, try to figure out if the bottom would give in and sag over time. You might check the solidity of the light frame used to examine this one.

5. Airflow

A cat carrier case is an enclosed space that can easily get stuffed unless enough fresh air can circulate in and out of it. A traveling cat is mostly a nervous cat and you wouldn’t want it to have to fight for air as well. This will cause your cat to panic and become even more nervous and even aggressive. Therefore, remember to check for air holes while purchasing a cat carrier.

For hard-sided carriers, you can check if there are air holes on the sides and top of the carrier in addition to the front opening. For soft-sided carriers, you can check how many mesh openings they have. Some of them have mesh on all sides that you can cover by another rolled up opaque layer depending on your wish. I believe they are the best. Although giving enough air and visibility to your cat keeps it healthy, busy and curious, on some occasions, they do not like that much exposure. If it is the case then you can roll down the extra layer to give it a sense of security.

6. Ease of Getting Your Cat In

Ease Of Getting Your Cat InSome cat carriers have only one way in while the others have more than one opening. I would always go with the one with more openings. Sometimes one way does not work and in that case, having an alternative is always good. Carriers with one front and one top opening are ideal in my opinion.

In addition to having alternative openings for loading, top openings might come in handy at the vet’s office. Once getting used to it some cats feel safer in their enclosed carrier case. So, during visitations, the vet only opens the top of it and examines the cat inside its carrier in order not to further stress it out.

How to Get Your Cat Accustomed to Its Carrier?

To start with, a travel carrier is not a cat’s favorite place and somehow you need to get your cat to like its carrier. But trying to get your get into one does not have to be a nightmare for either of you. For a less painful and less stressful experience try out the following steps:

  • Familiarization at an early age makes a huge difference. Younger cats tend to be more adaptable than senior ones so try to introduce the carrier to your cat as early as possible. If your cat is already grown up, still, better now than never.
  • Leave the carrier around at all times if possible. If you take it out say only before a visit to the vet, every time you take it out your cat will think something bad will happen. In order to prevent your cat from associating its carrier with only bad experiences let it use it as a sleeping spot or a safe and private place in the house. If you do not have enough space to leave it out constantly, try taking it out at least a few days before your trip. This way your cat will have time to get associated with it and overcome its fear of getting trapped inside.
  • Sometimes even if the carrier is around cats do not prefer to get in. In that case, you can try placing it on one of your cat’s favorite sleeping spots such as on its favorite couch or in plenty of sunlight.
  • Cats enjoy familiar places and things. Thus, placing your cat’s favorite blanket or one of your t-shirts in its carrier might entice it to get inside. You can further use some toys, treats and even pheromone sprays to lure it in.
  • Try to practice closing the door from time to time. When your cat gets in willingly, close the door briefly. If it does not fight to get out open the door and give it a treat. Do this occasionally, each time keeping the door closed a bit longer unless your cat gets nervous. If it gets anxious to get out open the door immediately but skip the treat and wait a while before trying again.
  • Do not make your first trip to somewhere your cat hates, like the vet’s office. Take it to somewhere pleasant. Keep your first trips shorter. You can make longer trips after some time and start feathering in vet visits.

How to Place Your Nervous Cat In Its Carrier?

  • Your cat might get so stressed in the carrier that it might urinate or poop. Therefore it is a good idea to place a pet pad inside the carrier beforehand.
  • It is mostly easier to put your cat in from the top opening. If your carrier does not have a top opening, place it on its end so that its front opening will face the ceiling.
  • Hold your cat facing away from you. If it is likely to scratch, use a thick towel to wrap around it and hold it that way.
  • Lower your cat into the carrier hind legs first and head last. If you put the head in first, it is very likely that it will feel trapped with no escape.
  • Close the carrier door and place it evenly in your car or on the floor.


I hope that the information based on thorough research and personal experiences given above helps you to choose the best cat travel carrier for your furry friend. Once you have gone through my cat travel carrier reviews, please remember that a cat carrier is a must for traveling with your cat; any other made at home solution like baskets and cardboard boxes is unsafe.

If you are not planning to travel with your cat by plane and if your vet is at a walking distance, you may consider getting a cat stroller or a cat harness instead of a traditional carrier. Please also check my reviews on them and feel free to ask me any further questions. I wish you all safe and stress-free trips!

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