A cat carrier is an indispensable accessory when caring for your cat. Going to the vet, moving houses, evacuating before a hurricane, at some point, you will need to purchase a cat carrier to safely transport your cat from place A to place B.
There is a lot to be considered to choose the best cat carrier for your cat. Are you going to travel by plane, car, or are you going to carry her on foot? Do you have a nervous and anxious cat or is she calm and doesn’t mind anything? Do you have a small-sized cat, a kitten or a large cat?
Taking into account all those factors we have chosen the most popular cat carriers on the market and reviewed them to help you pick the best cat carrier for your feline.
The Top 5 Best Cat Carriers in 2020
|Brand||Product Image||Top Benefit||Type||Price|
|Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel||The Most Secure Cat Carrier||Hard-sided|
|Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier||The Best Soft-Sided Cat Carrier||Soft-sided|
|AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier||The Best Value for Money Cat Carrier||Soft-sided|
|PetLuv Cat Crate & Carrier||The Best Cat Carrier for Large Cats||Soft-sided|
|Mr. Peanut's Soft Sided Pet Carrier||The Best Cat Carrier for Airline Travel||Soft-sided|
Before we start reviewing the best cat carriers, have a look at the table below. It shows the most important features you should be looking for when choosing the best cat carrier for your cat:
The Best Cat Carrier – Comparison Table
M: 19.4 x 12.8 x 10 in
L: 24 x 16.8 x 14.5 in
M: 17 x 11 x 10.5 in
L: 19 x 11.75 x 11.5 in
M: 16.5 x 10 x 10 in
L: 20 x 10.5 x 11 in
L: 24 x 16 x 16 in
L: 18.5 x 19 x 13 in
L: 23 x 15 x 13 in
L: 23.12 x 18.75 x 17.25 in
The Best Cat Carrier – Reviews
1. Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel – The Best Escape-Proof Cat Carrier
Petmate Two Door Top Load Pet Kennel is a hard-sided cat carrier. It comes in 3 sizes: small (up to 10 Ibs), medium 19 inches (interior dimensions: 16.75″ L x 11″ W x 9.25″ H) and large 24 inches (interior dimensions: 21″ L x 14.5″ W x 13.5″ H). You can choose from four pearlescent color combinations: Pearl Honey Rose/Coffee Grounds, Pearl White/Coffee Grounds, Metallic Pearl Ash Blue/Coffee Grounds and Metallic Pearl Tan/Coffee Grounds.
This carrier features two loading openings. You can either load your cat from the front or from the top. The top opening is especially useful for loading aggressive and uncooperative cats as it makes it much easier to put such a cat from the top. The carrier features an ergonomic handle that allows for the comfortable carrying.
The doors are made of steel which makes them more durable. They close with secure easy-squeeze latches which can be conveniently opened with one hand. Customers who bought this product praised the latches to be sturdy and secure. They said they were not worried that they would pop open or that their cat would be able to open them. They said this cat carrier is very secure and practically escape-proof.
There are vented openings on all sides of the cat carrier which assures good ventilation and allows the cat so see the surroundings. One of the complaints that some of the cat owners raised in regard to this cat carte is that they noticed the plastic ventilation holes on the side walls were a bit too sharp-edged. This could potentially hurt their cats, for example, scratch their nose. One customer said that they managed to remedy it by melting down the sharp edges with the lighter.
The carrier requires assembly, which was reported to be easy and quick. The carrier comes with metal nuts and bolts (the manufacturer gives a few spare elements too). The assembly does not require any additional tools, you can screw the bottom and top together just with hands. You can also easily disassemble the carrier for storage. Customers who bought this product said that it was very sturdy and the screw-together mechanism for the top and bottom keeps the carrier together much better compared to the ‘clip’ together format featured in other carriers.
Customers who bought this carrier praised it to be sturdy, well made and durable. They also said that despite the carrier is not made from a very thin plastic (these kind of crates are normally more destructible), it’s lightweight (about 2-3 pounds). They also said that the carrier is easy to clean.
This cat carrier comes with no bedding, but you can buy one if you would like to make your cat more comfortable. Customers who bought this product recommended the following one: MidWest Deluxe Bolster Pet Bed for Dogs & Cats.
The best size for an adult cat is the large, 24 inches crate. Bear in mins though that this size would probably not be allowed on the airline travel. If you are travelling by car though, this size will be perfect.
2. Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier – The Best Soft-Sided Cat Carrier
Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier is the most popular soft pet carrier on the market. It’s approved for use on most airlines. Thanks to the spring wire frame, patented by Sherpa, the rear end of the carrier can be pushed down several inches to conform to under-seat requirements.
The carrier comes in three sizes, small (fits pets up to 13″ in length x 7.5″ in height and up to 8 pounds), medium (fits pets up to 16″ in length x 10″ in height and up to 16 pounds) and large (fits pets up to 18″ in length x 11″ in height and up to 22 pounds). Make sure to correctly measure your cat before choosing the size of the carrier.
The carrier has two openings with zippers in the front and on the top of the carrier. It helps to load the cat into the carrier in the most comfortable way for you and your cat. Typically, it’s easier to load a nervous or aggressive cat from the top than from the front opening.
The carrier features locking zippers to prevent the cat from opening the zips by pushing her head against the zippers. The product is a soft type of a carrier with mesh panels. It makes it lighter than the plastic alternatives, but it also poses a risk that a nervous/aggressive cat can claw or chew the holes in the mesh.
The handy feature of this cat carrier is a large side zippered pocket where you can keep your travel documents for quick access. The carrier also features padded hand carry straps as well as an adjustable, non-slip and padded shoulder strap.
There is a removable and machine-washable faux lambskin liner in the bottom of the carrier for added comfort of your cat and to prevent slipping around the carrier. Customers who bought this product said that the construction of this carrier is sturdy and the material is stiff. The carrier does not collapse on their cats while in use.
If you have a nervous/aggressive cat this carrier won’t be suitable for long and complicated trips as your cat would most likely make holes in it. But for short journeys to the vet or family this cat carrier is absolutely perfect.
3. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier – Best Value for Money Cat Carrier
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is a great value for the money cat carrier, perfect for shorter trips. The carrier is comfortable to carry over the shoulder. If you need to transport your cat to the vet or if you want to take her to your family within a short distance you should take this cat carrier a consideration.
The carrier comes in three sizes, small (14″L x 9″W x 9″H), medium (16.5″L x 9.4″W x 9.8″H) and large (19.7″L x 10.2″W x 11.2″H). Before you choose a size, make sure you measure correctly your cat to check if the dimensions will be suitable for her. Unfortunately, many customers who bought that cat carrier complained that it was too small for their cats, so make sure you measure your cat correctly.
The carrier comes with a removable base insert which forms a solid surface to stand/lay on and a removable, machine-washable fleece pad for added comfort and not slipping around. The carrier features two handle straps and one adjustable shoulder strap, which as mentioned before, makes it comfortable to carry the bag over the shoulder.
The carrier has two zipper openings for loading your cat – a front opening and a top opening. It gives you more flexibility in how you want to put your cat inside. A great option when you have a nervous/aggressive cat that would scratch the hell out of you than get inside the carrier.
This carrier is lighter than the plastic carriers and can be folded flat for storage. The material is well constructed and sturdy and does not collapse on your cat when in use, like other carriers of a similar type tend to. The carrier features a spring wire frame that can be conformed to the under-seat dimensions of most major domestic airlines. There is a clasp inside the carrier which can be attached to the cat’s collar in order to not let her escape from the carrier to quickly when you open it.
Last but not least, the carrier has a quality construction which features a lot of mesh fabric for better airflow and also helps the cat to see the surroundings. On the other hand, some customers pointed out that mesh could be easily scratched and chewed by their cats which resulted in making holes in the carrier which they could escape through. Therefore, if you have a nervous and aggressive cat, this carrier won’t be the best match for her. However, if you have a less nervous kitty and the journey is not too long or complicated, this carrier would be perfect.
4. PetLuv Cat Crate & Carrier – The Best Cat Carrier for Large Cats
PetLuv Cat Crate & Carrier is a soft-sided cat carrier, made from breathable material. It comes in a few sizes (small, medium-large, large) and a few color options (navy, red, beige and pink). Similarly to other soft-sided carriers, this carrier folds down flat for easy storage.
The medium-large carrier is quite roomy. You won’t have a problem with accommodating even a very large like Maine Coon into this carrier. Like other soft-sided carriers, this carrier features mesh panels. Despite that manufacturer reassures that the mesh is tear-resistant heavy-duty rubber, the mesh panels were ripped off by more nervous cats.
However, if your cat is calm-natured this cat carrier offers a number of great features. It has four access panels as well as top opening for easy loading and reach of your cat. It has adjustable seatbelt loops so that you can attach it securely to the car seat. It has adjustable and padded shoulder straps so that you can carry it comfortably. It features closable flaps so that you can cover the mesh panels and make your cat less disturbed by surroundings. The carrier also features locking zippers which make it harder for your cat to open the zips with its head or paws.
Last but not least, this carrier comes with a removable, washable plush bedding and a cushioned pillow, for your cat’s added comfort. The carrier also features a side pocket, where you can keep some cat or your ravel essentials handy.
Overall, this roomy and comfortable cat carrier is great for large and calm cats.
5. Mr. Peanut’s Soft Sided Pet Carrier – The Best Cat Carrier for Airline Travel
Mr. Peanut’s Soft Sided Pet Carrier is a soft-sided cat carrier which comes in four attractive colors (deja blue, platinum gray, purple and rosa red). It best fits a cat up to 16 inches long and 10 inches high and up to 15 lbs. The carrier’s dimensions comply with most of the airlines. Bear in mind that this cat carrier is a bit on the smaller side and designed for pets to lay down in it. Before buying this item, make sure to measure your cat in a lying down position to check if she will fit the carrier.
This cat carrier is made of breathable mesh material. The advantage of it being proper ventilation. On the disadvantage, the mesh is prone to be ripped off by more nervous cats’ claws. The carrier can be folded down when unzipped for easy storage. At the same time, it has a sturdy structure when zipped and doesn’t collapse on the cat when in transport.
The carrier has many useful features like self-locking zippers so that the cat cannot easily open them on her own. It has padded shoulder straps for comfortable carrying. The carrier features seatbelt attachments for a safe transporting by car. It has a name tag attached to it so that you can write your details in case the carrier gets missing. Last but not least, it also features two pockets where you can keep your essentials handy.
With this carrier, you can load and access your cat in multiple ways – sideways and from the top which makes it easy to load the cat inside. The bottom of the carrier features a plush faux fleece bedding with a sturdy plywood base.
Some customers who bought this carrier reported that it would come with a very strong smell, that would vanish after a few months of usage.
Overall, this product is an attractive cat carrier for calm and small or medium sized cats.
6. Pet Magasin Luxury Soft-Sided Cat Carrier – The Cat Carrier with Nicest Design
Pet Magasin Luxury Soft-Sided Cat Carrier is a soft-sided cat carrier with the dimensions of 18 x 11 x 10 inches. Customers who bought this product said that it was rather smaller than they expected, so make sure you double-check the size of your cat before you buy it. It’s more suitable for small and medium cats rather than for large cats.
This cat carrier is slightly unconventional, as its whole construction zips with one zip along all of the panels. If you have an aggressive cat, putting her into that carrier might be quite a challenging endeavor. The positive side of this one-zip design is that you can fold it completely down for storage.
The good thing about this carrier is that it has a leash inside it. Zipping the carrier up around your cat will be easier if you clip your cat to the leash beforehand. A leash is also a great way to prevent your cat from bolting out from the carrier once you unzip it.
Similarly to other soft carriers, this carrier is also constructed with mesh fabric panels. Unfortunately, some customers who bought this cat carrier experienced their cats to make the holes in the mesh and they were able to escape.
The carrier features a pocket at the back and a carrier shoulder strap, so that you can have your hands free when dealing with other important things at the airport. This cat carrier also has velcro on the bottom which prevents it from sliding around in the car during transport.
Customers who bought this cat carrier also appreciated the fact that although being lightweight, it was very sturdy and didn’t collapse on their cats.
In general, it is an attractive cat carrier that is suitable for kittens and smaller or medium cats. However, it won’t be suitable for nervous or large cats or for long and complicated trips.
7. Paws & Pals Airline Approved Cat Carrier – The Best Cat Carrier for Small Cats
Paws & Pals Airline Approved Cat Carrier is a soft-sided cat carrier with two entryways on each end and a zipper opening near the top to reach in and pet but none directly on the top. Therefore, you won’t be able to load your cat from the top to the carrier. It may be fine if your cat is calm, but if your cat is nervous or aggressive you may have a problem with loading your cat into this carrier.
The carrier comes in two sizes, small (16.5″L x 8″W x 12.25″H; 10-pound weight limit) and large (18.5″L x 19″W x 13″H; 20-pound weight limit). Customers who bought this carrier said that in reality, it’s a bit smaller than they would expect, so make sure you properly measure your cat before buying this product.
The carrier features a removable and machine-washable fleece travel bed with a raised bumper for increased head and neck support for the bottom of the carrier. The carrier has mesh panels which provide good ventilation and allow cat seeing the surroundings. The carrier is easily foldable for storage, yet it holds its shape and doesn’t collapse on the cat when in use.
The carrier features a velcro handle and a padded adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying. It also has a bone-shaped lost and found ID tag. There are three reflective strips around the carrier for safe use in the nighttime.
The carrier features the adjustable straps with plastic security buckles so you can safely secure it to seatbelts, or suitcases. Many customers who bought this cat carrier prised it for the possibility of securing the carrier into the car’s backseat.
In general, customers who bought this cat carrier said it was of good quality, however, there were a few instances when on several uses the mesh would separate from the seam at the side and make a huge hole in the carrier.
Overall, this is a good and attractive cat carrier at a low price for smaller cats and kittens. However, it won’t be suitable for nervous or large cats or long and complicated trips.
8. AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel – The Best Cat Carrier for Car
AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel is a hard-sided cat carrier. It comes in 2 sizes: 19 inches (19 x 12.5 x 10 inches) and 23 inches (23 x 15 x 13 inches). There is only one color to choose which is a light blue bottom and metallic top.
Upon customers reviews, it’s better to opt for the 23 inches crate if you have an adult cat. It’s roomy and your cat will be able to stretch and sleep comfortably. Bear in mind though that it won’t be suitable to go on the plane, but it would be great for travel by car.
The carrier has two openings for loading your cat. One in front and one on the top. Loading a cat from the top is much easier, especially in case you have to deal with a nervous or aggressive cat that doesn’t want to cooperate. Additionally, the top door can be open to the left or right for easy access and convenience.
The carrier features plenty of ventilation and is easy to clean up. It requires assembly, which by most customers was reported by easy and quick. You simply need to attach the top part to the bottom part with four clips which is quite straightforward. This allows the carrier to still be easily disassembled for storage if need be.
Unfortunately, some customers felt that the crate assembled with the side clips only seemed flimsy and not secure. There are additional nuts and bolt added to the purchase in case you would like to make it more secure. Some customers, however, reported that adding more reinforcement with the additional screws could be tricky as in some cases the screw holes were not cut properly or correctly aligned. It also requires a screwdriver.
The manufacturer states that the 23 inches carrier is suitable for pets up to 20 Ibs. However, many customers who bought this cat carrier reported that the top door could easily come open if the carrier was lifted up with a pet weighing much less than 20 Ibs. The problem is that the top door hinges are anchored into relatively flimsy plastic which makes the door to bows away from the crate when carrying a cat. To remedy it, you would need to carry the crate by the sides or bottom, which obviously is not quite convenient. One customer resolved that problem by attaching a strap with metal hooks to the carrier (the carrier has to handles on both sides on the carrier for that purpose).
9. SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier – The Easiest-Loading Cat Carrier
SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier is a hard-sided cat carrier. It comes in 2 sizes: regular (15. 2” L x 18. 5” W x 14. 2” H, holds up to 25 lbs) and XL (23.12” L x 18.75” W x 17.25” H, holds up to 35 lbs). The regular carrier comes in a warm-grey color with a beige flap and n XL one comes in a warm-grey color with a seledin flap. The crate comes with a removable, machine washable and dryer friendly fluffy bed for added comfort.
The carrier has a patented wide-side opening door which is said to be more cat-friendly than traditional, rectangular cat carriers. Customers who bought this product said that it was easier to load and to take out the cat out of this carrier then it is even in the top-open carriers.
The assembly of this cat carrier has been reported as very simple and easy. There are no tools or screws required to put it together. It folds up and locks into place with a few sliding and folding mechanisms. The carrier folds down for easy storage and doesn’t take much space.
The carrier, typical of the hard-sided carriers, is easy to clean. However, you have to bear in mind that if your cat pees to the carrier and there is no mat or bed inserted at that time, the liquid will leak out of the carrier. The bottom of this crate will not be able to contain it as it is not high at all.
Many customers who bought this cat carrier said that they felt it was rather flimsy and that the locks didn’t seem secure. They said they feared it would break down easily. Some customers reported that the latches would break down causing their cats to fall out of the crate.
10. Pet Peppy Premium Pet Carrier – The Best Cat Carrier with Extra Room
Pet Peppy Premium Pet Carrier is a soft-sided cat carrier with airline approved dimensions of 17.9 x 6 x 2 inches. It comes in three colors to choose from: black, grey and red. The carrier is made from lightweight nylon material with mesh panels.
What distinguishes this cat carrier from the other cat carriers is that it has two expandable mesh compartments which can be open up to add extra room for your cat. Unfortunately, customers who bought this product reported that access to the expanding sides is somewhat difficult. You need to access the zippers from inside the bag which can lead to the cat escaping the carrier.
You can load and access your cat from the sides or from the top of the carrier, which is very helpful when your cat is not cooperative. The carrier is easily foldable so that you can stow it away with not taking any of your extra room.
The carrier features removable plush faux fleece bedding which is easy to wash. It features a padded shoulder strap for easy carrying. The carrier also has a leash ring inside to keep your pet secure and to prevent it from bolting out when you open it. Another helpful feature is a zippered pocket where you can store pet treats or some of the travel essentials. Last but not least, the carrier features safety seat belt buckle attachments so that you can safely transport it by car.
Some customers who bought this product reported that the carrier would break down quickly due to low-quality materials. A few customers also complained that the carrier would collapse on their pets due to a weak construction.
A Buyer’s Guide to Cat Carriers
Important considerations about a cat carrier before you buy one:
1. What do you need a cat carrier for?
A cat carrier is generally used for transporting a cat from place A to place B. The nature and length of the journey, however, may vary. The most frequent scenarios are:
- Traveling by air (for example, a cross-country journey to see the family or moving houses)
- Traveling by car (for example, going to a vet or evacuating before the hurricane)
- Traveling on foot (for example, going to the vet or family)
You will need to consider different aspects of a cat carrier depending on what type of journey you intend to take.
When you travel by airline you need to make sure that the carrier:
- Is airline approved
- Is secure enough so that your cat won’t be able to escape (imagine chasing your cat at the airport or on the plane!)
- Is easy to carry (you would like to have your hands free to deal with other issues)
When you travel by car, you need to make sure that the carrier:
- Is secure enough so that your cat won’t be able to escape
- Features seatbelt buckles so that you can attach it to the seats
- Has more room for a cat to fit in comfortably
Transporting by foot
When you transporting your cat by foot, you need to make sure that the carrier:
- Is secure enough so that your cat won’t be able to escape
- Is convenient to carry
2. What is your cat like?
The second factor you need to consider when buying a proper cat carrier is what kind of cat you have. Anxious and nervous cats will need much more secure cat carriers (i.e. hard-sided carriers), then those cats which are calm.
If you have a nervous/anxious cat you need to choose a cat carrier that:
- Is secure, like a hard-sided carrier. Your cat would most probably rip the soft-sided carrier (made with mesh panels) apart within minutes
- Has a top opening for loading. It’s much easier to load an uncooperative cat to the carrier from the top.
3. Do you have a small cat/kitten or a large cat?
When buying a cat carrier you also need to make sure that you pick an appropriate size for your cat. You don’t want your cat to be cramped and uncomfortable during a long-hour journey. Bear in mind that most of the carriers that are airline approved will tend to be on the small size, as per airline regulations, the carrier needs to fit under the seat.
4. General features to look for in a cat carrier
Below are some general features of a cat carrier you should be taking into consideration before buying one:
- A number of openings (the top opening is especially helpful)
- Handles (for carrying)
- Padded shoulder straps (for carrying)
- A pocket/pockets (for keeping cat’s accessories or travel essentials)
- A clasp/leash inside (for added security and preventing a cat from bolting out once you open the carrier)
- Velcro on the bottom (for preventing sliding – useful for traveling by car)
- Seatbelt attachments (for attaching to the seat in the car)
- Ventilation (for airflow)
- Folding down (for easy storage and space-saving)
5. Soft-sided cat carrier vs. hard-sided cat carrier
There are two types of cat carriers: the soft-sided cat carriers and hard-sided cat carriers. Both of them have their pluses and minuses and you will need to take into consideration all of the factors stated above to make this important decision of which type of carrier to choose.
In general, the hard-sided carriers are more secure and therefore more suitable for nervous and anxious cats. The soft-sided carriers are made with mesh fabric panels which unfortunately cannot resist the clawing. A cat can easily claw and chew a hole in the mesh and escape.
On the other hand, the hard-sided carriers are not airline approved. In order for a carrier to be approved by the airline, it needs to be pushed under the seat. You can push under a seat a soft-sided carrier, but with a hard-sided carrier, it becomes difficult as it’s not flexible and doesn’t bent.
Below are the main pros and cons of each type of cat carrier:
Hard-sided cat carrier – Pros:
- Easy to clean
Hard-sided cat carrier – Cons:
- Rarely airline-approved
- Difficult to fold down
Soft-sided cat carrier – Pros:
- Airline approved
- Easy to fold down
Soft-sided cat carrier – Cons:
- Easily destructible
- Hard to clean
How to train your cat to not to be scared of a carrier?
Many cats react anxiously and frantically when they face being put into the carrier. They are so scared that they will be fighting back, scratching, biting and screaming so that you don’t lock them inside and carry away of the familiar territory.
A solution to decrease this anxious behavior is to familiarise your cat with the carrier much more in advance your planned trip. Put the carrier in one of your cat’s favorite places and leave it open. Insert comfortable bedding inside and let the cat hide in the carrier and sleep in it. This way a carrier will become their friendly familiar territory.
Once the time comes to bring your cat on the journey, it won’t be relieving that much of the shock as if it wasn’t familiar with the item beforehand.