Best Cat Carrier: Traveling with your Kitty!
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Best Cat Carrier: Traveling with your Kitty!

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There comes a time in every cat owner’s life when they want or have to travel with their cat. Whether it’s to the vet, to a petsitter, with you on vacation,moving or any other travels; a way to carry your cat safely is necessary.

With such a huge variety of carriers and all the different types available today it can be difficult to find the best cat carrier for your cat. So below we’ve researched and provided the information needed for the different types of cat carriers to make your decision easier and well informed.

QUICK COMPARISON

Carrier

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Petmate Two Door Top Load Hard Sided Pet Kennel

A+

$$

Sherpa Original Deluxe Soft Sided Pet Carrier

A

$$

Petmate Soft-Sided Kennel Cab Pet Carrier

A

$$

Bergan Soft Sided Comfort Carrier

B+

$$$

Suncast 23-Inch Hard Sided Pet Carrier Round

A+

$$

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CAT CARRIER

The two main types of carriers available are Soft Sided designs and Solid or “Hard Sided” designs.

In these two main categories you can find many different styles and designs, we’ve listed them below:

  • Soft Sided
  • Hard Sided
  • With Wheels
  • Top Loading
  • Front Loading
  • Collapsible
  • Backpack Carriers
  • and Carriers that are Airline Approved

Believe it or not there are more that we haven’t listed and other types and variations of carriers available to you so, finding the right one for your cat is made very easy with all the choices available. However, what’s not easy is finding the correct one and that’s why we’re here to help!

The only difficult thing about choosing the carrier for you and your cat will be finding the one with the features and benefits that you’re looking for. We’ve made this easy for you by putting together our research of the benefits each one has to offer and why they are perfect to keep your cat safe while you travel.

Size

The first thing to always look for in the cat carrier you buy is its size. Most carriers typically come in large or small sizes. This is important because keeping a cat in a carrier that’s too large or too small for them may increase their stress levels; and we all know keeping your cat stress free and comfortable is our top priority.

Most humans know that traveling in small spaces for long periods of time gets old, fast. However, unlike humans, too large of a space for your cat can be just as irritable for them as small spaces are for us. If the carrier is too large your cat can easily slide around inside while moving and they may feel unprotected.

Cats like to be able to feel the walls protection at their back and know they won’t be ambushed. This is why it’s important to make sure they have enough space to freely move and feel protected by the confines of their space.

A good point to remember is your cat, if they are a kitten or younger cat, will grow! Keeping this in mind can help you prepare for the future when they are larger. A good item to note is your carrier should be 1 and 1/2 times the size of your cat to make them completely comfortable.

A Few Tips For Using Your Cat Carrier

Materials

The Soft Sided Carrier

Soft Sided Cat Carrier
These are some great examples of the soft sided carrier!

In the past the only way to carry a cat was in a solid sided, heavy (usually grated) cage. However, with today’s innovation in materials and experts who have focused on a cat’s needs during travel, the soft sided carrier has become very popular among cats and cat owners.

The soft sided carrier is great because it allows your cat a comfortable space to travel in. The soft materials these carriers are made out of allow your cat some room to breathe and places to rest. While they can be spacious they also give your cat the feeling of being secure and protected within them.

Because these carriers are soft sided they are made with a strong screen like mesh in places that will give your cats the ventilation and uninhibited sight they need to put them at ease while you both travel. Most soft sided carriers come with openings on the top and in the front that allow you to load your cat without a struggle. Solid sided designs do not always have this functionality and you will have to load your cat how the design designates!

Another great feature of the soft sided carrier is the comfortable handles and straps that allow you to easily carry your cat for long periods of time without the need to put them down to rest. You can also store them much more easily because they fold up and fit in place a solid sided carrier may not!

Overall the soft sided design is a great choice for any cat that is on the go and wants to be comfortable while they travel.

The Solid or “Hard Sided” Carrier

Hard Sided Cat Carrier
Just a few examples of solid “hard” sided carriers for your viewing pleasure!

If you own a cat that prefers a solid environment and it makes them feel comfortable then this may be the best choice for them. The solid sided design is exactly what it sounds like and can be the difference between having a great trip and an uneasy one for you and your cat.

Solid or hard sided designs are typically made of hard plastic and they’re very protective of their delicate contents. While this type of design may not be the easiest to store, you certainly won’t have to worry about your cat being harmed while they are inside and they can be stacked for storage.

Solid sided cat carriers typically come with openings in the front for loading and can be tilted upright to allow a top entry. There are also some that have a front and top opening for your convenience. Padding can be inserted to make the space comfortable for your cat and some even come with food or water dishes for the inside. This design also allows them to be used as simple homes while you are on or off the road which will give your cat a familiar environment to feel secure in.

Solid Sided Carriers are made so that the vents in them don’t have any give or movement so if your cat doesn’t like other animals or people looking in on them they can feel protected by lying low and staying away from the openings.

The solid or hard sided design is a great choice and you and your cat can appreciate the protection it will offer.

Airline Approved Cat Carriers

Airline Approved Cat Carriers
Some Examples of Airline Approved Cat Carriers for you to get a good visual. Not Much different than your average soft sided carrier however, not all soft sided carriers are airline approved!

If you happen to be traveling by air most airlines make your pets feel welcome by allowing them to travel with you aboard the airplane. Some airlines even allow cats and smaller pets to travel in the cabin of the plane with you. When this is the case they require your cat to be contained in an airline approved cat carrier so they are safe and protected while you travel.

Always check with the airline you choose to see if they allow pet travel and if they do you will want to make sure the carrier you use for your cat is airline approved. Keeping your cat safe when traveling aboard an aircraft is always a priority so make sure you choose a carrier that is airline approved and one that will put your mind at ease no matter where in the airplane they travel.

A few airlines that have approved travel with your cat are included in the list below.

To Sum Things Up!

To sum it all up choosing the right cat carrier comes down to finding the one that will make your cat most comfortable to reduce their stress during travel. In turn, this will make you more comfortable knowing they are safe and happy. The size of the carrier should typically be 1 and 1/2 times the size of your cat so they have the room they need and the secure feeling they require. You can generally get a good idea of what type of carrier your cat will enjoy by watching the type of environment they like at home and emulating that in the carrier you pick for them.

One last thing to note is that you do not want to buy one carrier intending to use it with two cats. Cats are very different when they travel then when they are at home. They can get upset with another cat in their space even if they are completely fine with it in the open space of your home. Also most carriers are designed with one cat traveling in them in mind. Also if you only have to travel with one cat your carrier will then be too large and your cat will slide around inside and have too much space to feel completely comfortable and protected.

By following what is discussed here you cannot make the wrong decision and your travels will be happy and worry free!

REVIEWS OF THE BEST CAT CARRIERS

Carrier

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Petmate Two Door Top Load Hard Sided Pet Kennel

A+

$$

Sherpa Original Deluxe Soft Sided Pet Carrier

A

$$

Petmate Soft-Sided Kennel Cab Pet Carrier

A

$$

Bergan Soft Sided Comfort Carrier

B+

$$$

Suncast 23-Inch Hard Sided Pet Carrier Round

A+

$$

Petmate 2 Door Top Load Pet Kennel

Best Cat CarrierPetmate has released their version of the hard sided carrier and they haven’t done a bad job.

As you can see from the picture they’ve included two methods of entry and exit. A door on the top lets you place your cat into the kennel quickly and easily. The traditional front door lets you load your cat comfortably, back feet first, into it while its tilted upwards.

Once your kitty is inside they will have a nice size space to move around in and still feel comfortably secure. The inside of this baby measures in at 21 inches long, 14.5 inches wide, and 13.25 inches high.

The grates are made of a sturdy metal that way, your cat is securely inside and protected from the outside world and the outside world is protected from them!

For the rest of the carrier it’s made of strong plastic. This is where this type of cat carrier gets its name, solid or “hard” sided carrier. The Petmate Cat Kennel is also approved by most airlines although they recommend calling to confirm that before you travel.

Sherpa Original Deluxe Cat Carrier

Best Cat CarriersNext up we wanted to give you a great example of a soft sided carrier and the Sherpa Original Deluxe does just that.

This carrier is not only appealing to the eyes but it’s also a very safe and effective way to travel with your cat! While it looks like leather, the Sherpa Original Deluxe is actually made of a strong nylon material.

It also has two entry points, one on the top making it a top loading cat carrier and one on the front of the carrier giving you your choice of loading options.

Inside you’ll find a faux fur liner that is waterproof which will help prevent any accidents that may happen inside from ruining the carrier. There are also fiberglass poles that help the carrier keep its shape and prevent it from being crushed.

While the Sherpa may not be as large as the Petmate kennel above, it does have quite a bit of room on the inside. The Sherpa Original measures 20 inches long, 11.5 inches wide, and 11.75 inches high. It is completely airline approved and is designed to give your cat the comfort they need when they travel by air and on the ground.

Petmate Soft Sided Kennel Cab Pet Carrier

Airline Approved Cat CarriersProudly made in the USA, Petmate brings out their take on the soft sided cat carrier.

Now don’t get us wrong, this carrier is pretty simple, but that’s what makes it so great. It goes to show you that you don’t need a whole bunch of features, bells, and whistles to get the job done right.

The Petmate Kennel Cab is another top and front loading cat carrier so you’re not stuck with only one way to get your cat into their carrier.

It’s made of a strong polyester material and has mesh sides for ventilation and sight range for your kitty. There’s also a faux fur bottom for your kitties comfort. It measures 20 Inches long, 11.5 inches wide, and 12 inches high. Plenty of room for those long travels.

The Kennel Cab comes with a velcro handle for comfortable carrying and a shoulder strap for when your arms get tired. It’s also equipped with feet so it will not get damaged or torn when it’s placed on the ground. There’s a mesh pocket on the back for essential items your cat will need and things that might help keep them comfortable during your travels.

Bergan Comfort Soft Sided Pet Carrier

Best Pet CarrierThis next contender in the soft pet carrier arena is the Bergan Comfort Soft Sided Pet Carrier.

Right off the bat we love the look of this carrier because it’s got a modern elegance that the rectangular carriers just don’t have. Unlike the Petmate Kennel Cab, the Bergan Comfort comes with a ton of great features that should make traveling with your cat a piece of cake.

For starters the carrier is a front loading carrier with a zipper door. There is however, two zippers that partly open, one on the top and one on the opposite side of the door. These are great because they allow you to get into the bag to comfort your cat or give them things during your travels without letting the cat out of the bag! See what we did there?

It comes with two ways to carry the bag also. One comfortable hand to carry it as a tote and a shoulder strap for the longer hauls.

You’ll also find a fleece liner that is nice and cushy for your cats. Also on the inside it’s pretty spacious. The insides measure roughly 19 inches long, 10 inches wide, 13 inches high fully extended. It is airline approved so you can use it on plane trip easily.

There are multiple pockets for storing your cats or your own belongings and it has car safety straps for when you travel in a car.

Suncast 23-Inch Hard Sided Cat Carrier

Bet Pet CarriersLastly we have a modern but retro take on the hard sided carrier. We wanted to review this one so you have an idea of the different versions of carriers are out there.

Suncast definitely gives you diversity with their carrier. It’s made of a strong plastic resin material and its design is just a nice as its effectiveness.

It has metal grates for ventilation and field of view for your cat. It also has a compartment on the top for storing items like treats or food.

There’s a food and water tray that comes with it also to allow your cat to eat and drink on the journey.

This is another front loading only carrier and does not give you the option of loading your pet from the top. Without a top load it does allow you to lower your cat in back paws first which is typically the best and easiest way to load a cat into a carrier.

Inside the carrier it measures 23 Inches long with a rounded back, 15 inches wide, and 12.5 inches high. Overall with its sleek look and comfortable space this is a cat carrier for large cats.

Image Credits: Amazon.com

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