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The 15 Best Cat Carriers

Unless they are allowed to roam freely, most cats do not enjoy traveling outside their home.

They may be hesitant to leave home because they perceive themselves to be vulnerable to predators such as dogs and other wild animals.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) want them to be as safe and comfortable as possible when we have to take them somewhere, such as the veterinarian or a kennel.

Choosing the right cat carrier is the first step in providing them with a sense of security and love when they travel away from home.

Consider the types of trips you take with your cat to decide whether the best cat carrier for you is soft or hard-sided, a backpack, or specifically designed for car or air travel.

"The most secure carrier is made of strong plastic and has access doors on the top and sides."

According to Registered Veterinary Technician Jaime Lyn Bast, "a rigid carrier protects your cat from any external impact."

"Jostling and disturbances during transport can cause stress in cats, and hard-sided cat carriers make it easier to maintain consistent, level support."

According to her, the carrier should be large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around comfortably, but small enough for them to feel secure and avoid excessive movement during the ride.

The best cat carriers on the market today are listed below.


Henkelion Carrier for Small to Medium Cats is the best overall



The Henkelion Cat Carrier is voted Best Overall in part because it is popular among cat owners, reasonably priced, and TSA and airline approved.

The breathable mesh on three sides of this soft-sided carrier allows for good visibility and airflow. Its polyester fabric is lightweight but strong, and it is also waterproof.

Two loop handles allow for balanced carrying and can be used as a dual seat belt or luggage strap in the car. It can be carried hands-free by using an adjustable shoulder strap.

This carrier, as well as its cozy fleece removable pet bed, is machine washable. It comes in five solid colors and is suitable for cats weighing up to 15 pounds.

Self-locking zippers and a built-in leash allow you to travel with confidence, knowing your cat will not escape. Load your kitty through the top, side, or end pockets, as well as the bonus side pocket.


Mancro Cat Backpack is the best backpack



We experimented with three different cat backpacks. Although we like the popular plastic bubble backpack carriers right now, they aren’t large enough for larger cats.

Also, the straps fell apart after only a few months, and the plastic bubble gets too hot when exposed to direct sunlight. We also don’t recommend an all-mesh pack because cats got motion sickness from looking through the mesh.

The Mancro Expandable Cat Backpack Carrier is our favorite of the three we tested for a variety of reasons. Even when not expanded, it is suitable for both large and small cats.

When you set it down, the pack retains its shape and sits upright, making it easier to get your cat in and out.

When you open the zippers and expand the back, the interior size of the pack doubles, giving your cat more room to stretch out in the airport or plane, in the car, or in other situations where you’re not wearing the backpack.

The cat enjoyed looking out the clear front and sides. The pack also includes a built-in leash that can be attached to your cat’s collar or harness, allowing you to open the top and allow your cat to ride with an unobstructed view (if your cat will stay in while its open).

This pack has excellent ventilation as well, thanks to holes in the clear sides and a mesh top. It also folds flat when not in use, which is a plus.

This may not be the best fit if you like to wear your pack in front so you can see their cat while strolling.

Because it does not sit well on the body when worn in the front, the pack is clearly intended to be worn on the back.


Sleepypod Air is the best for planes



It’s wonderful to be able to fly with your pet, especially if they’re small enough to travel in the cabin with you. Try the Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier when you do.

The Sleepypod Air’s sides contract and expand in size to accommodate various airline size restrictions in order to deal with highly variable airplane size restrictions.

Even better, it can be made small enough to fit under the seat in front of you during takeoff and landing and then expanded during the flight to provide more leg room for your cat.

It includes a removable and machine-washable ultra plush cushion for a comfortable pet bed away from home. This carrier is made of luggage-grade nylon and has mesh on three sides for air flow.

It is sturdy and well-made, but it is also lightweight, so carrying it won’t tire you out. It comes with a shoulder strap, but in the airport, you can take advantage of a bonus feature: a zippered trolley pocket on the carrier’s side that, when opened, allows you to slide the carrier over the telescoping handle of your roller luggage, allowing you to walk easily to your flight.

The rigorous third-party non-profit Center for Pet Safety has certified it for pets weighing up to 18 pounds. Your cat can enter this carrier from the end or the side, and it folds flat for easy storage when not in use.

There are also safety features for trips to and from the airport by car. Buckles on the front and back secure the carrier using the seat belt in the back seat of your car, transforming Sleepypod Air into a crash-tested car seat.


Petmate Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel is the best pet kennel for cars


You’ll need a carrier for your cat in the car that will both contain them and protect them in the event of an accident.

The Petmate Two Door Top Load Cat & Dog Kennel is a reasonably priced carrier that will keep them safer than a soft-sided carrier in the event of an accident.

The sturdy plastic and steel wire construction will provide you with peace of mind while remaining lightweight. This vehicle has doors on both the top and the front. Loading a cat in from the top is often much easier, especially if the cat isn’t too excited about going in.

This carrier, in addition to being well-ventilated, provides plenty of cover to help your cat feel safe if car rides cause anxiety. The dual-spring loaded latch closes securely and cannot be opened by bumping it open.

The medium kennel, which comes in four fashionable colors, can accommodate dogs weighing up to 20 pounds. It also includes a one-year limited warranty.


Pet Gear 360 Travel System Dog & Cat Stroller is the best splurge



If your cat enjoys exploring the outside world, they can do so in style with the Pet Gear View 360 Dog & Cat Stroller.

This three-in-one system converts from a stroller to a carrier to a car booster seat. The washable fleece interior cushion keeps your cat safe and comfortable.

Mesh windows all around regulate temperature and allow you to keep an eye on your pet. The carrier and frames are lightweight, and they come with a tether that can be clipped onto their harness for extra security while traveling.

Pet owners appreciate the padded handle and how easily the carrier clicks into the stroller frame and booster seat frame without the use of any additional tools when used as a carrier.

The carrier has a push button entry on each side, allowing you to easily access your pet without having to fiddle with zippers.

The top shields your cat from direct sunlight, allowing him to maintain a comfortable body temperature. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also available in four different colors.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Cat Carrier

These days, there are so many various sizes, types, and kinds of cat carriers that it can be difficult to choose which one would be most suitable for you and your cat. Before making a selection, consider the following aspects.


It is crucial to ensure that your cat will be comfortable in their carrier, so selecting one that is the appropriate size will assist. You desire for your cat to be able to stand up completely and spin around without feeling constrained.

Compare the measurements of the carrier to the length and height of your cat. Consider the fact that certain cats of larger breeds will require a larger carrier than usual.


There are two primary types of cat carriers: hard and soft. Plastic hard containers are sturdy and constructed from plastic. Typically, they only come with a single side entrance, making it difficult to place your cat inside.

Choose one with a top entrance if you know your cat may be difficult. Hard carriers are simple to clean, but costly and need a considerable quantity of storage space while not in use.

Typically, soft carriers are constructed from a mix of cloth and mesh. They frequently have a reinforced base and might resemble a backpack or sports bag.

They provide wonderful ventilation and sight, but some cats can tear the mesh sides. The zippers can occasionally be undone by a determined cat. Soft carriers are compact and simple to clean, but they are not as durable as hard carriers.

Location and number of doors

This feature is present on both hard and soft cat carriers and makes it much simpler to place and remove your pet from the carrier. If you are aware that your cat likes to paw at their carrier, consider one with secure openings.


Making ensuring that your cat’s carrier is as comfy as possible can make travel simpler for both of you.

Hard carriers often do not have a bed, but you may add a fleece blanket or cat bed to provide your cat with a comfy place to rest. Frequently, soft carriers contain a washable fleece bed.

Final Decision

After examining the best cat carriers in the market today, we determined that the Petmate Two-Door Small Dog & Cat Kennel was the best option overall. This hard carrier has top and side access doors for convenience. The carrier’s robust construction ensures that it will survive for years.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) like the Sherpa Original Dog & Cat Carrier Bag for its exceptional value. This is ideal for infrequent vet visits, as it folds totally flat for simple storage when not in use. We hope that our evaluations have helped you find the finest cat carrier, and we wish you and your cat many amazing experiences!


How should a cat be placed in a carrier?

“Ideally, you should train your cat to be at ease with their carrier by leaving it out and putting blankets, toys, and treats inside.” “Once your cat develops a positive association with the carrier, you can entice them with treats to enter willingly,”

Jaime suggests. “However, if you have not had the opportunity to train your cat, or if they do not enter their carrier voluntarily, you will have to place them inside.”

According to her, cats frequently resent their carriers as a result of the pain and fear associated with improper loading.

To avoid panic, always handle your cat gently and calmly. “Support your cat’s body when lifting it to avoid causing fear or discomfort. Lower your cat into the carrier gently from above or, if using the side door, guide them in backwards (i.e., rear-end first).

If your cat struggles, wrap it in a towel, slide it inside like a swaddled baby, and then unwrap it.”

How can I keep my cat calm in its carrier?

“Your cat will feel more at ease in their carrier if they recognize it as an extension of their territory,” Jaime says.

“To accomplish this, the carrier must be a predictable part of the home as well as an appealing hangout for your cat.”

Here are some of her training suggestions:

  • Keep the crate close to your cat’s favorite resting spot.
  • If necessary, remove the top and door first.
  • To attract and calm your cat, place a cozy blanket inside the carrier that has been sprayed with a synthetic feline pheromone.
  • Place toys and treats inside the carrier on a regular basis for your cat to discover.
  • Feed your cat close to, then inside, the carrier.
  • Close the door briefly while your cat is inside, then reopen it.

“Increase the time your cat spends in the carrier gradually, as long as they remain calm,” Jaime advises. “Take a step back and proceed more slowly if your cat panics.”

To keep your cat calm during veterinary visits, try the following:

  • To avoid nausea, do not feed your cat in the hours before a car ride.
  • To create a visual barrier, drape a towel misted with feline pheromones over the carrier.
  • Keep the carrier elevated and away from curious dogs by placing it on a chair or counter.

What is the safest way to transport a cat in a car?

“Cats should never be left unattended in a car.” “Jaime explains. “In an accident, unrestrained cats may distract the driver, impede driving, and risk severe injury, escape, or death.”

Keep your cat in a secure carrier on the floor behind the driver’s seat when traveling by car.

According to her, this location provides greater security and stability in the event of a sudden stop, turn, or collision.

“Carriers placed in the backseat may be tossed around or fall off the seat, distressing and possibly injuring the cat.”

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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