I was looking forward to a visit to the vet with Lilo – a routine visit for most pet owners but not for me. I have an extremely eager and hyper curious cat who just doesn’t stay in one place for more than a minute! It’s been a nightmare sometimes trying to help her stay calm. Luckily, I came across cat carriers quite soon after. After six months of thorough research regarding the type of cat carriers, material used, safety of the animal, I finally bought one which has now made my job easier.
What Size Should I Pick?
Whether you love your cat and you want to keep them safe, or you’re just selfish and want to protect that shiny vase from crumbling to pieces, it is as important if not more to have a cat carrier. Now comes the next part; deciding which size to pick. This part is really tricky because you can either pick a large carrier for your kitten and let it grow into the carrier, or you can pick a small carrier to start with and change later.
An average cat weighs anywhere between 9 to 12 lbs with females at the lower end of the spectrum. The most important rule while picking out a size is that your cat should feel safe in it. It shouldn’t be so small that your cat can’t even move in it.
The size of the cat carrier you choose also depends on a number of other factors. Take travel for instance. I often travel by road so I prefer a larger carrier which allows my cat to stand and stretch. However, if you plan to travel by air, then different airlines have specific instructions as to the size of the carrier. The general rule of thumb is that it should be small enough to fit under your seat.
Now that we’ve given a thought to the size, the next important factor is the weight bearing capacity of the carrier. However, I would suggest you not to lose too much sleep over this since most cats have weights ranging from 9 to 12 lbs. And trust me, most carriers can bear that weight easily. The better thing to do here would be to measure your cat’s height and width so as to ensure that they fit comfortably.
When you start looking for a cat carrier too, you’ll come across a large number of reviews from people who’ve bought it, especially on e-commerce sites. Ensure you don’t neglect them. One review I read really helped me understand that the inner lining of the cat carrier of one of the companies I was looking at had soft edges covered with cloth cushion so my cat doesn’t injure herself trying to move inside. And in the end it proved critical when making the final decision.
What To Consider When Choosing One
Apart from the size and the weight of the cat carrier, it would be really useful if you dig a little more into some of the other factors as well. Things like whether the carrier should be hard sided or soft sided, safety features like locking doors, straps in case of soft sided carriers, ease of maintaining hygiene, additional features like food and water bowls, etc. go a long way in helping you understand your pet as well.
Most people opt for hard sided carriers as they are easier to carry from one place to another. They are pretty easy to clean as well by just wiping the insides of the carrier. Some of the hard sided carriers come with a top door option too for cats who are difficult to get in through the front door. Plus they also offer options where you can place food bowls, water, etc for your pet. Also read: My post on cat harnesses when you go out
Soft sided carriers also have their own benefits such as soft edges to start with so your pet doesn’t hurt itself. You can go for carriers that come with straps just in case you want to carry it around like a bag. The pads are usually removable and machine washable if they get soiled by your pet. One of the most important things to consider is if there’s any guarantee from the manufacturer in case of any defects. As you scroll further, I have put together a comprehensive list of the best cat carriers that I found before I bought one.
Best Cat Carriers: My 7 Top Picks
Sturdibag – Best Cat Carrier For Cat Travel
The Sturdibag extra large flexible height pet carrier is all about the best cabin space and room for your pet. With retractable privacy flaps all across and zipper security clips, this bag has been tested to carry pets weighing up to 50 lbs (22.6 kgs). This is mostly suitable for large cats, and medium and small breeds of dogs.
- It is lightweight and easy to carry
- Can comfortably carry pets as heavy as 40 pounds
- The bag is strong and sturdy
- The bag size is too large by most airlines standards to be fit under the seat
- In some cases, the shoulder straps came off due to the weight of the pet
The Petmate Two Door Top Load Kennel is a smallish carrier that fulfills your basic needs of transporting or carrying your cat from one place to another. The material is made up of heavy duty plastic and steel wire for enhanced safety. The carry handle is ergonomic and durable and the carrier is ideal for pets weighing about 15 lbs
- The build quality is good and steady
- Made for smaller domestic cats and small breeds of dogs
- The handle is very good
- Fits the airline standards of most airlines
- The measurements are correct, however, it is smaller than it appears to be
- No place for a water bowl in case you are travelling long distances
- Fasteners are not included in the package
CAT1st Portable Pop Open Cat Carrier
Sturdy, lightweight, and portable, the Cat1st Portable Pop Open Cat Carrier offers probably the most bang for your buck. This carrier is loaded with features like mesh covering, better ventilation, seat belt straps, and it has enough space for a cat litter box too (take a look at our reviews if you are just looking for a normal litter box)
- The material was much thicker than expected and the carrier could actually fit 2 cats comfortably
- Easy to clean
- The bag is strong and sturdy
- There is no support at the bottom and no handles
- The zippers are easy and clever for the cats to figure out
- Wall material is thin. A cat’s claw could shred it in an instant
Petsfit Expandable Soft Carrier
The Petsfit expandable carrier is a soft sided carrier that provides you with extra space for pets during long rides. Essentially designed to carry pets weighing up to 20 lbs, it is nicely ventilated and the mats are washable too.
- It fits superbly under the airline seat and is very comfortable
- Can comfortably carry pets as heavy as 20 pounds
- The zippers are made of very good quality
- The top of the bag can’t be crushed down sometimes
Catit Cabrio Multi Functional Carrier – Best Feline Carrier For Airplane
If there’s anything in the world other than the word ‘free’ that makes you smile, it’s the word “warranty”. Yes, you heard that right. With a five year warranty in place, the Catit Cabrio Multi-Functional carrier is probably the best one out there. In terms of features, it has a top hatch, durable handles, meets airline regulations, and can support pet weights of about 25 pounds.
- There is a food and water combo bowl
- The carrier is lightweight
- It was observed that contrary to the claims, the carrier does not meet airline regulations
- The plastic rods are flimsy
Pet Gear I-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack
The Pet Gear I-GO2 Plus Traveller Rolling Backpack is just what it states. A backpack that can carry pets and pretty comfortably at that. The bag comes in with features like telescoping handles that you can use to drag the bag, two side storage pouches for your pet’s extras, and can carry pets weighing around 25 lbs
- Removable plush pad for easy cleaning
- Easy for the pet to move comfortably
- Five year warranty in case of any defects
- The bag is wider at the top too making it uncomfortable for people with narrow shoulders to carry it
- Wheels are not covered in warranty
U-pet Innovative Patent Bubble Pet Carrier
This chic carrier bag is sure to grab some eyeballs. The U-pet Innovative patent bubble Pet Carriers are designed to impress. A semi-sphere window design, built-in security leash, mesh panels, and ventilation holes make it an owner’s pride. Available at a slightly premium range, and multiple colours to choose from, they allow the pets to enjoy the outside world while being comfortable inside.
- It is very comfortable for small cats
- Delivery was super fast
- Too small for a large cat to fit in
- Very expensive as compared to other cat carriers in the same range
Picking out the best carrier might not be a simple task after all. But going through all of this while picking one out, there’s one thing I realized in the end. The joy on your pet’s face when he/she likes what you got them. Plus it definitely makes traveling so much easier.