Best Cat Carrier For Car Travel And Other Adventures

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Traveling around with your furry friend hasn't been simpler. Companies now make carriers roomy enough to fit a couple cats but also sturdy enough so they're safe. You just need to figure out which carrier is right for your pet by looking at a couple of factors.
Best cat carrier for traveling around

I’m sure that everyone has taken their cat to the vet at least once in their lifetime. Without a proper cat carrier it can be challenging to transport your cat safely. Cats are curious creatures and they usually want to walk all over the place if not in a carrier. It can be stressful to keep your eyes on the road as well as keeping an eye on the cat exploring the car. The best cat carrier for car travel keeps your cat safe but also gives them the comfort they need to relax a little.

PetMD states on their website that traveling with your cat is inevitable but if you approach it the right way it can be stress free. There are only a handful of cats that actually enjoy riding in the car. Most cats actually hate it and would prefer to be left at home. Unfortunately, vet visits or moves happen and that is when the carrier comes into play. Here are some of my top choices for cat carriers so it can make your trip to the vet a lot easier.

Best Cat Carrier For Car Travel

How To Choose The Best Cat Carrier

When choosing a carrier for your cat you need to make sure you’re picking something that is going to be big enough so he or she can move around in it. Sometimes I like to imagine myself as the cat. Would I want to be in a carrier that is so tiny I can’t move around or would I prefer a nice roomy carrier with plenty of room to stretch out. It would probably be the second option.

I know for Watson he gets very nervous riding in the car so we had to opt in for a plastic carrier.

Here is a more in depth look on how to make your decision process a little bit easier.

Pick The Right Sized Carrier

Two cats in a carrier

This can be the tricky part when it comes to picking a carrier. If you are traveling far you don’t want the carrier to be too big because then your cat will be rolling around everywhere. You also don’t want it to be too small because then they will get stressed out and never want to travel. Finding this fine line can be a challenge for some new cat owners.

What I like to tell people is to choose a carrier that is 1.5 times bigger than your cat. That way it is not too big and not too small. Your cat should be able to do its normal activities in the carrier like lie down, stand up, and also turn around. The 1.5 times bigger rule is a good method to follow. If you’re traveling long distances with your cat you want to make sure that a food and water bowl can fit inside the cage as well, without restricting any movement from the cat.

Another thing I like to point out to new cat owners is to get a carrier that your furry friend can grow into. There’s nothing worse than buying a small carrier just to find out that you need a bigger one down the line. Carriers aren’t cheap and it could be money wasted.

Select The Best Material

There are pretty much 2 different types of material you can buy for cat carriers. You can go the plastic route or you can go with a nylon mesh carrier. Both have their pros and cons. One material that I would stay away from is cardboard. Do not get a carrier made out of cardboard because it can be ruined easily and doesn’t really protect your cat in an emergency. You should just stick to plastic or nylon.

Nylon carriers are considered soft and are perfect for any cat that can remain calm while being transported. Any nylon carrying case should have a very strong bottom to it. You don’t want to put your cat in it and then when it comes time to lift it up, the cat sags to the middle. All of the carriers on this list have sturdy bases so you won’t need to worry about any sagging.

Anxious and wild cats should be transported in a plastic carrier. These are much more sturdier and able to take a beating. If you’re going on a long trip or need to bring your animal on an airplane, the plastic carrier is the best option. One amazing feature of a plastic carrier is that it can be washed out and cleaned if there is ever an accident that happens. Nylon bags take a little bit more time to clean.

Consider Other Features As Well

Cat looking out the top of the carrier

Along with the material type, there are a couple other things that you should look for in a quality carrier. First and the most important is that the carrier should be well ventilated. A good carrier should have openings or windows on two sides of the carrier. An ideal carrier should have three openings. A well ventilated carrier will keep your cat cool and prevent overheating or worse, suffocation.

All carriers open up from the front or the back. You should also try to get a carrier with an entrance on the top. If your cat is feisty and won’t go in the front entrance, having this opening on the top can allow for an easier entry. This is also good for vet visits because if your cat is really nervous, your vet can do the exam through the opening at the top of the carrier. A lot easier than trying to pull the cat out.

Let Your Cat Get Comfortable With The Carrier

One thing you should do when you get the carrier for the first time is take it out of the box and let your cat explore it. You can place their favorite blanket in the carrier or sprinkle a couple of treats in their so your cat thinks it is a good thing instead of a bad thing. You should leave the carrier out as long as possible so your furry friend can take all the time they need to do their exploring. This will make them feel safe and stress free when it comes time to take a trip.

Top 5 Best Car Carriers For Car Travel

PetLuv Happy Cat Travel Case

PetLuv Happy Cat Travel Case

The happy pet carrier by PetLuv is the perfect combination of comfort and sturdiness when it comes to carriers. This premium product definitely earned a top spot on this list for many different reasons. This carrier is perfect for any cat that weighs 15 pounds or less. Anything more than that will require a larger carrier.

The carrier is made of a soft nylon and also features a soft rest pillow on the bottom. Your cat will feel like they are sitting on a soft cloud. The nylon casing puts your cat’s nerves at ease and allows you to transport them easily.

Four access panels line the carrier so there is plenty of ventilation for your furry friend. They will be able to get a full 360 degree look while being transported. There is also a seatbelt look on the top of the carrier so while your traveling in the car the carrier won’t slide all around. It makes your cats trip a lot safer. The carrier’s strap is long enough to hold and it is also padded for extra protection on your hands. The happy cat travel case is my #1 choice when it comes to cat carriers.

Pros

  • Nylon carrying case also features a comfy pillow for your cat to sit on while being transported.
  • Convenient carrying strap is long enough to hold and feels great in your hands. Now it won’t be a struggle to lift your cat in and out of the car.
  • Four access panels on the outside of the carrier give your cat a full view of the outside. No matter where they look they will always see the outside.

Cons

  • The carrier can be a little bit bigger than it looks in the picture. If you are going to someplace small you should consider a smaller carrier.
  • It can be a little bit challenging to roll up the viewing windows. If you take your time it will become a lot easier to roll up.

Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel

Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel

This carrier actually comes in two different sizes, 19 inches and 23 inches. Depending on how big your cat is will determine the right size to purchase. The carrier is made with a plastic material and can keep your cat safe on bumpier adventures. The plastic is strong and durable enough to take a couple bumps. Entrances for the carrier are located on both the top and side. This will give you enough chances to get your cat into the carrier successfully.

The front gate is made from durable steel and can be opened to the left or right depending on where your cat is. If you are short on space in your house, the carrier can detach in the middle and split into two smaller pieces for easy storage. There are plenty of ventilation holes on the carrier so your cat won’t overheat.

Pros

  • The carrier has a smart two door design that can be opened from the left side or right. This will give you plenty of options to load your cat into the carrier successfully.
  • Durable plastic with a steel wired front door gives your cat the most protection possible. Anything that hits the carrier will be stopped by the plastic.
  • Carrier can be broken down into two smaller pieces for easier storage. Simply unhook the clips on the side and remove the top cover.

Cons

  • Although there are a lot of ventilation options on the carrier. There is really only one viewing window. All three sides have very small holes that allow air to flow in and out of the carrier. These aren’t large enough to see out into the world.
  • You do need to assemble the case when you first receive it. Make sure you have a screwdriver handy because there are a couple screws that need to be tightened.

X-Zone Airline Approved Pet Carrier

X-Zone Airline Approved Pet Carrier

This mesh bag by X-Zone is very similar to the PetLuv carrying case. I liked this case a lot because it looks more like a gym bag than a cat carrying case. If you don’t care for the cute and fluffy cases then this is the next best choice. I feel like this case is very discreet and not in your face like some other carriers I have seen online. The best thing about this case is that males can feel comfortable enough carrying this around.

The carrier does come in a medium or large option and has 5 different color combinations to choose from. This carrier can hold up to 15 pound cats. Anything more will being to sag the case and then you start to encounter some issues with structure. The carrier does come with two entrances and they are easy to access. Unzip the easier entrance and slide your cat in without any problems. There are two ventilation windows that give your cat a view of the car or vets office. There is also a convenient pocket on the back of the carrier so you can store smaller items like treats or toys.

Pros

  • Nylon case is very sturdy and doesn’t have any obnoxious designs that let other people know you are transporting a cat.
  • Bottom of the carrier is lined with a furry bedding so it makes your cat feel safe and secure. They may even take a quick nap while you drive them around.
  • Carrier does have two entrance points and there is also a convenient pocket on the back to store small items.

Cons

  • The zippers did have a tendency to get stuck from time to time. Try not to unzip very quickly because you could rip the zipper.
  • I wish that the carrier had more viewing windows in it. The two windows are good but more windows would be much better.

Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier

I would like to start by saying that this case is very cool but it does take up a lot of room if you expand all of the pockets. This is another soft case made from superior materials. The materials are eco-friendly and very high quality. It comes with a removable blush bedding that can be washed when it gets dirty. This way your cat will always have the best cat carrier when it comes to traveling time. There is a padded shoulder strap so carrying it is painless and lightweight. This carrier is also airline approved so you can safely travel with your pet.

The one major feature with this carrier is the fact that the walls can be expanded 10 inches on both sides. That is a 20 inch difference! Now your cat can stretch out after a long flight with the added room. Just make sure you are in a big enough spot when you decide to expand the walls. There are also a lot of pockets on this carrier for added storage.

One more added feature is that you get a collapsible bowl when you get the carrier. This comes in very handy when you are traveling and don’t have a lot of room. The bowl can be collapsed down and stored in a pocket or bag.

Pros

  • The carrier can expand its walls to allow for more room to let your cat stretch out. You get an additional 20 inches of space.
  • There is a slide strap on the back of the carrier so it can easily be attached to luggage and other bags.
  • Padded shoulder strap gives you added comfort when transporting your furry friend.

Cons

  • When the walls are expanded the carrier can take up a lot of room. Make sure you aren’t in a tight spot.
  • Some of the sewing around the seams were loose. If you see any loose spots try to tighten them up for a stronger hold.

Space Capsule Bubble Backpack

I’m sure you have seen this backpack before on social media and other news outlets. This is actually a backpack that you can put your cat into. There is a little window on the back of the bag that lets your cat look out of. The backpack comes in a bunch of different colors and is recommended for small to medium sized cats. Large cats may have a hard time getting comfortable in this carrier.

The awesome thing about this backpack is that it has two viewing options. It has the bubble option that looks like a fish tank or they have a mesh option for those hotter days. The backpack is comfortable enough to wear and it will definitely turn some heads when you’re walking down the street. It isn’t really a practical carrier for plane rides or car travel but it is fun to walk around town with.

Pros

  • Carrier can be worn like a backpack and has a viewing window so your cat can look outside while you walk around.
  • Viewing window can be switched from an enclosed window to a mesh screen. Both are very cool options.
  • Backpack comes in a bunch of different colors and looks great with any outfit.

Cons

  • Switch from the bubble window to mesh can be a little bit of a challenge. Make sure to read the directions to avoid any issues.
  • The carrier isn’t really supposed to be used on an airplane or car travel. This is the one major drawback.

Conclusion & Final Words

Safely transporting your cat to the vet or a new home can definitely be a challenge. With the right carrying case it can make the actual traveling a little less stressful. There are a ton of different options out there when it comes to picking a carrier. The best cat carrier for car travel needs to have a sturdy structure and plenty of ventilation.

If I had to choose my favorite carrier it would be the PetLuv Happy Cat Travel Case. This carrier has plenty of ventilation and feels great in your hands. There is enough padding to make transportation easy.

Let me know in the comments below what you use to transport your cat from place to place. Have you used any of these carrier on the list?

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