When it comes to buying a cat carrier, there are so many different options. Should I choose a soft, hard, or backpack carrier? Will it work for both airlines and car travel?
This can be challenging, especially, if you’re new to buying a cat carrier.
There’s no one-size-fits-all cat carrier. Cat carriers come in several different styles such as; backpacks, soft, or hardshell. This doesn’t mean it has to be a hard decision, that’s why we’ve compiled a great list that will give you a roadmap when you’re ready to buy a new cat carrier or upgrade to a newer one.
Whether you’re searching for one that is airline friendly or a backpack you can hike with your feline friend in the mountains, you’ll find some of the best and most affordable cat carriers both you and your cat will love.
We’ve compiled some of the top picks for cat lovers.
Have fun browsing!
*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
Top Overall Pick For Cat Carriers
- Two-door, top-load model allows for easy loading of your cat or dog
- Top door can open to the left or right for easy access and convenience
The AmazonBasics Top-Loading Hard Shell Pet Carrier is perfect for pet owners. It has two doors, which makes it easy to put in/take out when you arrive at your destination, without stressing out your cat.
This carrier has very high reviews from both cat and dog owners online. The hardshell makes it perfect for cats that hate being in carriers and tend to chew, scratch or tear up every carrier you buy.
This 19-inch kennel is perfect for taking your cat to the vet, park, or just a quick trip in the car. Easy to open doors for you, but keeps your cat safe and secure inside the carrier.
Here’s a snapshot of all the features you get.
- Top-Loading Design: makes it easy to put your cat inside.
- Two Door Design: More options for your cat to enter and exit while reducing the stress.
- Door Opening: The top door opens both to the left or the right making it convenient for you to access your pet.
- Heavy Duty: Constructed from durable plastic and steel wire front door your cat won’t be able to break loose.
- Ventilation: It has ventilation holes on the top, back, and sides to give your cat plenty of air and sightseeing holes.
- Security: The kennel closes securely with four latches, and the top and bottom are secured tightly with four durable screws that can withstand your cat’s weight.
- Handle: Makes it easy to carry your cat around.
- Will fall apart if your pet weighs too much. Some people said that the door flew open when they put their 14.5 lb cat inside.
Top Budget-Friendly Cat Carrier
- age range description: 16+
- included components: Shoulder Straps
The Pet Magasin Soft-Sided Pet Carrier is perfect for people who are looking for a budget-friendly cat carrier that can be used for both airlines, and car travel.
This comfortable carrier is perfect for either a small dog or cat.
The Pet Magasin company has been creating high quality products for over 6 years. Their main focus is creating great value for the price without sacrificing the safety of both you and your pet.
This cat carrier can be purchased in several vibrant colors, to help match your outfits or show off your unique style.
Here’s a snapshot of all the features you get.
- Airline Approved: Conforms to most of the major airlines under seat dimensions. (make sure you check with your airlines before flying)
- Ventilation: It has plenty of air holes for your cat to breathe properly and get a great view of their surroundings.
- Comfortable: Your cat will love the soft sides and padded floors that will make it nice and cozy for your feline friend.
- Light Weight: The carrier itself weighs about two pounds before adding your cat.
- Straps: It comes with a suitcase-style strap and a removable padded shoulder strap for easy carry.
- Cleaning: Waterproof bag makes it easy to clean after use or if your cat has an accident.
- Durable: Constructed of a rugged material that won’t tear easily.
- Not the best carrier for difficult cats that hate being in cat carriers.
Best Cat Carrier For Large Cats (Maine Coons)
- BEST TRAVEL DOG CARRIER: Carrying your small dog or cat around is easier than ever with this soft sided pet carrier. Our dog travel carrier is lightweight, easy to carry and has all sorts of nifty...
- AIRPLANE FRIENDLY: Designed to meet TSA and most airlines standards, this pet travel carrier can be taken with on most air plane flights! Because it is soft sided, it can be placed comfortably under...
The Katziela Pet Carrier is airline approved and comes with wheels, telescopic walking handle, and is perfect for bigger cats. Both you and your big cat or Maine Coon will love this carrier.
Your cat will be comfortable in the luxurious carrier with plenty of soft interior and a comfy bed to rest on. You’ll love the fact, the wheels make it easy to travel or carry your big cat wherever you go.
This carrier provides steady support so your cat won’t feel anxious while being toted in this portable carrier.
Here’s a snapshot of all the features you get.
- Telescopic Handle: Makes it easy to carry your big cat around with you while in the airport or traveling. (34 inches)
- Support: The carrier has six wheels to provide sufficient support for your heavy cat.
- Cleaning: The removable fleece bottom makes it easy to clean up spills or after use.
- Multiple Uses: You can tote your cat around by pulling it, or using the handle, or shoulder strap that is included.
- Safety: It comes with a leash to clip to your cat’s collar when traveling.
- Airline Approved: This portable carrier complies with most in-cabin seating regulation dimensions. Just remove the tires and it fits under most airline seats. (always contact your airlines before flying)
- Ventilation: It has plenty of mesh pockets and windows to keep your cat comfortable and entertained.
- Storage: Plenty of storage pockets to carry along some snacks, toys, food, or your keys.
- Soft-sided carriers are not the best for cats that don’t like to be in carriers as they may chew, or break the zipper and escape.
Honorable Mentions for Cat Carriers
Let’s be honest – there are several great cat carriers on the market, we’d be lying if we said our top picks were the only ones you should look at.
Be sure to check out some of these other great options when you’re browsing for the best cat carrier for your adventurous.
Hekelion Portable Lightweight Cat Carrier
- AIRLINE APPROVED CARRIER - With airline-approved design, you can take your pet to go to everywhere. This pet carrier provides two connecting loop handles for balanced carrying as a dual seat belt or...
- SAFETY DESIGN - The adjustable shoulder strap help you hands-free carrying and makes it more safe and convenient pet carrier bag for your travel
The Hekelion pet carrier is great for medium sized cats weight up to 15 lbs. This soft-sided portable carrier is perfect for cats that don’t mind being in a carrier.
It is an airline-approved carrier, that will meet most major airline restrictions. That being said, you will want to check with the airlines before you book your flight.
This carrier is constructed of a lightweight and waterproof polyester fabric, which makes it easy to clean up accidents. It has plenty of mesh windows that provide your four-legged friend with plenty of ventilation.
PetsHome Waterproof Cat Carrier
- High Quality: Made of premium PU leather and studded with gold hardware, durable and fashionable. Waterproof material inside keeps your bag dry and easy to clean.
- Breathable and Visible: Three breathable mesh for better air ventilaion. Full zip opening roof (three options) provides pets better visibility to enjoy the views.
The PetsHome leather cat carrier is perfect for small cats that weigh less than 13 pounds. PetsHome has been specializing in pet supplies such as pet clothes, pet carriers, pet leashes and etc since 1998.
This fashionable portable carrier is made of premium PU leather, studded gold hardware, and a waterproof interior lining. Your cat will rest comfortably on the soft padding and mesh windows that will allow them to view what’s going on around them.
If your cat likes their privacy, you can close the front curtains so they can sleep. Open the roof and you can quickly check on your feline friend and give them a snack or a toy.
The waterproof material won’t get ruined if you get caught in the rain.
Sherpa Deluxe Travel Pet Carrier
- Perfect for traveling in style and comfort by plane or car, for an adventure or just a trip to the vet
- Patented spring wire frame allows the rear end of the carrier to be pushed down several inches to conform to under-seat requirements
This Sherpa Deluxe Travel pet carrier is perfect for people who love traveling via the air or car. It easily conforms to the under-seat dimensions of most major airlines.
The mesh panels will provide your kitty with both ventilation and the ability to see their surroundings. Easily load your cat in or out of the bag with either the top or side entry doors.
This carrier is machine washable, which makes it easy to clean up after use. The locking zippers keep your cat secure inside without worrying about them escaping.
Easily transport this bag with the no-slip adjustable shoulder strap. Secure the carrier in the back of your vehicle with the patented seat belt.
Perfect for taking a long trip via plane or a quick car trip to the vet!
How To Decide Which Cat Carrier To Get?
With so many different types of carrier options, you’re probably wondering how can you choose the right one for your cat?
Here are some tips to help you decide:
- Don’t skimp on price too much – Cheap is NOT always the best option. While you don’t have to spend a fortune to take your cat with you, you should find one that has plenty of great reviews and keeps your cat safe.
- Speaking of safety, you want to get a cat carrier that will keep your cat safe and secure inside. If your cat hates being in a carrier, you should opt for a hard-shell carrier so they can’t chew through it and escape.
- Always keep your cat’s comfort in mind. Opt for a carrier that has plush lining and a bed inside, especially, if you’re planning on taking a long trip. If your cat is comfortable, it will make your life so much easier and they will be more likely to sleep inside the carrier instead of crying the entire time.
- Your cat’s personality will play a huge role in the type of carrier you invest in. If your cat has never been in a carrier before, you may want to consider getting a hard-shell carrier as opposed to a soft one.
- Maybe you’ve been looking at a specific brand? If you’ve researched everything about that brand, it’s totally fine to go with what you like. That being said, don’t be afraid to research and go with a different brand if you find something better.
- Your cat’s size will play a huge role in the size of the carrier they need. You want a carrier that has enough room for your cat to stand up and move around a little, especially, if you’re going on a long trip.
Best Cat Carriers
Still not sure what type of carrier your cat needs? These carriers are based on:
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, this article has helped you find the right carrier for your feline friend. It’s common to still have some questions, that’s why I’ve rounded up some of the most common questions that cat owners have when shopping for a new cat carrier.
What Size Carrier Do I Need For Traveling?
As mentioned above, it will depend on the size of your cat. You want just enough room for your cat to sit, stand, and turn around in the carrier. Generally, it should be one and half times the size of your cat. This article will walk you through step by step on choosing the right size of a carrier for your feline friend.
How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Carrier?
You should never leave your cat in the carrier for more than 6 hours at one time. It’s important to let them out of the carrier so they can stretch and take care of their business.
Can A Cat Ride In A Car Without A Carrier?
Every state is different and has laws pertaining to cats riding in vehicles. That being said, your cat is your baby and it’s safer to have them in a carrier in case you have an accident or your car breaks down.
What Should You Put In A Cat Carrier?
It depends on what type of carrier you have purchased and whether or not your cat likes being in the carrier. Here is a list of items you may want to consider putting inside the cat carrier to make your cat more comfy.
Are Soft Sided Cat Carriers Safe?
If your cat is calm, these can be safe for short-distance travel. That being said, soft carriers are not as safe as hard carriers. Check out this post to find out the safety features of soft-sided carriers to consider.
Where To Buy A Cat Carrier?
You can get some great deals by buying the carrier online at Amazon, or Chewy. However, don’t forget to shop your local pet stores like PetCo and PetSmart as they may be cheaper at times. We’ve personally found some great deals at retail stores like Walmart and Target.
Always do your due diligence whenever you’re shopping for any type of pet related products to get the best deals.