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So you want to travel with your cat huh? Traveling with a regular small sized plastic carrier can be enough to take your cat to the vet, a short move or maybe you just like bringing your cat along with you to do some of your errands and the list just goes on and on.
However, what about really long distance travel such as going across the state or even the country and you need more than just a regular carrier? Here are some really good ones that I have come across.
Why Get A Cat Carrier?
You would want to get one of these if you are in the car or especially on a plane as airlines require them. If you need to go to the vet most veterinarians will also require you to have one before you take your cat to get a check up. Even when your trip is all said and done, you can get use out of these carriers even when you are not traveling and are home as well!
If you have guests or a date over and you don’t want your pets around for the time being you can use it to keep them out of trouble. These are also nice to have if you’re in a emergency situation like a hurricane or a flood and you need to get your cat out of there easily.
Make Sure To Get The Right Size Carrier
If you get a cat carrier it should be at least 1.5 times the size of your cat. If they can stand and turn around inside of the carrier its generally a good size to go with.
If on longer car trips I would suggest a bigger carrier as you can fit their litter box inside which makes traveling a lot simpler and easier so you don’t have to take them out to go to the bathroom.
Should I Go With Hard Or Soft Carriers?
It depends on your specific needs as a pet owner. If you want something that is a lot safer and is easier to store I would go with a softer cat carrier. Out of ever cat carrier tested by CPS all of the safest ones were soft carriers. If you want more info on this you can go to my article here “The Three Safest Cat Carriers Around“.
If you want something that is really hard for a cat to break out of since they are really aggressive, can’t stand being in a cat carrier and you don’t want them breaking through the material I would get a hard carrier.
Soft carriers do a good job of this since some of them are tear proof but plastic is much harder to break through.
1: Pet Fit For Life Collapsible/Portable Cat Cage: Best Larger Cat Carrier
To me the best way to travel long distance with a cat is to get a larger sized carrier. The cat carrier that I recommend is the “Pet Fit For Life Collapsible/Portable Cat Cage (Click here for the amazon.com link)“. This thing is perfect for really long travel because it has a lot of space and you can fit a litter box (which the carrier comes with) and even two cats if you happen to have more than one.
This saves you a lot of problems when your pet has to use the litter box because you can just leave it right in the carrier! This carrier also comes with some neat accessories including a litter box, collapsible food/water bowl a floor pad, a cat wand and even pegs to stake your carrier into the ground so the wind doesn’t blow it away.
I also like this product because its made of of nylon which is really good material and has lasted me a long time and no rips since the years I’ve been using this carrier.
The only thing with this carrier that could potentially be a deal breaker is that it that the bottom sags when there is a lot of weight. If that is something you don’t like then I wouldn’t get this carrier.
2: MidWest iCrate Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate – Best Cat Carrier For Difficult Cats
If you think your cat will destroy soft carriers the one I recommend is the “MidWest iCrate Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crates (click here for the chewy.com link)“. Now, it does say its for dogs but you can put your cat in it and fit all of the things it needs like I mentioned before so you don’t have to worry about it messing up the cage because it didn’t make it to the litter box.
The locks on it are also really nice and they are easy to open and close based on my usage of this product. The material is also very durable. The only thing that may be bad for a carrier like this is that your cats paws can go through the bars and they could potentially scratch surfaces in your car.
These also come in many sizes including very small ones so there’s a good chance this will fit your needs one way or another.
3: SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier – Best Triangular Shaped Cat Carrier
If smaller is the choice you want to go with the SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier – Front Door Plastic Collapsible Carrier (Click for Amazon link) would be a nice choice to go with. It has a nice compact, triangular shape so this one might the one for you and your cat. The only downside is that this carrier is not airline approved.
I really like this carrier because of how easy it is to open and close. The handle in the front of the carrier feels really nice in the hand and the material feels nice as well. The handle on the top though I wish has some sort of rubber grip or something among those lines. Otherwise a great carrier to go with if you don’t really care about that too much.
4: AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier – Best Cheap Cat Carrier
Traveling can be expensive especially if you have to spend money on gas or other various of reasons so if you want something that will really give you a bang for your buck I would get the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier (Click for Amazon link). It’s decently large in size and you don’t really have to spend all that much to get one.
The material is also really nice and has lasted me a while when I used this carrier. The zippers are also high quality and haven’t failed me either. It is a softer carrier and may sink a bit if you have a bigger cat but I don’t think its a really big deal in most cases.
5: Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier – Best Airline Cat Carrier
If you need something really good for an airplane trip I recommend The “Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier (click here for the chewy.com link)” which is an airplane approved carrier for cats and dogs alike. it has a really nice design and very well made. Keep in mind all airlines have their own cat carrier sizing rules for travel but this one should allow you to fly on most airlines without any problems.
When I used this carrier it feels really high quality and well made. My cats could not scratch through the material either which is that last thing you want on a plane or car. I did not however like how after time the Delta lettering on the leather gradually wore off but I didn’t have a problem with the zippers like some people did.
6: Lemonda Portable Travel Pet Carrier Backpack – Best Backpack Cat Carrier
Say if you’re on something like a bike and needed to travel with your cat you would probably have a really hard time bringing them with you. Well, there is a certain type of carrier that is built similarly to a backpack so you can ride and bring your pet with you.
Its called the Lemonda Portable Travel Pet Carrier Backpack (Click for Amazon link). These carriers have a interesting space capsule look so this is one you might want to consider if you’re in a tricky situation like this.
The plastic is really durable and very unlikely to break. The zippers work really good as well. I would also not bother getting one of these backpacks if your cat is over 13 pounds because one of my cats did not fit into it unfortunately. My other cat however loves this thing and enjoys seeing everything out of the capsule window. I would also not use this carrier in really hot and humid temperatures as it can be uncomfortable for them and possibly fatal. Overall, highly reccommend this carrier.
7: ibiyaya MULTIFUCTION Pet Carrier – Best Multifunction Cat Carrier
Another one I like is the “ibiyaya MULTIFUCTION Pet Carrier (click for amazon link)“. This thing is really cool because as the title says it does 5 things at once including working as a pet carrier, backpack, car seat, pet stroller and a rolling carrier.
Its like the swiss army knife of cat carriers! As if it weren’t any cooler, it comes in many colors including red, green, blue, brown, pink and orange. If this is your type of thing I would highly recommend getting one of these.
When I initially got this carrier I loved the material and how good it felt in your hands. It feels very high quality. I did however had to air it out after a while since it smelled weird when I unpacked it. I really like how easy it is to fold and it isn’t too complicated to do everything when switching to each feature. The stroller works very well and the wheel movement is very smooth. The only thing I don’t like about this carrier is its a little pricy at the time of this writing but it is worth it if you have a need for all of the things that it does.
8: PetLuv Soothing “Happy Cat” Premium Soft Sided Cat Carrier – Best Cat Carrier For Privacy
The “PetLuv Soothing “Happy Cat” Premium Soft Sided Cat Carrier (click here for the amazon link)” is another one of those swiss army knife type of cat carriers. I like this one because of its size, flexibility and its ability to cover the windows. This is really good if your cat is really anxious of car rides which has worked wonder for my cats.
What they can’t see can’t scare them. It works as a carrier and a stroller at the same time. This thing can be really useful if you have enough junk your carrying around as it is and you don’t want to be lifting your cat around. I also like that this carrier doesn’t sag even if you have really heavy cats. The material is also really nice and I didn’t have really issues with it either. My cats also loved the inside plush of this carrier.
9: Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed – Best Luxury and Safest Cat Carrier
If you want to go a little more out of the way and want more of a luxury based cat carrier this would be a really good option. Its made out of luggage-grade nylon, It comes in many different sizes and many colors including Arctic White, Blossom Pink, Dark Chocolate, Jet Black, Sky Blue, Strawberry Red, Violet, Pink, Black and Brown.
Another reason I like this carrier is because Sleepypod has really strict safety standards so their pet carriers are some of the safest you can buy – http://sleepypod.com/safety. Click here for the amazon link.
This carrier is very easy to use and my cats loved being in this thing. You simply unzip the top and your cat can just climb into it. Once they are in you put the top back on and you zip it up. I also like how comfortable it is to carry around since it has comfortable straps and handles.
10: Sherpa Portable Pet Shelter
I like this one a lot because its really large to fit multiple cats in the same carrier but at the same time its really compact and can be stored mostly anywhere. It only comes in black and it comes in large.
The benefit for having a carrier like this is that your cats have a lot of room to move around which is perfect on long car trips. Its also really easy to get them to get inside the carrier since the entries are at the sides. The only thing I don’t like about this carrier is the price which is a little on the high end but I like this carrier a lot for what it does and keeps my cats entertained as I’m driving to places. Click here to check the current price on amazon.
11: One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel
This one is similar to the previous choice but in a slightly different style and it has dual compartments in the front so you can fit two cats at once. If you don’t like the dual style and need to use only one or both separately you can detach them which is a nice feature to have in a cat carrier.
You can also buy the hammock attachment here that your cat can relax on so your cat doesn’t have to be sitting in the same place the whole time while on your long trip. This carrier was great when I used it but the plush in the inside I though could have been better but it not really a deal breaker. The bottom can also sag if your cat is on the larger side. It also quite bulky but thats the trade off if you want your cat to have a lot of room on trips.
If you don’t like the cylinder shape of the Petego carrier and want something more traditional this would be the better choice for you. It comes in black and royal blue. Click here to check the current price on amazon.
12: Petego Jet Set Pet Carrier with Forma Frame
If you don’t like the Sleepypod but want the safety benefits this carrier is a good alternative. Like the Sleepypod its one of the few cat carriers that is CPS approved. Its also airline approved so you can take it on planes as well. I particularly like the zippers on this carrier. They feel really good on your fingers and they feel very durable and less likely to break.
The handle on the top also feels very satisfying to hold. The material of the carrier also feels really high quality when I used it. Some of the colors are also extremely ugly but some of them are very pleasant to look at. It comes in Beige, Black, Green/Brown, Orange/Brown and Silver/Brown. Click here to check the current price on amazon.
Tips When Your Cat Is Inside And Outside The Carrier
Even if you decide to get an actual cat carrier I would also suggests getting a cat harness for a couple of reasons. First, your cat needs some time to stretch out a bit. You can get a big carrier which helps a lot and makes it easier on them but they would probably appreciate it if you let it out for a bit if you’re at a hotel or some other place of interest you need to stop.
Second, you would do yourself a favor by keeping them on a harness even if they’re in the carrier because what if you open the door and your furry friend decides to run off? They could escape the car and you will never see them again!
There are many cases of this happening to people and I don’t think you would want to be one of them. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a cat carrier and it isn’t something that you would prefer to buy you could get a harness with a pet seat belt and just let the cat sit in the car that way.
Some Closing Tips When Traveling With Your Cat For a Long Trip:
Cats get really anxious on car trips (especially long ones) so here are some tips when you are driving with them.
• Get a Sedative:
You’re cat might have a problem with not being able to relax because the ride is scary for them so what you could do is get a type of sedative to help them calm down while on the road or plane.
There are many ways you could do this such as soft chews, pheromone sprays, or Benadryl. Always check with you’re vet before giving your cat any type of medication! If you want more information about cat sedatives here is my article about that here “How To Sedate Your Cat For Travel: The Ultimate Guide“.
• Get a Calming Spray:
If you want something to take the edge off your cats uneasiness and you don’t want to use drugs you could go with a pheromone spray. Its a special spray that uses cat pheromones to induce a feeling of ease and security. You can go here to see more on that “Best Cat Calming Sprays For Home And Travel“.
• Cats Can Also Get Motion Sickness
You might want to ask your veterinarian about medication if your cat has this problem. Humans aren’t the only ones that can get car sick!
• Make the Ride Smooth
Cats have really sensitive hearing so as a result a lot of things can really scare them. Don’t do things like driving fast, making sharp abrupt turns, hitting the breaks really hard, playing really loud music or even yelling.
Driving like this can make the ride for your cat very stressful especially if they are really skittish and it’s really easy for them to get nervous so try to make the ride as comfortable as possible for them.
• Let Your Cat Get Used to the Carrier
You don’t want to go on a huge trip when you’re cat has never been on one because it could really freak them out and they associate driving with going to the vet if you have taken them there before.
What I would suggest is taking them on several small trips so they get used to being in the car. This will make the trip much easier for them.
• Anxiety/Thundershirts Are Your Friend
If you want to help your cat relax even more you could get them an anxiety jacket. These are jackets that cause light pressure to your cat and creates a calming effect for them. If you want to read more about them you can go to my article about that here “Best Anxiety Jackets For Cats: Some Of My Favorites“.
• A Portable Litter Box
You’re going to be on the road for a while so getting a portable litter box is really useful in this situation. The reason for this is because they can be washed, reused, and folded so you can store them when you don’t need them anymore. If you want more info on these types of litter boxes you can go to my article about that here “Best Portable Cat Litter Boxes For Travel“.
Overall if you have multiple cats or even a single cat I would go with the Pet Fit For Life carrier just because its cheap and you can fit a lot into it saving you a lot of time.
If you need something that’s airline approved my personal favorite is the Sherpa just because their products are very well made but all of these cat carriers you can’t go wrong with.
Cat carriers have their pros an cons. Some are good for some things and bad for others. Not all cat carriers are airline approved for instance so if you are flying on a plane I would check this before you buy one.
If you want a list of ones that are airline approved I wrote an article about that here “Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers In Cabin“.