The Best Cat Carriers For Your Fluffy Partner

cat in a black carrier

Last Updated on October 13, 2020 by Kristen Chapple

When it comes to traveling, cats do it on their own terms. If they feel like exploring, they’ll go, but you can be sure they’ll be back in time for dinner.

When it comes to traveling with their people, cats would usually rather pass. Homebodies by nature, cats like their routines and their comforts, and change has a tendency to stress them out.

However, if you’re moving or relocating temporarily, he may not have a choice. We’ve put together this guide for cat lovers to help you choose the best cat carrier for your handsome prince so he can roll like royalty (as if he’d settle for anything else).

Cat loving jet-setters overwhelmingly chose the Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved carrier as their favorite cat carrier, and it’s our top pick too. Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, or train, your cat will stay calm, cool, and collected in this carrier.

The Best Cat Carriers Are:

ProductDetails
1. Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 19 x 11.75 x 11.5 in
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Materials: Mesh, Fleece, Polyester
  • Suitable for most small pets
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2. Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel

  • Dimensions: 24.05 x 16.8 x 14.5 in
  • Weight: 6.43 lbs
  • Material: Plastic
  • Intended for cats and smaller breed dogs
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3. Necoichi Portable Stress-Free Cat Cage

  • Dimensions: 31.8 x 20 x 20 in
  • Weight: 2.91 lbs
  • Materials: Nylon, Mesh
  • Intended for small breeds and cats up to 30 pounds
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4. Frisco Basic Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 13 in
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Materials: Mesh, fleece, polyester
  • Intended for small breed animals up to 22 pounds
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5. Sherpa Delta Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 10.5 in
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Intended for small breeds and cats up to 16 pounds
  • Materials: Polyester, Mesh
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6. Pet Gear Signature Dog & Cat Car Seat & Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 19 x 12.5 x 12 in
  • Weight: 13.0 lbs
  • Materials: Mesh
  • Intended for dogs and cats up to 20 lbs
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7. Necoichi Ultra Light Collapsible Cat Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 15.7 x 13 in
  • Weight: 1.0 pounds
  • Materials: Mesh, Polyester
  • Intended for cats up to 17 pounds
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8. Frisco Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 10.5 in
  • Weight: 2.5 lb
  • Materials: Mesh, Fleece, Polyester
  • Intended for small breed dogs and cats up to 16 pounds
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9. EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

  • Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 13 in
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Intended for small breed dogs and cats up to 18 pounds
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1. Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

Designed by a former flight attendant, Sherpa carriers are designed to maximize your pet’s comfort and safety during your adventures together by giving her the coziest seat in the house.

The spring-wire frame is flexible enough to bend so it can fit in tight spaces easily, but strong enough to keep her safe inside. Removable padded interior lined with faux lambskin is removable and safe to throw in the washing machine when you get home.

With airy mesh panels, it’ll stay airy and fresh inside, and snuggly faux lambskin lining will keep him comfortable. This carrier is also cabin safe and secure with locking zippers. It also features a rear storage pouch for her necessities and any treats or catnip he’ll need for the road.

**Note: Always supervise your pet while traveling in a carrier, 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 19 x 11.75 x 11.5 in
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Materials: Mesh, Fleece, Polyester
  • Suitable for most small pets

Pros

  • Guaranteed On-Board program ensures this carrier makes it onto most airlines without a glitch (contact your airline before booking your flight to confirm this carrier conforms to their requirements for travel)
  • Includes shoulder strap, seatbelt strap, and pockets for storage
  • Flexible patented spring-wire frame bends to conform to small spaces
  • Includes machine-washable interior padding and faux-lambskin liner
  • Features locking zippers for safety, and mesh windows for air circulation

Cons

  • Some owners reported the carrier wasn’t sturdy enough to stand up to an anxious cat with claws.
  • Some cats would’ve preferred thicker padding for the ride.
  • Some reported the size was smaller than indicated for their pet

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2. Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel — Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel

This sturdy, hard-sided carrier is great for car travel. It’s top and front wire mesh doors give your furry baby plenty of space to see what’s going on and ventilation holes on the sides and back provide lots of air flow and light.

The top door gives easier access to you for comforting and sneaking snacks during flights or long car rides. When it’s time to get out, the sturdy, foldable handle makes for easy carrying.

For comfort and security, the carrier is roomy enough to pad the bottom with her favorite blankie or bed. It’s designed for easy assembly and disassembly and made with easy to clean, environmentally-friendly, 95% pre-consumer recycled plastic. The

Specs

  • Dimensions: 24.05 x 16.8 x 14.5 in
  • Weight: 6.43 lbs
  • Material: Plastic
  • Intended for cats and smaller breed dogs

Pros

  • Two, wire mesh doors allow your cat safe ingress and egress from either the front or the top of the kennel. The top door gives you easy access to your kitty for pets or treats.
  • Made with easy-to-clean, environmentally friendly 95% pre-consumer recycled plastic
  • Easy assembly, disassembly
  • Large enough to fit your kitty’s favorite bed, blanket or padding

Cons

  • Some owners said the carrier was cheaply made
  • Some cats said the carrier was too small to get comfy
  • Some owners had a difficult time with assembly

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3. Necoichi Portable Stress-Free Cat Cage — Best Cat Carrier for Scared Cats

Everyone knows most cats despise traveling. They despise being caged in a small place without their consent even more.

That’s why the Necoichi Portable Cat Cage tops our list for the carriers for scared cats. This deluxe cat cage/carrier is like a home away from home for even the most anxious kitties.

Away from home visiting friends or family? This kitty cage is like a pack-n-play for your fur baby, providing her with plenty of safe space and a snuggly fleece mat to get comfy.

The large mesh side panels provide her with plenty of fresh air, light, and viewing space, but roll-down shades give her privacy and dim the lights when it’s time for bed.

It’s designed to be perfect for road trips and moving as well because it’s built-in seat belt straps fit your baby securely and safely in the back for the ride.

It’s roomy enough for transporting multiple cats, too! Also, Necoichi makes a portable litter box sold separately for those extended stay trips to really give her a home away from home.

**Note: Cage pops open immediately once the securing band is removed, so be sure to open it away from your face and other pets and people.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 31.8 x 20 x 20 in
  • Weight: 2.91 lbs
  • Materials: Nylon, Mesh
  • Intended for small breeds and cats up to 30 pounds

Pros

  • Large enough for multiple cats
  • Large mesh panels provide lots of ventilation and light but can be covered with the roll-down shades when it’s time to get some shut-eye
  • The deluxe size is great for trips when your sweet scaredy-cat needs her own space to relax.
  • Lightweight design is easy to fold and store.
  • Built-in seat belt straps keep her safe and sound for trips in the car

Cons

  • Some owners reported this cage is too flimsy
  • Some cats said it was too crowded for more than one of them
  • Some owners reported the cage was cheaply made despite the price tag

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4. Frisco Basic Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

Safe, comfortable, and sturdy enough for trips long or short, the Frisco Everyday Pet Carrier will take you there in style.

Mesh panels give access to fresh air and breezes, and a space for easy access to pet your baby, if she gets scared, helps make trips less anxiety-inducing for both of you. It features secure locking zippers can only be unzipped for the outside, and an easily accessible side entry panel to make entering and exiting much easier.

The interior is roomy, but it’s soft, flexible frame can compress to fit into tight spaces. Removable, machine-washable sherpa ensures she travels in comfort. for easy in and out, shoulder straps for added mobility, and a back pocket for all your essentials.

Plus, it even has a handy “petting window” for easy access to your pal. And when you get there, it folds flat for quick storage. This carrier is water-resistant, comes with a lost and found tag just in case, and contains outer pockets for carrying anything your buddy will need on the go.

**Note: Always call your airline when booking to check that your carrier meets their requirements. If traveling by car, make sure she rides in her carrier in the back seat only. Measure your pet to ensure it’s the best size for her, and never leave her unattended or unsupervised while traveling.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 13 in
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Materials: Mesh, fleece, polyester
  • Intended for small breed animals up to 22 pounds

Pros

  • Includes padded shoulder straps for comfort and outer pockets for stashing her stuff
  • Soft, slightly collapsible sides allow the carrier to fit safely and comfortably into smaller spaces
  • Includes removable, machine-washable sherpa lining for comfort
  • Outer, locking zippers keep her safe and small “petting window” allows you to scratch behind her ears to keep her calm
  • Breathable mesh panels deliver fresh air and give her a view of the scenery.

Cons

  • Some owners said the zippers were poorly made and broke easily
  • Some owners said the carrier was smaller than the dimensions indicated
  • Some owners reported the bag was too dark inside and it made their kitties anxious

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5. Sherpa Delta Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

Regardless of where you’re going or how you’re getting there, the Sherpa Delta Airline-Approved Carrier gets your furry friend there safely and comfortably.

Specifically designed to meet most airline requirements through it’s Guaranteed On-Board program, it’s easy and hassle-free to get on the plane and go.

Top and side access for easy entry and exit, mesh panels keep her feeling secure but not trapped, and locking, outside-only access zippers make sure she can’t Houdini her way out of the bag and up to first class.

Features padded carrying strap and non-slip shoulder strap for your comfort when you’ve got to race to meet that connecting flight and the included seat-belt strap ensures she’s bucked up for safety.

**Note: Always call your airline when booking your flight to make sure this carrier meets their requirements. Always supervise your animal when in the carrier.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 10.5 in
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Intended for small breeds and cats up to 16 pounds
  • Materials: Polyester, Mesh

Pros

  • Designed with a patented spring-wire frame for flexibility to fit comfortably in smaller spaces
  • Includes removable, machine-washable padding and faux lambskin liner
  • Breathable mesh windows provide adequate ventilation and visibility
  • Top and side entry allows for easy in and out, locking zippers keep her safe and secure
  • Features outside storage pouch for treats and other travel essentials.

Cons

  • Some owners found that their flight wouldn’t accommodate this carrier as advertised
  • Some cats figured out how to claw a hole in the mesh in an attempt to make a break for it
  • Some owners reported the zippers didn’t hold up to lots of usage

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6. Pet Gear Signature Dog & Cat Car Seat & Carrier Bag

Pet Gear Signature Carrier and Bag one of the best cat carriers for long car trips because it will keep your kitty chill, snuggly, and safe for miles on your next road trip. Back seat seatbelt attachment and interior tether secure both the carrier and your cat firmly in place, preventing injuries for her and distraction for you.

This well-ventilated carrier features mesh windows and a “sunroof” so she can take in the scenery unobstructed. Exterior storage pouches keep her stuff in order and the removable fleece pad cover is machine-washer safe for easy clean up if you have a queasy-tummied baby.

When it’s time to get out of the car, the built-in handles let you unbuckle the bag and carry her to her destination.

**Note: Don’t leave your pet unattended in this carrier, or use near open or exposed flame. This carrier is for pets only.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 19 x 12.5 x 12 in
  • Weight: 13.0 lbs
  • Materials: Mesh
  • Intended for dogs and cats up to 20 lbs

Pros

  • Machine washable fleece pad cover.
  • Front and top zippered mesh windows keep interior ventilated.
  • Includes rear storage pouches.
  • 2-in-1 car seat and pet carrier.
  • Perfect for pets up to 20 pounds.

Cons

  • Some kitty parents said the carrier was too small for their babies
  • Some owners said the lightweight design caused the carrier to move around in the back seat

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7. Necoichi Ultra Light Collapsible Cat Carrier Bag

This super-cute carrier keeps your kitty cozy and safe in style. The Necoichi Ultra Light Cat Carrier is made from sturdy, easy to clean materials so you can use it over and over again, and the collapsible design makes it easy to store.

The kitty-shaped mesh feature on the front keeps the fresh air flowing, and the padded interior keeps her comfortable. The elastic securing band keeps the carrier closed until it’s time to let your tiny hunter out to prowl (or visit the vet). Lightweight design and padded handles make it easy to carry her wherever she needs to go.

**Note: Removing the securing band pops open the carrier automatically, so be sure to open away from your face, other animals, and other people for safety.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 15.7 x 13 in
  • Weight: 1.0 pounds
  • Materials: Mesh, Polyester
  • Intended for cats up to 17 pounds

Pros

  • Foldable, lightweight design makes it easy to store
  • Mesh ventilation windows help circulate air and allow her to see where you’re going
  • Durable fabric stands up to lots of trips out
  • Padded handles make it easier to carry her around

Cons

  • This carrier doesn’t feature a zipper lock
  • Some owners reported the handles and zippers on this carrier broke easily
  • Some owners found this carrier to be too flimsy

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8. Frisco Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

This versatile carrier is convenient for any destination, no matter how you get there. Suitable for car, train, or plane travel, it’s designed for the flexibility you need to store the carrier in tight spaces, and ample ventilation keeps her cool and calm.

It’s locking zippers can only be unzipped from the outside, but when she’s ready to get out, side and top openings make it easy. She’ll need to stay comfy, of course, and it’s roomy interior and soft sherpa lining ensures she does.

The no-slip shoulder and luggage straps make it easy to carry her across a crowded airport, and when you get to your destination, it folds flat for easy storage anywhere.

**Note: Be sure to check with your airline when booking your flight to make sure this carrier conforms to the airline’s requirements for pet travel. Secure in the backseat only when traveling by car, and never leave your kitty unsupervised while in the carrier.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 10.5 in
  • Weight: 2.5 lb
  • Materials: Mesh, Fleece, Polyester
  • Intended for small breed dogs and cats up to 16 pounds

Pros

  • Roomy interior and removable, machine-washable sherpa lining provides comfort
  • Mesh panels allow her to stay cool, breathe easy, and see the sights
  • The side and top entries make getting in and out easy, but once she’s in, outside opening, auto-locking zippers keep her there.
  • Constructed with soft sides and frame for easy folding and storage
  • Includes no-slip shoulder and luggage straps provide easy mobility

Cons

  • Some owners reported this carrier was too small for their animals despite the measurement guidelines
  • Some owners reported the gripping, no-slip feet on the bottom of the carrier came off easily

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE

9. EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

This carrier comes in a variety of bright colors, so it’ll always be easy to keep an eye on your baby while you travel, and you’ll never get your bags mixed up at the airport!

It’s padded shoulder strap, and carrying handles helps you dash to that connecting flight with ease, and it’s outside storage pocket keeps your snacks ready for when you get there.

The soft-sided, lightweight, yet sturdy material is great for squeezing into tight spaces, and the mesh ventilation netting on the front and sides keeps her air circulating while giving her a view of the action.

Features a travel-friendly luggage strap and seat belt loop for safety. The removable, interior padding keeps her comfortable right up until you reach your destination, and the whole thing is water-resistant for easy cleaning.

**Note: Contact your airline prior to booking your flight to make sure this carrier adheres to their requirements. Don’t leave your fuzzy loverboy unattended in the carrier.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 19 x 10 x 13 in
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Intended for small breed dogs and cats up to 18 pounds

Pros

  • Removable, machine washable comfy padding keeps her comfy
  • Made from waterproof, lightweight and durable materials
  • Designed with soft sides to provide flexibility to fit into smaller spaces
  • Mesh netting provides ventilation and a view from the front and sides of the bag
  • Luggage strap and seat belt loop included for the seasoned traveler.

Cons

  • Some owners said they had a difficult time getting airline approval for this carrier
  • Some owners said the mesh was too easily torn
  • Some owners said the bag was too small for their fur baby

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE

The Best Cat Carriers — A Buying Guide

When choosing a cat carrier there are a few things to consider every time, regardless of where you’re going or how you’re traveling:

Size it Right!

Your kitty’s carrier shouldn’t be too large, providing too much room for her to get knocked around inside, or too small, making her nervous and claustrophobic.

That said, it’s often recommended to purchase an adult-sized carrier for your kitten so she can “grow into” it. If you pad the inside with plenty of comfy beds, blankies, or towels, she should have enough room to move around, but won’t slide around too much.

Be sure to measure your kitty and look carefully at the dimensions listed on the packaging to choose the right sized carrier for her. Your cat should be able to stand, turn around, and lie down easily in her carrier.

A good rule of thumb is to purchase a carrier that’s 1 ½ X bigger than her. If she’s going to be in the carrier for a long time without breaks, consider sizing your carrier to accommodate any bedding or bowls for food and water you’ll need to put inside for her.

Choose Travel-Friendly Features

Features like seatbelt loops, luggage straps, and safety zippers are a must for traveling by plane, but are also very helpful however you’re getting to your destination.

Your carrier should have plenty of ventilation and lots of either mesh panels, or ventilation holes depending of whether you choose a hard or soft carrier.

Two entrances are best, preferably one top and one front opening. This makes it easier to put her in the carrier. Shoving a cat into the small space of a one-door only carrier is dangerous, not just to her, but maybe especially for you.

Because claws. Not only that, but you’ll have easier access to her for comforting, petting, and delivering treats as needed.

Choose Sturdy Materials

Depending on what you’re using her carrier for, you may prefer a soft-sided carrier or hard “shelled” carrier. Soft-sided carriers are flexible enough to fit in tight spaces and usually fold easily for storage.

Hard, plastic carriers are easy to clean, and are good for road trips and trips around town but can be a little less cozy for your fur baby.

No matter what you choose, check out its construction after you receive it or if you’re purchasing it at a pet store.

The zippers should stand up to lots of use, and when using a hard-shelled carrier, make sure it assembles and disassembles easily with sturdy fasteners.

Some Tips On Traveling With Your Cat

  • When it comes to traveling with your cat, the very first thing to do is consult your vet and get some advice. He or she will know some travel-tricks to keep your trip as smooth and anxiety-free as possible.
  • Is she used to a carrier? If your cat has never traveled in her carrier anywhere other than to the vet and back, you can’t expect her to be ok with a long road trip or even worse, a plane ride. Keep in mind, cats like stuff on their terms, so if you get her acclimated to being in a carrier, it will seem like less of an affront when it comes time to stay there for a long time. At the very least, she’ll forgive you and still love you when it’s all over.
  • If your cat is typical, she may not want to eat or drink anything until you get to where you’re going and she can make herself at home. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot, particularly if you have a really long trip ahead of you. She may be ok with some wet food along the way, or at least a treat or two. If possible, it’s preferable to make sure she’s set up with access to a disposable or travel litter box along the way, too.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to traveling with your furry sidekick, it’s all about learning about how she’ll adapt. Some kitties will fight to the death and yell at you until you surrender and let them out of the carrier.

Some kitties will pack it in and resign themselves to the fact that they’re stuck and at the mercy of your will. Anyone who has a cat knows these behaviors can be interchanged depending on how the planets are aligned.

At any rate, because sometimes she’ll just have to suck it up, we recommend the Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved carrier for your jet-setting adventures. It’s comfy enough to accommodate long trips and has all the travel-friendly features both of you will need to help things go smoothly, including adherence to most airline travel regulations.

Happy travels!

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