Stock up on the right travel accessories

More information regarding our evaluation process is available here. Independently researching, assessing, and recommending the top options are our editors. We may receive commissions on purchases made after clicking on one of our chosen links.

Unless given the opportunity to travel freely, the ordinary cat likes to stay inside their home. Because they think they are vulnerable to wolves and other predators, they may be cautious and anxious to leave the house. When we do need to transfer them somewhere, such as the veterinarian or a kennel, we want them to feel as secure and comfortable as possible.

Selecting the right cat carrier is the first step in providing your cat with a sense of security and love when it is traveling away from your house. Consider the types of trips you take with your cat when deciding if a soft or hard-sided carrier, a backpack, or one designed specifically for use in a car or airplane is ideal for you and them.” The safest carrier is made of sturdy plastic and includes access doors on the top and sides. Registered Veterinary Technician Jaime Lyn Bast asserts that a solid container protects your cat from any outside harm. Cats can quickly become stressed during transit due to jobbing and other interruptions, but hard-sided cat carriers make it simple to maintain continuous, level support. The carrier needs to be large enough for your cat to feel secure and restrained during the trip, but it also needs to be small enough for them to be able to stand up and turn around easily.

The following is a list of the best cat carriers at this time.

Best Overall: Henkelion Carrier for Small Medium Cats

Henkelion Carrier for Small Medium Cats
Henkelion Carrier for Small Medium Cats
Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 11 inches | Weight: 2 pounds

What We Like

  • Five colors
  • TSA and airline approved
  • Folds flat for easy storage

What We Don’t Like

  • Determined cats can chew through the mesh

The Henkelion Cat Carrier earns the Best Overall prize in part because cat owners use them frequently, they are inexpensive, and they have TSA and airline approval. This soft-sided carrier’s permeable mesh on three sides offers the best airflow and visibility. Its polyester fabric is waterproof in addition to being sturdy and light. It is possible to hold goods steadily with two loop handles, provide safety in a car by functioning as two seat belts, or serve as a luggage strap. There is a detachable shoulder strap you can use to carry it instead of using your hands. The carrier and the detachable, cozy fleece pet bed are both machine washable. It is ideal for cats up to 15 pounds and is available in five simple colors.

Self-locking zippers and an attached leash make it impossible for your cat to unintentionally escape, giving you peace of mind while you’re on the go. You can load your kitty through the top, side, or end in addition to the additional side pocket.

Best Budget: Petco Cardboard Cat Carrier

Petco Cardboard Cat Carrier
Petco Cardboard Cat Carrier
Dimensions: 18.5 x 9 x 12 inches | Weight: 1.2 pounds

What We Like

  • Lightweight, yet sturdy
  • Flattens for easy storage

What We Don’t Like

  • Some cats can claw their way out by pulling on the handle
  • Can’t be cleaned if your cat has an accident

If your cat hardly ever leaves the house, you might not want to spend a lot on a carrier. Invest on the reasonably priced Petco Cardboard Cat Carrier. Because it is ventilated and easy to put together and take apart without tools, this is a useful way to transport your cat to doctor appointments. This top loading carrier features an integrated handle. For added comfort, place a small cat bed or piece of fabric in the bottom. Petco sells this straightforward carrier for only $15.

Best Backpack: Mancro Cat Backpack

Mancro Cat Backpack
Mancro Cat Backpack
Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 15 inches | Weight: 3.7 pounds

What We Like

  • Plenty of room
  • Good ventilation
  • Will stand upright on its own

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t sit well if worn on your front

There have been three distinct cat backpacks tried. Although we like them, the most popular backpack carriers at the moment are plastic bubbles that are too small to accommodate larger cats. Additionally, the straps started to fall apart after only a few months, and the plastic bubble becomes uncomfortably heated when exposed to direct sunlight. An all-mesh bag is also not recommended because looking through it made cats sick.

For a number of reasons, the Mancro Expandable Cat Backpack Carrier is our top pick out of the three we evaluated. Even when it isn’t stretched, it is great for both large and little cats. Because the pack keeps its shape and sits upright when you set it down, it is easier to put your cat in and take it out. By widening the rear and opening the zippers, you can increase the inner space of the pack, allowing your cat more space to lounge around when you’re not really wearing it in a car, an airline, or another environment.

The cat loved having a clear view of the front and sides of the house. The pack also has an integrated leash that you can link to your cat’s collar or harness to make it possible for you to unzip the top so your cat can ride with an unrestricted view (if your cat will stay in while its open). Additionally, the mesh on top and perforations in the glass sides of this pack provide optimum ventilation. One advantage is that it can fold flat when not in use.

If you like to walk with your bag on the front so you can see their cat, this might not be the best solution for you. It is obvious that the pack is meant to be worn on the back because it doesn’t fit well when worn in front of the body.

RELATED: The 8 Best Cat Harnesses

Best for Airplanes: Sleepypod Air

Sleepypod Air
Sleepypod Air
Dimensions: 22 x 10.5 x 10 inches (reduces to 16 x 10.5 x 10 inches) | Weight: 4.3 pounds

What We Like

  • Sleek, fold-down design
  • Separate and machine washable bedding

What We Don’t Like

  • Most suitable for small cats
  • Mediocre ventilation

If your pet is tiny enough to fit in the cabin with you, it’s wonderful to be able to bring them on flights. When you do, consider using the Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier.

In order to comply with various airline size regulations and accommodate widely varying airplane size restrictions, the sides of the Sleepypod Air contract and extend in size. Even better, it can be inflated while traveling to provide your cat extra room for its legs after being deflated during takeoff and landing to fit beneath the seat in front of you. For a cozy pet bed away from home, it contains a removable, machine-washable cushion that is extremely fluffy.

The carrier has mesh on three sides for airflow and is made of sturdy, luggage-grade nylon. Because of its small weight, carrying it won’t wear you out. Despite the fact that it has a shoulder strap, you can use an additional feature in the airport: a trolley pocket with a zipper that, when opened, enables you to slide the carrier over your roller luggage’s telescoping handle so you can go without difficulty to your aircraft.

It has been given the go-ahead for usage with animals up to 18 pounds by the reputable nonprofit Center for Pet Safety. Your cat can enter this carrier from the side or the end, and it folds flat for convenient storage when not in use.

There are also security precautions while driving to and from the airport. The front and back buckles, which secure the carrier using the seat belt in your car’s back seat, turn the Sleepypod Air into a crash-tested car seat.

Best for Cars: Petmate Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel

Petmate Two-Door Top
Petmate Two-Door Top
Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.8 x 14.5 inches (medium) | Weight: 6.4 pounds

What We Like

  • Sturdy yet lightweight
  • Top-loading door
  • Four colors to choose from

What We Don’t Like

  • The latch mechanism is sometimes problematic
  • Can be awkward to carry

Your cat has to be transported in a carrier that will keep them contained and protect them in the event of an accident. The Petmate Two Door Top Load Cat & Dog Kennel is a reasonably priced carrier that might keep them safer in the case of an accident than a soft-sided carrier. You can feel secure knowing that it is comprised of sturdy plastic and a light-weight steel wire. This carrier has doors on both the front and top. When a cat isn’t overly eager to enter, it may frequently be loaded in from the top much more readily.

This carrier is spacious and well-ventilated, which will make your cat feel safe if they get anxiety episodes while traveling. The double-spring-loaded latch closes securely and cannot be unintentionally opened. The medium kennel is available in four stylish colors and can hold up to 20 pounds. A one-year limited guarantee is additionally provided.

What Editors Say

“I find this carrier can be a bit bulky and awkward to carry, but it’s very sturdy, so I feel reassured on car trips. It’s easy to wipe down, but I recommend placing a soft towel or blanket inside to give your cat a little extra comfort.”

Margaret Badore

RELATED: The 7 Best Cat Collars of 2022

Best Soft Carrier: Sherpa The Original Sherpa

Sherpa The Original Sherpa
Sherpa The Original Sherpa
Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches (medium) | Weight: 4.1 pounds

What We Like

  • Comes with Guaranteed On-Board Program
  • One end can conform to airline under-seat
  • Can lay flat for easy storage

What We Don’t Like

  • Must fill out forms for Guaranteed On-Board Program

Soft carriers are ideal when a rigid, crash-proof structure is not necessary. A plastic kennel weighs more than most of them, which are typically foldable. The Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Pet Carrier is our preferred option because it is affordable and has a variety of practical features. The medium carrier can hold cats up to 16 pounds and has quilted nylon and mesh panels for your cat’s good ventilation and some visibility. When driving, the carrier will be safe if they have a luggage strap that can also be used at airports or train stations as a seat belt security strap. The top and side entry options make it easier to carefully place your cat inside the carrier. Unintentional egress is prevented by its locking zippers.

Travelers prefer the spring wire frame because it allows the rear end of the carrier to be lowered down several inches to comply with airline under-seat regulations. It also has a sizable side pouch with a zipper where you can store anything your pet might need, like travel documents and treats. The padded, adjustable shoulder strap makes hands-free carrying easier. A soft, removable, machine-washable faux lambskin liner is also included with Sherpa.

If you frequently fly with your cat, you’ll appreciate Sherpa’s Guaranteed On-Board Program, which is included with small and larger carriers. The program provides comprehensive instructions so that you can make sure your pet and carrier adhere to the airline’s standards and policies. Worldwise will reimburse the cost of your airline flight and your dog’s airline travel fare if you are refused boarding because of your carrier.

This bag is offered in small and big sizes, as well as four stylish hues. Sherpa goods are made to satisfy child safety requirements, so you can be sure that your furry friend will be safe as well.

Best Splurge: Pet Gear 360 Travel System Dog & Cat Stroller

Pet Gear 360 Travel System Dog & Cat Stroller
Pet Gear 360 Travel System Dog & Cat Stroller
Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 18.5 inches (carrier portion only) | Weight: 20.5 pounds

What We Like

  • Three functions in one purchase
  • Easy conversion between forms
  • Folds flat for easy storage

What We Don’t Like

  • Some owners report the plastic latch can break too easily

The Pet Gear View 360 Dog & Cat Stroller is the perfect way for your cat to travel in elegance if they enjoy exploring their surroundings. This three-in-one unit can be used as a stroller, carrier, or booster seat in a vehicle. Your cat will feel secure and at ease thanks to the interior washable fleece cushion. Mesh windows all around control temperature and let you see how your pet is doing. The carrier and frames are compact and come with a tether that can be attached to the child’s harness for extra safety when traveling. Pet owners love the padded handle and how the carrier clips in to the stroller frame and booster seat framework without the need for additional hardware when used as a carrier.

Each side of the carrier includes a push button entry that makes it simple to get to your pet without fumbling with zippers. To keep your cat’s temperature exactly right, the top offers protection from the sun’s rays. It also comes in four different colors if that weren’t enough.

Final Verdict

My best Overall, the breathable, lightweight, and all-purpose Henkelion Cat Carrier is perfect for the vehicle, the airport, and anywhere in between. Try the roomy Mancro Expandable Cat Backpack Carrier to safely transport your cat on the route.

How to Choose a Cat Carrier


Veterinary technician Jaime Lyn Bast, a registered one, advises searching for surfaces that are simple to clean. Your cat won’t like lingering smells, she explains. Verify that any removable padding or cloth can be washed in a machine.


Choose a carrier with options for top and side loading. According to Bast, many cats favor one choice over the other. Your cat might be able to stay within the lower portion of the carrier for veterinarian examinations if your carrier also has a removable top and door.

According to Bast, the ideal cat carrier should also have simple-to-use zippers or latches. The package should be simple to open with one hand.

Dark Sides

According to Bast, a visual barrier makes your cat feel safer from dangers outside. If your cat is having trouble feeling comfortable in a rigid carrier cage with plenty of openings, you might try covering it with a towel or sheet.


How should a cat be placed inside a carrier?\

Ideally, you should leave the carrier out and stuff it with blankets, toys, and goodies to let your cat become used to it. You can lure your cat into the carrier with treats if they’ve developed a favorable association with it, advises Jaime. “However, you will have to put your cat inside if you haven’t had a chance to train them or if they won’t voluntarily enter their carrier.”

According to her, cats frequently dislike their carriers because of the discomfort and terror caused by inappropriate loading. To avoid fright, always treat your cat with care and composure. ” Support your cat’s body when raising it to prevent frightening or upsetting them. Using the side door or lowering your cat into the carrier from above, make sure they enter backwards (i.e., rear-end first) (i.e., rear-end first). If your cat has trouble getting inside, you can wrap it tightly in a towel, slide it in like a baby, and then unwrap it. ”

“Your cat will be comfortable in their carrier if they perceive it as an extension of their domain,” advises Jaime. How can I help my cat stay calm in their carrier? To do this, the carrier needs to be a dependable element of the house and a cat’s favorite hangout. Her training advice is as follows:

  • Put the crate close to your cat’s preferred lair.\s• If necessary, remove the top and door first.
  • To entice and relax your cat, put a soft blanket inside the carrier and mist it with a synthetic feline pheromone.
  • Occasionally tuck goodies and toys into the carrier for your cat to find.
  • Feed your cat close to the carrier before moving it inside.
  • After momentarily closing the door while your cat is inside, open the door.

As long as your cat is peaceful, gradually extend the amount of time it spends in the carrier, advises Jaime. “Reverse your direction and go more slowly if your cat becomes anxious.”

Keeping your cat at ease throughout veterinary visits:

To avoid motion sickness, avoid feeding your cat in the days before a car travel.

To create a visible barrier, drape a towel over the dog that has been misted with cat pheromones.\s• Keep curious pets away from the carrier and raise it on a chair or counter.

What is the most secure way to transport a cat in a car?

Jaime says, “Cats shouldn’t ever ride loose in the car. Unrestrained cats pose a risk of serious injury, escape, or death in a collision and may distract the driver. Keep your cat in a safe carrier on the floor behind the driver’s seat when traveling by automobile. According to her, this location offers greater security and stability in the event of an abrupt halt, turn, or collision. ” Carriers put in the backseat may be tossed around throughout the ride or fall off the seat, upsetting the cat and perhaps causing injury.”

Why Should I Trust the Product Review from the Cat?

The author of this essay, Lorraine Wilde, has lived with at least two cats in her house for the past 35 years, some of whom have special requirements.

Lorraine examined the type and quality of each product, consumer feedback, the company’s research and development efforts, and corporate ethics when investigating each product and brand. Additionally, we questioned cat owners about their real-world experiences with cat carriers. Jaime Lyn Bast, a Registered Veterinary Technician and Certified Professional Dog Trainer, was also consulted. Jaime has worked as a technician for more than 10 years, including at a major specialist referral hospital. Jaime participates in a variety of dog sports alongside her cocker spaniel, Tutti Fruitti.

In addition, Lorraine has a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in environmental science. She firmly believes that customers may make wise decisions to safeguard our pets.



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