Best Cat Carrier for Anxious Cats (Cats Who Hate Carriers)

Cats by nature are nervous and anxious when traveling, and placing your cat in a correctly sized cat carrier with the right accessories will help them to remain calm and avoid injuries.

​Your greatest fear may be losing  your ​cat while traveling. Often owners choose to leave their little furry friends ​at home just to avoid dealing with the problems that traveling with a cat can bring.

If you are going on long distance travel or just visiting the vet with your nervous cat, you will need a cat carrier to hold your cat securely and safely.

This article will look at how to make your cat comfortable and calm them down in the carrier, what types of carriers are available at different price points, and much more.

This is a comprehensive guide to everything relating to cat carriers, so ​you can be sure ​to find the info you are looking for.

Our website is reader-supported. We research all reviewed products carefully to give you the best choices possible, and if you buy via links on our site we may earn a small commission.

cat carrier collage

Our Top Picks

Petmate Two-door Top Load Pet Carrier

Heavy Duty

Pet Magasin Luxury Pet Carrier

Best Seller

FRiEQ Large Hard Cover Pet Carrier

Unique Design

​Cats are generally not good travelers (although there are some exceptions), and they can be skittish, nervous, and just plain scared of traveling in any vehicle.

These cat carriers are generally designed in a way that your cat cannot break out on their own (there are exceptions!).

They safely restrain your cat and can be padded with a soft lining to protect your cat from injuries.

They come in different shapes, colors, and sizes, and you can be sure to get a carrier that’s suitable for your cat.

Some of the best and most popular cat carriers currently available are:

  • The Petmate Two Door Top Load – Hard Plastic
  • Sport Pet Foldable Travel Cat Carrier – Front Door Plastic
  • Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier – Soft Fabric
  • Petisfam Soft Pet Carrier for Medium Cats – Soft Fabric
  • Petseek Extra Large Cat Carrier – Folding – Soft Sided
  • PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier – Soft Sided – Foldable
  • OMORC Pet Carrier Airline Approved – Expandable – Foldable
  • Pet Magasin Airline Approved Cat Carrier – Water Resistant

How Do I Make My Cat Comfortable With A Carrier?

Chances are if you have bought a new cat carrier and you just try to cram your skittish kitty straight inside, they will fight you tooth and claw and you may come off worse for wear!


Cats love to explore new things, and the best option with a new carrier to make your cat less nervous and reluctant entering the carrier is to leave it open sitting in the house somewhere where they can regularly access it.

If you hide the carrier away where they never see it, and then one day it appears, you can almost guarantee your cat will pull the most astonishing vanishing act the world has ever seen.

Another good idea to get kitty comfortable with the carrier is to place a food bowl in there and let them eat there occasionally.

The idea is to make them feel the carrier is something comforting and familiar.

Why Does My Cat Hate The Cat Carrier?

If you put your cat in the carrier and then drive directly to the vet, then from that point your cat will likely associate the carrier with trauma and fear.

So to help prevent this anxiety in the future, it may be a good idea to put your cat in the carrier and just go for a short drive before bringing them home again.

Some cats are more easily frightened than others, and sometimes a slightly smaller carrier with more shading may suit them better than a large airy one.

If they feel the carrier is a good place to hide they might feel more comfortable inside.

Why Does My Cat Love His Carrier?

Cats don’t have a natural aversion to carriers, as we’ve mentioned before, cats love small spaces that are warm and inviting, and if you leave the carrier open they will eventually wander in for a look.

This is the best scenario to make it easier to get your skitty kitty in the carrier when it’s time to travel.

If they associate their carrier with a warm inviting place to sleep rather than a forced and frightening vet visit experience, then they will be much calmer when you need to use the carrier.

cat inside shoebox

Why Is My Cat Sleeping In Her Carrier?

This is great! This means your fluffy princess feels comfortable in the carrier and sees it as a safe place.

If you have placed some of her bedding in there, then the familiar scent will make her feel at ease.

A carrier with the right smells in a quiet part of the house is a kitty cat invitation for a nice nap.

Should I Put A Blanket In My Cat Carrier?

To help your cat become comfortable inside the carrier you can certainly place a familiar folded up blanket or bedding in there.

Cats assess everything via smell, and if the interior smells like something they know it will help calm their fears.

Cats love snuggling into something warm and soft, and you will often see them kneading blankets and soft cushions with their paws while they purr blissfully.

If you can invoke this feeling for them inside the carrier it will be easier getting them in their in the future.

How Do I Calm My Cat Down In A Carrier? Some Easy Ideas

Sometimes, despite all your efforts to make little fluffball feel at ease in their carrier, they will still become very anxious and let out plenty of wailing meows.

So let’s take a look at some ways you can help calm your cat down in the box.

How to Get Your Cat In A Carrier? Wrap Your Cat!

One way that is known to work well is to wrap your cat in a towel before placing them inside the cat carrier. This calms them and makes them feel secure.

You can then slowly release the towel after they have been in the carrier for a short time.

Here’s a 1-minute video on how to wrap your cat:

When moving in a vehicle and your cat is becoming increasingly agitated, don’t forget to put your hand at the carrier entrance so they can smell you, and use reassuring tones to talk to them.

If you’re the driver then obviously you can’t turn around to look at them, however you can still talk to them while your attention is on the road.

Should I Cover My Cats Carrier When Traveling?

If you find that your cat is not settling well while traveling, then it’s always a good option to try covering the carrier with a blanket or sheet.

This may help give them a sense of security since it becomes a dark little hidey-hole for them, and cats usually seek out places like dark spots in your wardrobe naturally when they feel threatened.

Just take note of the temperature if it’s a warm day – allow enough airflow to stop your cat overheating.

Provided that the temperature is not too warm, we recommend covering the cat carrier completely without any gaps they can see out of.

This works particularly well with feral cats, and they will calm right down in an enclose that is fully covered.

It’s due to their natural survival instincts to stay motionless and quiet when they feel anxious and threatened, and this way avoid being detected by predators.

Do Catnip and Pheromones Help Cats With Anxiety?

Another way to calm your cat’s nerves in a carrier is to try sprinkling a little catnip in the bottom or spraying some pheromones.

From our experience, catnip can be a hit or miss affair for cats, as some cats love it and others just take a sniff and ignore it totally.

If catnip does work for your cat then try giving them some with a little food before traveling (if they will not be receiving an anaesthetic at the vets), put a little in the carrier, or maybe place their favorite catnip toy in there.

See some catnip products here, maybe a catnip toy would work best?

When it comes to pheromones, they are a cat’s best friend! Cats produce pheromones around their heads in various places, and you will always see them rubbing their heads against objects all around the house – including you!

  • The pheromones produced around cats heads are ones that give them a ‘happy’ feeling, and their scent marks safe territory.

Cat’s also produce other pheromones from other areas of their bodies that give different signals, but we are only interested in the one that makes them feel happy, safe, and calm.

There are some options that may work well for  carrier such as a spray liquid or a pheromone collar.

See some pheromone options for your cat

Do Pheromones Actually Work To Calm Your Cat In A Carrier?

This is a tough one to honestly answer, as many reviews and studies may include factors such as interests from the synthetic pheromone manufacturers themselves, and commercial interests from the sale of pheromone products.

Still, many people swear by them, and if you are running out of options then they may be worth trying. Quite often what doesn’t work for one cat will work well for another.

If you want to read more about the effectiveness of synthetic pheromones for cats, then take a look at this in-depth article: http://catsandsquirrels.com/feliway

What Type Of Carrier Is Best For Cats?

You might not need to use a carrier very often for your cat, but you may need one occasionally for events like vet visits, dropping them at a boarding kennel, or during an emergency situation.

cat in paper bag

Some of the things to take into consideration when deciding on the best carrier include:


The carrier has to be large enough for your cat to lay down comfortably and adjust its position.

It should also be snug enough to stop them slipping around inside when being carried or in a moving vehicle.


Cat carriers that have a top opening are easier to use since you can lower your cat in from above.

Front-loading carriers with the option to remove the top section are also a good choice.


You should choose a carrier that has openings on at least 2 sides.

This will prevent your cat from having breathing difficulties or overheating inside the carrier.

So let’s have a look at hard vs soft carriers, and which one will suit you and your special kitty’s needs best.

Hard-Sided Carriers

They are a favorite because they are easy to use and secure into a car.

They are usually made of plastic, are generally robust and durable, also being the safest for your cat if something should drop on top of the carrier.

These carriers don’t usually come with padding in the bottom, but you can put anything soft your cat normally loves to lie on (like a small padded pet bed or folded towel) inside to make your cat comfortable.

They are the easiest to clean and far less cat fur will stick to them than the soft fabric carriers..

Ventilation inside hard carriers is excellent and they have a steel wire-frame door that is much stronger than plastic mesh screening.

Make sure that there is adequate space for your cat before purchasing one.

Most of them have clips that let you remove the top secion for easy cleaning, also allowing the lower half to be used as a sleeping box (this could be a sneaky way to help your cat grow to love their cat carrier!).

If your naughty kitty is a determined escape-artist, then a hard shell carrier will thwart all escape attempts!

Do Cats Prefer Hard Or Soft Carriers?

It’s hard to say which type of carrier is better. They are different and can both be great, depending on what you are looking for.

Some owners love sturdy carriers while some prefer comfortable soft lightweight carriers. But at the end of the day, it’s all about your cat, and not you!

In most instances, you’ll find that your cat has a preference. The truth is that different cats will have different preferences for carriers so it’s a little bit hard to say what type of carrier that your cat will prefer.

  • Generally, however, most cats prefer soft carriers. This is because soft carriers are more comfortable than hard carriers.
  • Soft carriers are cozy so if your priority for getting a carrier is comfort, then this type of carrier is the best choice for your feline friend.

The level of comfort that your cat has in its carrier will ultimately determine whether your cat is calm and well behaved while inside the carrier.

There are several cases of cats hissing and clawing at carriers just because they are uncomfortable inside them. So if this is the case for you, then a soft carrier is your best bet.

But at the end of the day, all cats are different and not all of them will prefer this. So you should study your cat to know its behaviour and which type of carrier it prefers.

Are Soft Cat Carriers Safe?

Soft-sided carriers are usually made of firm but flexible materials such as nylon and ballistic nylon. They are lightweight and not as bulky as hard cat carriers.

No matter what type of carrier you prefer, hard or soft, at the end of the day you have to take into consideration the safety of your cat.

The issue is that some soft carriers are not as sturdy and as safe as you’d like to believe. If anything should fall on a soft cat carrier, it will usually sag under this weight.

This means that if something quite heavy should fall on a soft cat carrier, your cat will not be as safe as in a hard carrier.

A cat carrier should be sturdy enough to ensure that your cat is safe inside.

That’s why many people prefer hard carriers that are made of plastic, which is sturdier than the nylon used to make soft carriers.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be? Find the Right Size

With a correctly-sized carrier your cat should be able to turn around in their carrier easily, and have enough space to sit or stand normally also.

If the carrier is too big, your cat can be uncomfortable trying to balance inside while you carry them, as they may slide around and lose their footing.

Cats generally prefer small spaces, but they don’t like being overly confined. That’s why you should make sure to get a carrier that is big enough, but not overly large.

The size of the cat carrier you choose may also depend on the method of transportation you will be using.

Your carrier should be big enough for your cat, but also be able to fit in various modes of transport, be it in the backseat of a car or under a passenger seat of a commercial aircraft.

Soft carriers are often better for fitting under seats as they are flexible.

Some airlines also have rules on the size of cat carriers so you should consider this too.

  • The general rule of thumb is that the carrier should be 1.5 times the size of your cat.

How To Measure a Cat for a Carrier?

To determine the right size carrier for your cat, you can measure your cat properly with these simple steps:

  1. Measure the length of your cat.
    You should measure the distance from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail using a measuring tape.

    You don’t need to stretch their tail out straight, just measure as though they are walking with their tail in a normal downward direction.

    Once you have the measurement, add 4 inches to this. The final dimensions are the right size for the length of the carrier you should get.
  2. Measure the height of your cat.
    This is the distance from the ground to the top of the head.

    Add 4 inches to this measurement. The final dimension is the best height for the right carrier for your cat.

You may not find a carrier with these exact measurements, but you can use them as a guide to help you choose a carrier most suited to the size of your cat.

Most carriers will have two sets of measurements, for the inside and outside. Be sure to check the inside dimensions when selecting a carrier.

How Much are Cat Carriers? Price Ranges and Features

Cat carriers come in a wide range of prices ranging from as little as $15 right up to $300.

It all depends on whether you need basic functionality, a luxurious abode for your special kitty, or maybe even a carrier that fits on the back of your motorbike!

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a cat carrier to get good quality, extra features, or an airline approved model.

  • If your cat has a tendency to be nervous and skittish when traveling, make sure to pick a carrier that will make them feel comfortable, not be too large in comparison to your cat, and has good ventilation.

Features of Low-Priced Cat Carriers ($20 to $50)

There are plenty of carriers available in the $20 – $50 price range that offer varied features such as a shoulder carry strap, top and side entry panels, can be foldable, made from waterproof materials, and some are also airline approved.

The cheaper options are generally smaller varieties of cat carriers.

These are still safe for transporting your cat and will suit owners with smaller cats who only need a carrier for the occasional short trip.

Features of Mid-Priced Cat Carriers ($50 to $100)

When you step into the mid price range you start getting designs that not only look more upmarket, but also have a better construction, can be larger, and may have wheels and an extendable handle for easy portability.

In this price range some models have lightweight metal base frames that can handle extra weight, contain a quality fleecy washable bed, and can have multiple pockets for storing accessories.

Hard plastic models at this price point have a good quality build with thoughtful features such as being able to unclip the upper and lower sections, a reversible entry door, stackable, and seatbelt attachment points.

See a range of cat carriers in the mid-price range

Features of Higher-Priced Cat Carriers ($100 to $300)

Moving to the higher price range you won’t find as many models as in the low to mid-price range categories.

However, if you’re looking for a highly durable weather resistant carrier for a motorbike, want a heavy-duty model, or just love anything fashionable – then you will find it here.

  • If you need a large sized and heavy-duty carrier, then you will find models with large caster wheels, telescopic handles, lightweight steel frames, are fully collapsible, have multiple-side entry, and have heavy duty zippers.

You will find many have luxurious fleecy padded interiors, a range of appealing colors, and design choices that range from looking like a space capsule to resembling a designer bag.

Check out available models and their features here

Reviews of 5 Popular Cat Carriers (With Pros & Cons)

1. Petmate Two-door Top Load Kennel – Hard Plastic

Some pet owners prefer to buy a hard shell cat carrier rather than a fabric-made model.

While both add convenience when traveling, a hard shell cat carrier provides added protection for your pet.

This pet carrier is made with heavy-duty steel and plastic for enhanced safety, ventilation and visibility.

It has nuts and bolts to secure the top cover (made with steel wire). Petmate pet carrier also has an easy squeeze latch door that makes it easy for your cat to get in and out.

The design of this hard shell pet carrier allows the pet to have extra space inside there to sit up and look around.

However, this may be different for large pets that need enough space to sit up. Petmate is ideal for pets measuring 7” tall and 15” in length.

The only challenge that some pet owners have reported is the difficulty in assembling it once the item has been shipped.

You may try a few times to get it into shape but if you follow the instructions, setting it up should take only a couple of minutes.


  • Durable material.
  • Enhanced safety.
  • Well ventilated
  • Squeeze latch door for easy opening and closing.
  • Spacious.


  • Difficulty in assembling.
  • Does not fit under airline seat

2. Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier – Fabric – Foldable

If you are looking for a portable cat carrier that is built for convenience and comfort, then the Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier is a good choice.

This cat carrier is soft-sided and comfortable to ensure your cat’s comfort and safety whether you are driving on the road, by rail or by air.

It comes in various sizes, with the small carrier holding up to 8 pounds, the medium supporting up to 16 pounds, and the large size safely holding pets up to 22 pounds.

One of the unique features of Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier is the patented wire spring frame. This allows the carrier to be compressed to fit in the under-seat requirements.

This feature is handy for airline travel since you can easily squeeze one end of the carrier under the passenger seat in front of you.

If you need to carry extra supplies for your cat you can safely store them in the carrier’s rear pockets.

The Sherpa Deluxe also comes with a seatbelt strap to make securing in a car easy.

There is a Guaranteed On Board policy with this pet carrier, giving you confidence that this pet carrier meets airline safety rules.


  • Durable construction.
  • Good for airline travel.
  • Adequately ventilated.
  • Locking zippers for cat’s safety.
  • Washable faux lambskin liner


  • Not ideal for cats weighing above 22 pounds.

3. FRiEQ 23-Inch Large Hard Cover Pet Carrier – Foldable

The FRiEQ pet carrier is a unique design made just a little different to other models, coming with a hard top and bottom section, with a foldable yet tough mid-section.

With dimensions of roughly 23x15x16 inches this carrier is enough to handle the largest of cats, and would also be suitable for 2 medium sized cats that don’t like being separated.

There are large ventilation holes in the mid section, the base is hard and waterproof, and their is a soft padded bed included.

The design of this carrier allows you to completely unzip the lid and base, fold the mid-section, and then zip it all back together in a compact storage configuration.


  • Waterproof top and base for wet weather
  • Hard top for pet safety
  • Foldable for easy storage.
  • Well-ventilated
  • Fits large cats
  • Lightweight for carrying


  • No Seatbelt attachment point
  • Not great for escape-artists
  • The zippers have failed occasionally

4. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

The AmazonBasics soft-sided pet carrier is designed to keep your furry friend secure and comfortable throughout the journey.

The adjustable shoulder strap gives you the convenience of carrying your pet like ordinary luggage.

This pet carrier also features a spring-wire frame to help you fit the carrier under a seat in an airplane or train.

The front and top openings make it easy to load and offload your cat with ease. These openings have sturdy zippers to keep the carrier securely closed while traveling.

The carrier has a washable fleece pet bed for kitty comfort, and you can remove the base platform to create extra space inside.

Although this cat carrier comes in several sizes, most pet owners say that it is ideal for small cats and dogs. It is suitable for smaller pets under 16 pounds.


  • Sturdy and durable material.
  • Removable base platform to create more space.
  • Well-ventilated
  • Strong handles and adjustable shoulder strap for easy transportation.


  • Small, not ideal for large cats

5. Pet Magasin Luxury Cat Carrier – Soft Sided – Airline Approved

Pet Magasin Luxury is a soft-sided cat carrier that has been approved for air travel with all major airlines.

Pet Magasin is lightweight in nature and weighs only 2.2 pounds. It has mesh side panels to ensure a free flow of air and a padded sleeping bed for added comfort.

Being made from fabric, this carrier is also foldable for storage. Designed for smaller cats

The adjustable shoulder strap makes this pet carrier portable and easy to carry around like regular luggage.

This is an extremely popular choice with pet owners on Amazon, with over 9,200 reviews!

Reviewers say that this carrier is generally ok for a cat up to 10 – 12 pounds, and many say the carrier is perfect for air travel.


  • Made with durable and waterproof fabric.
  • Compact design.
  • Mesh side panels for added ventilation.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Easy to carry around.


  • May not accommodate large pets.
  • Generally small in size

Can You Put Two Cats In One Carrier? Things to Consider

Putting two cats together in one carrier is quite possible as long as the carrier is not too small.

Cats normally don’t enjoy traveling in a carrier, so having a space that is too small for them will only create undue stress, particularly if they are nervous travelers.

Cat owners in general seem to sway toward transporting their cats in separate carriers, although there are a number of owners who say that their cats travel well together.

While it is certainly possible to place two cats into a single carrier, you need to consider a few factors before deciding if this is a good idea.

What are the personality traits of each cat?

We all know how skittish, nervous, and scared cats can be when bundled into a carrier and then placed in a moving vehicle.

Take this into account when making your decision, as some cats travel quite well, while others just don’t settle when traveling.

Do your two cats get separation anxiety?

Some family cats have a tendency to fight with each other easily and placing them together in a confined space will only serve to exasperate their fragile friendship.

Other cats are closely bonded and don’t like being separated, and in this case it may cause them undue anxiety to have them travel separately.

How long will the travel time be?

If you’re only going 10 minutes down the road and don’t have two separate carriers then this may work.

However longer trips can place extra stress on your cats. There are carriers available with an internal litter box for longer travel.

Is your cat carrier large enough and/or contains dual compartments?

If your cats are close to each other and are likely to travel well together, then make sure the carrier is truly large enough to house them both comfortably.

They should both be able to easily turn around in the carrier.

Are you strong enough to lift both cats at once?

If your cats are on the larger size, then lifting them at once may require some brute strength.

The average weight of a cat is around 10 pounds, so two cats including the carrier may weigh anywhere from around 24 – 40 pounds.

Are your cats still kittens?

Kittens that are growing up together are usually very close and enjoy being cuddled up sleeping together.

In this case it might be a good idea for them to travel together for companionship and comfort.

Multiple kittens can be housed in one carrier, but ensure they have plenty of space to move around.

Will the cats be traveling in a hot climate?

If the travel is during hot weather and air-conditioning is not available, then it is best for cats to have their own carriers as there will be better ventilation to stop them overheating.

Is the intended travel on an airline?

We recommend (as do vets in general) that cats travel separately when being transported by air.

If two cats are left together in an unfamiliar noisy place for an extended period you don’t know how they will react, and you won’t be able to resolve any problems.

Airlines generally have a policy of one pet per carrier, as this is the safest option for your pet.

Are your cats having surgery or anaesthetic?

While some owners state that it’s good to have two cats together for warmth when recovering from anaesthesia, most owners and vets feel its better to keep them separated.

If your cats have just had surgery, then you don’t want any risk of them injuring each other.

Did You Know?

Sometimes when animals are recovering from anaesthesia for surgery or travel their behavior can be erratic and different to their normal personality.

Amazon has a good option available for carrying two pets at once.

This carrier can be separated into two sections for carrying, only weighs 7.5 pounds, and has optional extra hammocks that hang in each section.

What Are the Best Cat Carriers for Two Cats? What to Look For

Moving your cats safely and smoothly without incident helps keep them calm and prevents future fear of the carrier due to a bad experience.

Let’s take a look at important features you should be aware of when looking for a dual-cat carrier.

  • Strong enough to safely lift two cats. Look for models that are well built from quality materials.
  • Large enough for two cats to be comfortable
  • Has good ventilation. Plenty of fresh air allows your cats to keep calm and helps them stay cool.
  • Compartments that can be separated. If you are part way to your destination and your cats are becoming agitated and aggressive toward each other, then having the option to separate them within the carrier will save them fighting.
  • Has wheels on the base. This makes moving your 2 cats so much easier especially if they are both large cats.
  • Has a way to secure the carrier in the vehicle. If a vehicle swerves or stops quickly then your carrier needs to be secure to avoid your cats being injured to the carrier being thrown from its original position.
  • Has a blanket or padding in the base. Cats love snuggling into something soft, and this helps them to relax and keep comfortable, not to mention helps prevent them slipping around in the carrier when a vehicle is moving.

Cat Carriers For Two Cats On Wheels: Know Your Options

Keeping your cats calm while traveling is important, and part of that is by having a cat carrier that is easy for you to transport.

Having wheels on the base of a cat carrier makes things easier, and there are a few options to consider when choosing the right carrier to suit your needs.

Detachable Wheels

Some models are designed with 4 wheels attached to a base, and a telescopic handle.

The base is separate to the carrier itself, allowing you to choose the most appropriate mode for your current travel needs.

Other models allow you to remove the wheels from the base with a simple click-lock mechanism, which allows you to fold the carrier flat for storage or just sit on the floor.

You can view some models with detachable wheels here

Wheel Size

Most wheeled cat carriers have quite small wheels similar to those you would find on suitcases and general luggage.

While these are plenty strong enough to do the job, if you need to wheel your carrier across bumpy surfaces regularly then this may cause stress to your cats, particularly if they are anxious travelers.

There are some models available that have much larger wheels just like baby strollers, and yes you guessed it – they are known as pet strollers!

They vary in design with some being designed more for taking your cat or small dog for a walk, and others more shaped like a cart with a telescopic handle.

Having a larger wheel size allows you to easily cart them over uneven ground such as grass and will give your fluffy kitties a gentler ride that reduces their travel stress.

See a collection of pet strollers at Amazon

Telescopic Handle

Most wheeled carriers come with a telescopic handle, which makes it easy to wheel and control the carrier without bending or straining.

Distance You need to Wheel the Carrier

If you need to wheel your cats through airports on smooth surfaces, then your best option is to get a carrier with smaller wheels as they can easily handle long distances on smooth surfaces.

If you are looking to wheel your carrier outdoor over long distances, then you and your cats will be much better off having a carrier with large wheels.

Where Can You Take – Or Should You Take A Cat Carrier?

Do You Need A Cat Carrier to Go to The Vet?

A vet would not normally turn you away if you bought your cat in without a carrier, but they are highly preferred in most cases.

In the vet’s waiting room there will be plenty of noise, other animals, and dogs that may see your cat as something to chase. Given that cats are easily stressed this could turn into an ugly situation.

Vets always prefer you to use a cat carrier to help keep your kitty calm, give them a safe little haven, and prevent injuries to them as well as you!

If you are holding your cat and they become frightened they can scratch you to pieces trying to run away.

  • If you arrive at a vet without a carrier, they are quite likely to lend you one to bring in your cat from the car.
  • When unsure about your personal vet’s policies, make sure to ask them over the phone before going in.

Can You Take A Cat Carrier In An Uber?

According to Uber’s official policy for normal Uber bookings, you will need to ask the driver if they will carry your your cat in their car.

The driver has the right to decide if they will allow it, so make sure you text or call them as soon as you book, don’t wait until they arrive to spring the question on them.

It seems most drivers are happy to take cat carriers, but some will not due to worry about their car cleanliness for other passengers, or even allergy problems.

If they allow you, then your best option is to use a towel on the seat under your cat carrier as a way of preventing any damage or mess.

If you are booking an Uber ride as part of an uberPOOL trip, then you are not allowed to take a cat with you.

A New Uber Ride Option from 2019

Since October 2019 Uber have established a new service named ‘Uber Pet’ which allows you to take one small pet with you.

You can directly book a pet friendly ride on their app by selecting “tap to customize” under UberX, and then swipe to add the ‘Pet Friendly Ride’ option.

This type of fare will cost more than standard Uber fares, and you should be aware that you will be responsible for any mess your cat leaves in the car such as excessive hair or waste.

We highly recommend using a cat carrier when using this ride type, as it greatly reduces the likelihood that you will incur extra cleaning expenses.

Can I Take My Cat Carrier In A Lyft?

Lyft operates on a similar principle to Uber, and being their main competitor it makes since that they employ similar policies.

Lyft’s official policy states “We advise passengers to call their drivers after their ride request is accepted to confirm that it’s OK to bring their pets.”

If the driver refuses your pet, you can cancel the fare and Lyft says “If they’re charged a fee, they can reach out to us by tapping ‘Contact Support’ below and we’ll take care of it.”

  • Just remember that Lyft & Uber drivers own their own car, and therefore have the ultimate discretion whether to allow you to take your cat carrier in their car.
  • Many drivers are animal lovers though and will usually be happy to carry your cat in a carrier, but possibly less likely if your cat is only on a leash or being held by you.

For both Uber and Lyft the drivers rely on good ratings, so if they have been kind enough to allow your pet in their car don’t forget to thank them with a good rating (and maybe even a small tip).

Can I Take My Cat In A Taxi?

There are a vast number of taxicab operators in the US and it can be hit and miss whether you can take your cat when you travel in a cab.

There are still plenty of taxi drivers who will allow you to take your cat, and it certainly improves your chances if you explain to the operator that your cat is safely housed in a carrier.

So make sure you mention this when attempting to book a cab.

Some taxi operators have seen the opportunity to start special pet taxi services, and with around 67% of Americans owning a pet of some description in 2020 they are bound to continue growing.

So if you want a hassle-free taxi booking that includes you cat, have a look online for pet taxi services in your area.

Can You Take A Cat Carrier On A Bus or Ferry?

Today in the US there are countless bus and ferry companies, and from what we can see most of them will allow you to transport your favorite fluffy companion in a cat carrier on their services.

This is a large topic, and we found a resource here that may help you explore options in your area:https://www.gopetfriendly.com/blog/pet-friendly-public-transportation-us-canada

Can I Take A Cat Carrier On An Airline?

There are 18 Major airlines in the US, and roughly 30 other smaller operators. With that many it’s an entirely new topic delving into the exact rules of each, so we will just look at the general consensus.

All airlines will transport your pet in the pet cargo hold, and many also will allow small pets in carriers as checked-in luggage.

The conditions vary from airline to airline, and usually their conditions of carriage are based on a limited number of pets in the hold, and the same is true for checked luggage.

There may be certain restrictions such as a minimum age for your cat, or that the outside temperature is below a certain threshold.

The airlines always have safety in mind when transporting pets, and strive for an incident-free flight.

  • If you are planning to book your cat in the cargo hold, then speak to your vet about a sedative if neccesarry, and you will need a hard shell carrier. 
  • If your cat will be in the cabin with you, then you will need a soft flexible carrier so that you can fit it under the set in front of you.

For a quick but detailed guide on what to expect when flying with your cat have a read of this excellent article at VCAHospitals on Flying With Your Cat.

If traveling by air, then make sure to call the earline as early as possible to check their exact conditions and book a place for your cat before the flight quota is full.

You can also expect to pay an extra fee for this service, and again this will vary according to the airline you fly with.

There is a great site called BringFido where they have details on specific airline pet policies, check it out before booking your flight.

How to Securely Buckle A Cat Carrier In A Car

So you have managed to get Mr Fluffy nice and calm in his carrier, but have to brake heavily in the car and the carrier has slid across the seat.

He won’t be calm any more, and this could easily be prevented by securely buckling the carrier into the car using the seatbelt.

Some cat carriers have purpose-built securing points, however many do not. So, what to do?

There are different opinions on the best place to put a carrier in a car, how to secure it, and should you secure it?

In crash tests many hard carriers break, and we could well argue that they would still break in an accident if they were not strapped in.

If you decide to place the carrier on a seat, then strapping the carrier in using the seatbelt will at least stop it sliding around when cornering and braking.

It’s generally accepted that the rear seat behind either the driver or front passenger seats is the best position for a carrier.

Securing Hard Cat Carriers In A Car

There is a recommendation from The Center for Pet Safety that carriers be placed on the floor behind the front seats.

This will prevent the carrier sliding around, and as long as there is enough cool air for your cat down there could be a good solution.

If you would rather have your cat carrier on the rear seat, then most people recommend placing the carrier sideways on the seat.

In the case of an accident pets tend to be thrown forward which often breaks the door on a carrier, so placing it sideways may offer them more protection.

Use the seatbelt to wrap around the carrier, and through the handle on the side or top, and clip the buckle into the lock.

Here are some examples of a hard case secured with a seatbelt:

pet carrier on car seat sideways
pet carrier on car seat

Securing Soft Cat Carriers In A Car

With a soft carrier you can’t really wrap a seatbelt around the carrier, but can loop it through a handle.

Another way to secure this type of carrier is to loop the shoulder strap behind the headrest on the car seat.

As discussed previously, the other option (particularly if you have slippery leather seats) is to place the carrier on the floor either in the passenger footwell, or behind one of the front seats.

How Long Can A Cat Travel In A Carrier? 

Your cat will generally be ok traveling in a carrier for 4 – 6 hours at one time, just ensure you give them some water occasionally.

Don’t place a water container in their carrier, just give them some when the vehicle has stopped.

Long distance travel in a carrier may be more traumatizing for your cat than a short trip, however sometimes it is unavoidable.

  • If travel is longer than 6 hours make sure to stop and let your cat out for a brief period, it would be a good idea to have a quality leash attached in case they take fright.

If you have to travel long distance and you can avoid taking your cat then this is the best option as cats really don’t like change, and many get extremely stressed traveling.

If your cat is known to be an anxious traveler and none of the tips in this article have worked in the past, then as a last resort you can request some medication from a vet to sedate your cat for the trip.


To reduce the need for your cat to toilet during the trip, only feed them a little before traveling. If the trip is long you may consider getting a disposable litter tray for the carrier, or buying a cat carrier with a special litter box section built in.

Best Cat Carrier with Litter Box: For Long Distance Travel

Here you basically have two options:

Buy a large cat carrier and portable litter tray separately

Travel litter trays come in a few varieties with some being made of cardboard for easy disposal, and others made from cloth with waterproof linings that can be folded up and sometimes have closing lids.

You can also get absorbent pads that you can place in the bottom of the carrier in case kitty needs a quick wizz!

Check out a range of disposable trays here


Buying a carrier and portable litter tray separately gives you the widest choice, and you could for instance buy an expandable cat carrier like the Petsfit Expandable Soft-Sided Carrier with 2 Large Extensions, and place the litter tray in one of the extension sections.

Buy a carrier that comes with a litter tray

The Necoichi Portable Stress Free Series is a popular choice with over 2600 cat owners rating it at 4.5 out of 5. It’s a large carrier, lightweight fabric, and also can be folded away. We think it is a great and economical option.

Want more resources on traveling with a cat? Check out this article at All Feline Hospital for some details on what to expect and what to do to keep your cat cool, calm, and collected during travel.

Conclusion: The Final Round-Up On Cat Carriers

There are a few easy things you can do to calm your nervous cat while traveling in a cat carrier, such as placing a blanket inside, spraying with pheromones, or covering the carrier with a blanket.

The best cat carrier for your cat is one that is correctly sized and also has features like top entry, caster wheels, or a portable litter tray that suit your needs while transporting them.

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