7 Best Cat Carriers for Safely Transporting Your Kitty (That Aren’t Impossible to Get Your Cat Into)
These carriers keep your cat comfortable and safe while traveling or visiting the vet, and most are airline approved!
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Traveling with cats is a lot different than traveling with dogs. While a car hammock might be suitable for Fido, cats shouldn’t have free roam of the vehicle for your safety and theirs. Cats are small, curious creatures who like to crawl into tight spaces, like under seats and steering wheels, which can be dangerous. Instead, keep them safe inside a cat carrier, whether it’s a backpack, duffle bag or rolling bag that’s specifically designed for pets. Not sure where to look for the best cat carrier? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with lots of options in every price range.
Most of the bags on this list are airline-approved, but make sure to check your flight’s rules and specifications before purchasing a ticket. Additionally, look at the bag’s measurements to ensure it can support your cat’s weight and gives him room to move around.
The best cat carriers
- Best overall: PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
- Best budget cat carrier: PetAmi Premium Soft-Sided Cat Travel Carrier
- Best quality cat carrier: Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier
- Best cat carrier for plane: Pet Gear I-Go Plus Traveler
- Best car carrier for car: Siivton Expandable Pet Carrier
- Best bubble cat backpack: Henkelion Cat Bubble Carrying Bag
- Best cat duffel bag: Sherpa Original Deluxe Cat Carrier Bag
PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
It’s time to ditch the bulky plastic pet carriers and treat your furry friend to the best cat carrier on the market. A backpack like this makes it easier to travel with your pet and take them on all of life’s adventures while ensuring their safety. It has three points of entry so it’s less of a hassle to get your cat in and out, and it has a spacious interior so they can move around. Plus, there’s a soft removable pad at the bottom for added comfort. You’ll be comfortable, too, thanks to the adjustable shoulder straps and lightweight design.
- Adjustable backpack straps with lightweight design
- Three points of entry
- Includes a name tag and collapsible dish
- Front pocket and mesh pouches
- Removable padding
- Suitable for cats up to 18 pounds
Not suitable for people prone to back pain
Best budget cat carrier
PetAmi Premium Soft-Sided Cat Travel Carrier
The best cat carriers can cost hundreds of dollars for name brands, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend that much to keep your cat safe while traveling. This budget-friendly bag is not only economical, it comes with extra accessories: It features multiple entryways, storage pockets and fleece bedding—a great addition to your own affordable luggage collection.
Since the entire top panel is made of mesh, your cat can look out at their surroundings and have plenty of fresh air inside the bag. The rest of the bag is made of durable polyester that will last for years to come. Choose between two sizes and 11 colors to fit your needs.
- Wallet friendly
- Includes an I.D. tag and collapsible dish
- Multiple entry points
- Storage pockets
- Fleece-lined bedding
- Has handles and a shoulder strap
Compact design is only suitable for small cats
Best quality cat carrier
Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier
There’s nothing wrong with wanting the very best for your pet, and sometimes that means splurging a little on their necessities. After all, this simple yet stylish pet carrier is well worth the price tag for its innovative design and waste management system. An accident is bound to happen at one point or another, which is why the Diggs Passenger comes equipped with a removable bedding pad including optional pee liners. It also has a large pocket where you can store extras so you always have some on hand.
Our Deputy Shopping Editor, Reina Galhea, tested this carrier and especially loved the multiple points of entry: “I have a fourteen-pound tabby with an attitude, and getting him into a carrier is always a struggle. The Diggs Passenger makes it exponentially easier—I can unzip not just the traditional end entry, but the entire top and one side of the carrier. Big Red would never crawl into his old carrier of his own volition, but the Passenger’s multiple openings make him curious enough to sniff around on his own, and simple for me to zip him in once he’s inside.”
In addition to the thoughtful design, it’s crash test-approved for cars, so you know your pet will be safe inside no matter the circumstances. Some reviewers go as far as to say it’s the “best pet carrier ever.”
- Innovative design with three points of entry
- Aesthetically-pleasing style
- Compatible with pee pads
- Crash tested
- Airline approved
On the pricier side (but well worth the features)
Best cat carrier for plane
Pet Gear I-Go Plus Traveler
Have you ever wished for a cat carrier that didn’t require carrying at all? This rolling backpack looks just like the luggage you bring to the airport and is made specifically for pets. Roll it with minimal effort or retract the handle and use it as a backpack. It has a large opening for your pet to enter and exit, and offers lots of breathability.
We chose this carrier as the best option for flying with your cat because it provides lots of room for your pet to stay comfortable for long periods of time (although they should still be let out to use the bathroom and stretch their legs every couple of hours). Shoppers that left image reviews showed that it’s even big enough to be used as a dog carrier for small dogs and puppies.
- Airline approved
- Easy to maneuver
- Also functions as a backpack
- Storage pockets
- Removable pad
Pricier than other options (but provides dual function)
Best cat carrier for car
Siivton Expandable Pet Carrier
Unlike traveling by plane, you have more flexibility when taking your pet on a road trip, namely that you don’t have to worry about how big their carrier can be. That’s why an expandable cat carrier is ideal for long road trips, since it gives cats more room to play or snuggle without compromising their safety (by the way, check out this popular cat snuggle toy that purrs).
When the sides are folded in, the bag is easy to carry just like a duffel bag with durable handles. It also features a luggage pass-through strap on the back that conveniently slides over a suitcase handle, allowing you to roll them around with the rest of your belongings.
- Four expandable sides
- Multiple openings for entry
- Allows ample airflow
- Safety clip inside
Mesh sides may cause anxiety for cats that prefer being more confined
Best bubble cat backpack
Henkelion Cat Bubble Carrying Bag
Bubble backpacks are some of the best cat carriers available simply because of their unique designs. They allow people to admire your pet from near and far, and make it easy to take them wherever you go (including these pet-friendly hotels). This bubble backpack in particular has a 3-pound ergonomic design with adjustable straps that provide comfort to both the cat and owner. Better yet, the material is durable and scratch resistant, which means it’ll last a long time.
“This backpack keeps [cats] safe and allows them to see (and smell) what’s going on around them, whether we take them for a bike ride, a hike or to the grocery store,” writes Amazon reviewer Phaedra. “And people love seeing them; they’ve become like local celebrities!”
- Ergonomic bubble design with adjustable straps
- Weighs only 3.3 pounds
- Fully transparent front
- Made of anti-scratch material
Less ventilation compared to other carrier options
Best cat duffel bag
Sherpa Original Deluxe Cat Carrier Bag
If you’re used to traveling with a duffel bag and don’t mind adding one more to your collection, this airline-approved cat carrier is the one for you. It offers lots of space for larger cats (up to 22 pounds) and has a side and top entry point for easy access. The interior features plush, fleece-lined bedding to make traveling extra comfortable and reduce your cat’s anxiety. It’s even machine washable in case there’s an accident.
“I got the large size so my cats would be comfortable and we had no issues with [the] airline since it’s soft-sided and can be easily pushed under the seat,” writes Julia, a Chewy shopper. “My cats were comfortable inside, they could move around and sleep comfortably, and it held up its shape so it didn’t collapse on them.”
- Duffel bag style is ideal for heavier cats
- Adjustable and removable straps
- Multiple entryways
- Airline approved
Takes up more space than other carriers
What to consider when buying a cat carrier
The most important factor to consider is ensuring your cat carrier supports your cat’s weight. Plus, make sure they’ll have enough room to turn around and sit comfortably since they’ll likely be in there for long periods of time if you’re traveling. Any carrier that’s easy to clean automatically gets bonus points in case of an accidents or motion sickness.
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What cat carriers do vets recommend?
Experts are less concerned about the style of carrier you have and are more focused on the small details, like having the appropriately-sized carrier for your pet and having an I.D. tag on them at all times. Samantha Bell, cat expert for Best Friends Animal Society, also expressed how important it is for the carrier to feel like it is “part of the cats’ environment” instead of only using it for “scary” circumstances like going to the vet.
What cat carrier is easy to get a cat into?
The best cat carrier to work with is going to be one with multiple openings rather than a crate with a single door. Choose bags with large openings that make it easier to get your cat inside without stressing them out too much. Keep the carrier out 24/7 so it’s something they’re used to and not only associating with vet visits and long car rides.
Do cats prefer covered carriers?
Every cat is different, but typically a covered carrier is best as it can lower stress levels and decrease anxiety.
Is a small or big carrier better for cats?
It’s no secret that cats usually prefer small, enclosed spaces, but that doesn’t always mean smaller is better. The amount of time they’re going to spend in the carrier should help determine the appropriate size to get. Anyone taking their feline on a long car ride should consider a bag with expandable pads that allow them to move around and stretch out if they need to. Whereas a small duffel-style bag might be ideal for short trips.
- Samantha Bell, cat expert for Best Friends Animal Society
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