What we looked for in cat carriers
There is a huge scope of choice out there for prospective cat carrier buyers, but depending on your lifestyle and your cat, there are a few things you have to look out for.
You want a size perfect for your cat. Not too small so they don’t have enough room to move and make themselves comfortable, but not too big so they are being thrown around when you’re carrying the box.
As a general rule, it should be around 1.5x the size of your kitty. Take all measurements, including standing height and full length, then add around 2 inches on. If you want to bulk up the inside with blankets and towels, take these into account too. We tried to find a range of cat carrier sizes for you to choose from, but some of our highest-rated picks could be extended.
Some carriers are limited in terms of the weight they can hold. Not all cats weigh the same even if they are the same size, and if your carrier is slightly flimsy or thin this could be an issue. Durability is a huge factor, and it could be worth spending that bit more to ensure the best quality. We opted for cat carriers which had great reviews in terms of strength and quality.
Where will you be keeping the box when not in use? As well as checking for size in terms of internal capacity, think about whether you have the space to comfortably store the carrier. If it is a concern, a foldable fabric option could be good, and luckily we found many which easily made it into our top 10.
Remember that, unfortunately, you may need to grab the carrier ASAP should you need an emergency trip to the vet. You don’t want to store it in the loft or somewhere out of reach which could delay you or be hard to get to.
Fabric is harder to clean versus a plastic carrier, however. So, if your cat gets travel sick or is prone to nervous accidents, you may want to choose one of our top picks for the best traditional plastic cat carriers instead.
We looked for carriers with plenty of ventilation, but where this wasn’t a safety risk. So, if it has a mesh window, the material needs to be thick to prevent cats from scratching or chewing their way through. If it is a plastic carrier with gaps in the sides and door, these gaps can’t be too large as to get paws trapped but need to be large enough to allow airflow and visibility. All these things were analysed by us.
We’ve also looked at variation when it comes to entrances. The way your kitty gets into their carrier could be a massive factor, especially if they are nervous or know that it means they are going to a vet or cattery. So, a carrier with a really big door that they can go through themselves as opposed to having to be lowered into could make a huge difference. Or, why not opt for a tunnel entrance which makes things a bit more fun?!
You’ll likely put yourself second, but you do need to think about how you want to carry the carrier. Are you going on long journeys or a quick nip into the vet from the car? Do you want a handle or a shoulder strap? Where will you be putting it if you are travelling in the car? Again, the range was important for us to find here, but all have reviews stating they’re comfortable to carry and hold.
Is your cat a ninja? If so, one zip or a simple clip fastening may not be enough to keep them inside. Accidents can also happen, from forgetting to seal it up to materials breaking. Ensure a bit of a double barrier if you feel your kitty could try to escape. We’ve looked for high security across the board, as even the calmest of cats need it.
Also, think about how they will be transported. If in a car, there are belt attachments to keep them secure.