Best Cat Carriers: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Do you travel a lot with your cat? Using a cat carrier can be a great way to keep your cat safe and comfortable while you’re on the road.

They are also very useful when taking your cat to the veterinarian or during emergency situations where you have to carry your pet.

Traveling with a cat carrier, though, might end up being a stressful experience both for you and your cat if you get the wrong one. Your cat won’t be comfortable in a carrier that’s too small, or not properly ventilated.

And if you’re traveling by plane, you certainly will not appreciate finding out that your carrier isn’t airline approved when you’re already at the airport.

To help you find the right carrier for your cat, we’ve put together this detailed guide. Below, we’ll look at the different types of cat carriers out there, the top 7 options to consider right now, and the important factors to keep in mind when shopping for the best cat carrier. Let’s get started.

Different Types of Cat Carriers

Hard Plastic Carriers

Hard carriers are made of plastic and are secure and easy to handle. These carriers are ideal for cat owners that don’t travel very often with their cats. They’re more robust and better able to handle clawing and chewing than soft carriers. However, they are heavier to carry and can’t be tucked under the seat of an airplane as carry-on luggage.

On the positive side, hard carriers are very easy to clean and more secure than soft carriers. So if your cat often has accidents due to nervousness, you can easily clean it with a cloth, soap and water and dry it in the sun.

Soft Carriers

Soft cat carrier bags are lightweight cat carriers that are easy to transport when compared to hard carriers, in addition most of them have a shoulder strap.

This type is is better for cat owners who travel often with their pets. You can easily slide a soft cat carrier bag under your seat when you travel by plane.

However, soft carriers are more difficult to clean than hard carriers. They’re also less likely to withstand chewing and scratching and are easier to escape from than hard carriers.

Roller Carriers and Backpacks

Roller carriers and backpacks are great for individuals who want to carry their cats along when they go for walks or hikes.

They are often built with comfortable interiors and a lot of storage space for other essential cat care items. Some  can easily be converted into backpacks. 

The only major disadvantage of roller carriers is that some cats may be scared by the sound of the wheels rolling over uneven surfaces. This will make the trip more stressful, and your cats won't like being carried inside.

The Top 7 Cat Carriers You Can Buy

1. Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Cat Carrier

Editor's Rating: 4.7/5 Overall Score

The Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier is one of the best cat carriers for just about anyone looking to travel with a cat. It’s convenient, easy to carry, and comfortable for cats. This product features a high-quality build and a nice design. It has mesh windows for much needed ventilation and privacy flaps, which will help keep your cat calm.

This product is approved for use on most airlines. It comes with a patented spring wire frame that allows you to adjust its height to conform to the under-seat requirements of whatever plane you’re flying on. 

In addition, the cat carrier features a no-slip shoulder strap that’s padded and adjustable, side pockets where you can store treats or anything else, a seat belt strap, and a machine washable faux lambskin liner. Your cat can enter the carrier through the top and the side and there are locking zippers to keep it secure once in.

The carrier is ideal for pets weighing up to 16 pounds. It comes in various colors and sizes (small, medium, large), so you can find one that you like the best, plus it comes with a reasonably affordable price tag. 

It has numerous customer reviews on Amazon and a high star rating. If you’re looking for a durable, high-quality cat carrier to enable you travel with your cat in style and comfort, then this product is a great option to consider.

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2. PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Soft Sided Foldable Top & Side Loading Pet Carrier & Travel Crate

PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier
4.6 star

Editor's Rating: 4.6/5 Overall Score

Another excellent option to consider is the PetLuv Happy Cat carrier. It features a roomy design, optimum ventilation with windows on all sides, a tear resistant rubber mesh, and closeable flaps. Your cat can get into the carrier very easily through the top opening or any of the four windows.

The PetLuv Happy Cat carrier features seatbelt straps for additional safety during car rides as well as locking zippers and reinforced seams. It is very easy to carry and comes with adjustable shoulder straps. It also comes with a plush bed which might help to reduce your cat’s anxiety. The bed is removable and can be washed easily.

The product comes in various sizes ranging from small to medium-large. There’s also an option with wheels which is great if you want to take your cat on walks. It lets you adjust the experience to suit your cat’s needs with the windows which can be left completely open, covered with the mesh cover or with completely closed with the flaps.

The PetLuv Happy Cat carrier has a high customer rating on Amazon and a plethora of positive reviews. It comes in three colors: Navy Blue, Red, and Tan. It’s decently priced for the features you’ll be getting. If you’re looking for a cat carrier product that ticks most of the right boxes, PetLuv Happy Cat Pet Carrier is worthy of your consideration.

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3. Pet Magasin Airline Approved Soft-Sided Cat Carrier

Pet Magasin Airline Approved Cat Carrier - Water Resistant, Collapsible, Soft-Sided Kennel for Cats
4.5 star

Editor's Rating: 4.5/5 Overall Score

The Pet Megasin Soft-Sided Cat Carrier is a colorful, can be folded and comes at a reasonable price. It weights just 2.2 pounds. It features an adjustable padded shoulder strap and a carry handle. It can also be folded flat when not in use.

All of this makes it an excellent option to if portability matters a lot to you. It features comfortable padding on the inside, and a mesh window for adequate ventilation. 

It is made from waterproof material making it very easy to clean. It’s also very durable and sturdy and will withstand wear and tear for quite a while.

This carrier is approved for travelling by different airlines, and can easily be tucked under-seat during a flight. It also features a side pouch where you can store your cat’s items. It has an inner belt which you can clip to your cat’s collar.

The Pet Megasin Soft-Sided cat carrier comes in four different color options, all of which are colorful and stylish. It comes in at a very affordable price and has many positive customer reviews on Amazon. If you care a lot about style, affordability, and portability, the Pet Megasin is one of the best cat carriers you can find. 

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4. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Cat Travel Carrier
4.5 star

Editor's Rating: 4.5/5 Overall Score

Another rather affordable, yet fully equipped cat carrier is the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier. The product comes in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. However, you only get one color option, which is black.

The AmazonBasics Soft-Sided cat carrier features carrying handles and shoulder straps that are adjustable for easy carrying. The product should fit under-seat in most airlines. It features a spring wire frame which should allow it conform to the under-seat dimensions of most major airlines.

The carrier also features a fleece pet bed which is machine washable. There are mesh panels on all sides for ventilation and two openings for entry: on the top and on the front side. Double zippers on the top and a zipper on the front side help to ensure that the openings are securely closed during travel.

The AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Travel carrier is backed by a 1-year limited warranty. It comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. It has very nice reviews from satisfied customers on Amazon and a high average star rating. It’s light, affordable, durable, well made, and portable. If you’re looking to save money without compromising on quality, you’ll do well to check out this AmazonBasics cat carrier product.

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5. SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier

SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier Plastic

Editor's Rating: 4.5/5 Overall Score

If you’ve got a nervous cat, you’ll want to take a close look at the SportPet Designs Foldable Cat Carrier. It features a smart design that’ll enable you get your cat to enter it very easily. It has a unique door on the side, rather than on the front or top and, thus, your cat won’t feel hesitant when entering it.

It is made from hard plastic material. However, it features an optional soft, plush bed on the inside. The bed is machine washable and dryer friendly. Despite being made of plastic, this product can be folded flat for easy storage. It has a comfortable grip handle and durable clasps.

Keep in mind, though, that the SportPet Designs carrier is not ideal for use on planes as it won’t fit under most airline seats. However, if you plan on using it mainly for car or train travel, then it’s an excellent product to consider. 

If you’ve tried to get your cat to stay calm in a carrier without success, the SportPet Designs carrier might be the solution you need. There are many reviews from customers on Amazon who finally succeeded with this product after trying out other options. The carrier is quite affordable and has a high average customer rating on Amazon. Check it out if you’ve got a nervous cat.

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6. PetAmi Premium Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs

PetAmi Premium Pet Carrier Backpack for Small Cats and Dogs

Editor's Rating: 4.5/5 Overall Score

Some cat owners want to have a carrier, that can be used for different outdoor travel experiences, for example hiking. Having a backpack that can carry and hold your feline comfortably is one of the best ways to enjoy hiking or other outdoor trips, or simply to go to the vet.

The PetAmi Premium Pet Carrier has well ventilated design, with mesh fabric on the top, sides and front.  In addition it has soft cozy Sherpa lining bedding, so your cat can rest and relax during the trip.

It comes with a handy collapsible water bowl, so you can give your cat water and keep it hydrated. It's size makes it suitable for small cats and dogs. It's made of durable polyester and you can choose from 7 different colors, so you're sure to find a color that you like the best. 

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7. AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Carrier - For Large Cats

AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

Editor's Rating: 4.4/5 Overall Score

If you have a large cat at home, it's best to get a carrier that is large and spacious. This one is a great choice, because it measures: 23 inches x 15 inches x 13 inches.

There are two doors, one on the front and one on the top, which makes entering and getting out easier and move convenient.  Getting your cat inside easily, helps promote a less stressful experience while they are inside.  It's made of durable plastic, and can withstand heavy duty use.

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What to Consider Before Choosing a Cat Carrier


When shopping for a cat carrier, you should look for a product that is made from quality materials and won’t fall apart quickly. An ideal cat carrier should have a sturdy bottom that can hold your cat’s weight. Ensure that the zips are sturdy and that the handles are thick and strong. 


Your cat carrier choice should be large enough to accommodate your pet comfortably. It should have enough space to enable your cat to stand up, lie down, and turn around without cortorting its body. To ensure that you get a carrier that’s the right size for your cat, measure your cat and compare the results to the dimensions of the product you’re looking at.


Most of the time they are made of thick fabric and have mesh windows for ventilation. Almost all models have mesh on the top or sides, this allows you to check up on your feline and allows for air to go in and out.

You can also find plastic carriers, which will protect your feline more while travelling. 

Airline approved

If you’re planning to travel with your cat by plane, make sure you look for a cat carrier product that is airline approved. It’s wise to check the guidelines and requirements of your airline before making a purchase as requirements vary across airlines. You should also ensure that your carrier is the right size to fit under your seat on the plane.


If you’re going to transport your cat carrier frequently, you should consider getting a product that scores high on portability. Look for products that come with carry handles and feature adjustable shoulder straps. Some cat carriers can also fold flat so that they can be stored easily.

Easy to clean

If you get a hard carrier, ensure that it has smooth surfaces on the interior that won’t trap dirt over time and that can be easily wiped out. While soft carriers are harder to clean, it helps a lot if they have machine-washable removable padding.

best cat carrier

Cat Carriers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should my cat stay in the carrier?

If you’re going on a short trip, you can leave your cat in the carrier for the entire duration of the trip. However, if your trip will last a couple hours, you should take your cat out occasionally for short breaks. Your cat can use these breaks to eat, drink, and urinate using its litter box.

How to get your cat inside the carrier?

Many owners are faced with the problem that their cat doesn't want to enter the carrier at all. And the more they push them, the more difficult and stressful it will get.

One solution is to place a few treats inside, in order to get your feline interested. Also make sure you're calm and reassuring when you're trying to get them inside. 

Should I cover my cat’s carrier?

Yes. Doing so can help reduce your cat’s anxiety and stress and most cats prefer to have their carrier covered.

Can I put more than one cat in a carrier?

No. It’s not a good idea to have two cats in one carrier. The danger is that cats may get aggressive due to the stresses of traveling. So if you have two cats, you should consider getting separate carriers for each one of them.

How can I prepare my cat for travel?

First, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve selected a carrier that’ll suit your cat’s needs. Once you get your new carrier, allow your cat to get accustomed to it. Leave the carrier in a place where your cat feels comfortable. In time, you’ll find that your cat will get used to the carrier and may even sleep in it while it’s open.

You could also try tempting your cat to enter inside using treats. Allow it to enter and leave the carrier freely until it’s totally comfortable. Give the carrier a familiar scent by placing blankets, towels, and even your clothes inside.

How can I calm a nervous cat?

If you’ve got a nervous cat, be sure to give it plenty of attention while traveling. Stroke it through the openings on the carrier and keep it close to your body so it can feel your movements. 

If your carrier has privacy flaps, utilize them. You should also try covering the carrier with a blanket as doing so might help lower your cat’s anxiety.

Another way to reduce anxiety and stress when traveling, is to give your cat CBD oil. It's known to relieve stress and has a calming and relaxing effect on cats and dogs. 

Just a few drops before your trip should make your cat more relaxed and at ease during the trip. Make sure you read the instructions and you can also try out giving CBD oil to your cat several days before your trip, so you can observe and see the effect it has. 


So this has been a look at the best cat carrier products you can find today and a lot of helpful information to keep in mind when making a purchase.

Overall our number one recommendation is the Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier, which is a durable and high quality product, that can comfortably carry cats up to 16 lbs.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the guide and are now better equipped to find a cat carrier that’s right for you and your cat. So carefully consider your unique circumstances and be sure to check out the worthy options reviewed above.

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