Traveling with your cat? Taking it to the vet? While it may be enticing to just set your cat loose in the car, it is actually dangerous for both you and your cat to drive this way. Traveling can be very stressful for cats, so finding a way for them to be cozy and comfortable can help to reduce stress. Keeping that in mind, you’ll need to do your research to get a cat carrier to get your sweet kitty to-and-fro. And you aren’t looking for just any carrier for your special kitty companion, no — only the best cat carriers will do!
Cats are wonderful creatures that, for the most part, like to be alone. So if you are going to coax your cat into a carrier to travel, finding the best cat carrier is very important. Yes, we know — this can seem like an overwhelming task as there are so many choices out there.
We want to help make the cat carrier buying process less difficult for you, so we have done our research and put together a list of the best cat carriers available. Let’s check them out.
Our Top Picks: Best Cat Carriers
Here’s a quick overview of our favorite carriers:
- Best Overall: Petmate See & Extend Dog & Cat Carrier Bag. The Petmate Carrier holds up to 15 pounds and has multiple openings. It also comes with a soft fleece interior to keep your kitty cozy.
- Best for Nervous Cats: Pet Magasin Collapsible Dog & Cat Carrier Bag Hard. This top carrier has a soft, padded mat and ventilation holes to help your kitty stay comfortable and get fresh air.
- Best for Car Travel: Sherpa Delta Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag. Approved for most major airlines, you can place a travel lock on the zippers to keep your feline friend safe and secure. It also comes with two points of entry (top and bottom), and rolling shades for privacy if needed.
- Best for Large Cats: Frisco Premium Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag. Able to accommodate cats up to 22 pounds, this carrier offers both a side and top opening to easily help your cat inside.
- Best for Long Road Trips: Necoichi Portable Stress-Free Cat Cage and Litter Box Set. When traveling lost distances, your kitty is sure to need to use the restroom. This carrier comes complete with a travel litter box to meet those needs.
- Best for Two Cats: One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter. This carrier offers two separate areas for the cats, which can be taken down if you want both cats to be together.
1. Petmate See & Extend Dog & Cat Carrier Bag
The best best cat carrier overall
Brand: Petmate | Weight Limit: 15 Lbs. | Points of Entry: 3 | Type: Soft | Price: 💰💰
Petmate makes a wide range of highly ranked pet products, and the Petmate See & Extend Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is no exception.
This carrier has three points of entry, giving you multiple ways to get your cat into the carrier. A great feature of this carrier is the expandable, zip-out vestibule offers additional space for your furry friend. In terms of safety, there is a tether inside of the carrier that you can use to keep your cat stable. Externally, there are loops that allow you to put a seatbelt through the carrier that will help keep your cat carrier from moving around in the car. Finally, the ultra-soft fleece pad is sure to make your cat feel nice and cozy! Bonus, the pad is removable, making it easy to keep it clean.
- Mesh material allows for breathability
- Extendable area gives cats more room to stretch
- Multiple entries give owners options on how to get the cat inside
- The shoulder strap isn’t as comfortable as it looks
- The carrier is not very sturdy, collapsing on itself if the sides are not zipped
2. Pet Magasin Collapsible Dog & Cat Carrier Bag
The best cat carrier for nervous cats
Brand: Pet Magasin | Weight Limit: 15 Lbs. | Points of Entry: 2 | Type: Soft | Price: 💰
Cats can easily get anxious, especially when they leave the comforts of their home. Finding a good carrier that makes it easy to get your cat into and provides them a sense of security is helpful for your travel companion. This carrier has a hard top and bottom, which can provide your cat with a sense of security, knowing the base and top won’t collapse on them. The padded mat can provide a sense of warmth and make their stay in the kennel cozy. The mesh door allows your pet to be able to see outside, and the breathable vent holes truly help with air circulation.
- Collapsible and easy to store
- The material makes the carrier easy to clean
- Can be difficult to put together
- Might be cramped for larger/fluffier cats
3. Sherpa Dog & Cat Carrier Bag
The best cat carrier for car travel
Brand: Sherpa | Weight Limit: 16 Lbs. | Points of Entry: 2 | Type: Soft | Price: 💰💰
Want your cat to be cozy on your car trip? The faux lambskin liner will provide a soft place for your cat to rest. Additionally, it is hypoallergenic for our cat friends with sensitivities. Not only will your cat be cozy, but they can have some privacy while they rest because this carrier includes roll-down flaps to darken the carrier. The included seatbelt strap ensures that your cat carrier will stay securely on the seat of your car and not end up on the floor during the trip, making this one the best cat carrier for car travel.
- Sturdy materials
- Value for the price
- Sherpa padded insert
- Zipper breaks easily
- Does not fit under the seats of all major airlines; check dimensions in advance
4. Frisco Premium Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag
The best cat carrier for large cats
Brand: Frisco | Weight Limit: 22 Lbs. | Points of Entry: 2 | Type: Soft | Price: 💰💰
The floor in this carrier is covered with a washable sherpa material, making any trips your cat takes comfortable (bonus — it is easy for you to clean)! Mesh panels on the side provide for great visibility and breathability while carrying your kitty. The top and side entries give you multiple options for getting your cat inside of the bag, making this the best cat carrier for large cats.
- Ability to hold larger cats
- Removable, soft sherpa insert
- Zippers that lock from the outside
- Factory smell takes time to dissipate
- Cats may be able to escape by clawing at the mesh
5. Necoichi Portable Stress-Free Cat Cage and Litter Box Set
The best cat carrier for long trips
Brand: Necoichi | Weight Limit: 30 Lbs. | Points of Entry: 2 | Type: Soft | Price: 💰💰
Unlike dogs, you can’t make a pit stop to take your cat for a walk during your road trip if they’ve gotta go! This cage is not only spacious, featuring two compartments that allow your cat to move around, but it also comes with a litter box. The litter box has a snap lid to keep it covered to avoid spillage when on the go. A soft fleece pad provides comfort, and roller shades on the side can provide your cat with some privacy.
- Two points of entry
- Seatbelt holders provide safety
- Not particularly sturdy
- Litter box may be too small for larger cats
6. One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter
The best cat carrier for two cats
Brand: One for Pets | Weight Limit: 30 Lbs. | Points of Entry: 1 | Type: Soft | Price: 💰💰💰
Perfect for travel with two cats, this carrier features the ability to detach the carriers and carry them as two separate ones or keep them together. When attached, there are carry straps on both sides that help carry both cats when moving them. Mesh on both sides allows cats the opportunity to see outside. The center zipper can be down, providing them the opportunity to share the space, or zipped up for some separation when necessary. Lightweight, this carrier comes with a storage case allowing you to fold it down and tuck it away when not in use.
- Sturdy design
- Enough room for cats to walk around
- The option to use as one carrier or zip together for a double-carrier
- Clever cats may be able to get out
- Large size takes up most of the backseat in a car
What to Look for in the Best Cat Carriers
You know your cat best, and choosing the right carrier depends on what you think your cat will need on your trip.
When considering what you need to carry your kitty companion, ask yourself:
- What size carrier will you need for your cat? You want them to be able to sit, stand, and turn around in the carrier but not have so much space that they will slide around in there.
- How far are you traveling? If it is a quick trip, then you can move on to the next question, but if you are going far — your cat will need to eat. Be sure to choose a carrier that allows for a small food and water bowl.
- What type of carrier do you want? Rather, what kind of carrier does your cat want? There are both hard and soft cat carriers and even fancy ones that have wheels on them!
If you know that your cat is hard to coax into a carrier, choosing one with multiple points of entry is best. If you know that your cat gets nervous, consider one with a roll-down shade so that you can give them a nice, cozy carrying space. Whichever you choose, we know making sure that your cat is safe and comfortable along your journey is your top priority!
For this guide on cat carriers, our researchers spent hours combing through cat carriers made by a wide range of manufacturers. We also read through the reviews for each carrier to see what reviewers loved and hated about each model. Finally, we narrowed our list down to these 6 carriers to share in an effort to help you make the best decision.