Best Cat Carrier Reviews – Top 10 Models in 2019
10 Cat Carriers That Users And I Recommend
A buddy recently asked me, ‘What is the best cat carrier?’ Having been a cat guardian for the past decade and having lived with 9 felines, four of which had a nasty crate hate, I have certainly dealt with my share of carriers.
Some of these experiences were marred by escape attempts, injured kitties, uncomfortable shoulder pads, cats acting paranoid and the carrier beginning to give away after barely a week of use.
It may seem like a simple decision, but cat carriers are a very specialized piece of equipment. A lot of people still rely on the old hard plastic case that just lets the kitty stand upright during travel. And without sounding blasphemous, it is a poor choice for a cat carrier, especially when the market is teeming with choices.
Plastic is passé. Fabric makes life easier for your kitty and it also folds up fitting neatly into a tiny corner when not in use.
I have lined up 10 of the best cat carriers in the market for you. Some of these, I have used myself. Others have come highly recommended from fellow feline folks for the quality and their features. And to ensure that you find one that fits right into your scheme of things, I have kept the list as diverse as I can.
The 10 Best Cat Carrier Reviews
Without further ado, here’s the Best cat carrier reviews for you.
1. SturdiBag Large Flexible Height Pet Carrier
SturdiBag is one of the most popular names that you will come across when you venture to shop for the best cat carrier for airplane. And it is not without reason either. This beautifully designed cat carrier resembles a duffel bag, is large and roomy and has enough features to make it a smooth transition for both, your cat and yourself.
Constructed from 600 Denier Polyester, which is one of the most durable fabrics in the world, the Sturdibag pet carrier is designed to last forever. It has a flexible height design which lets you adjust the size according to your pet’s body allowing them enough room to sit, stand or lie down without feeling claustrophobic.
Despite the innocuous appearance, the sturdibag can accommodate pets that are up to 50 pounds in weight. The interior is lined with a comfortable fleece pad that keeps your pet warm and cozy.
If your cat prefers its privacy, then the Sturdibag comes with retractable privacy flaps. It can easily be slipped under your seat in the cabin and most people would never know that your pet is accompanying you in flight.
The Best Features
- Durable and rugged exteriors with 600 Denier Polyester fabric
- Roomy and spacious interiors
- Flexible height design
- Can accommodate pets up to 50 pounds
- Comfortable interiors lined with fleece pad
- A tether that can be hooked with your cat’s harness (For escape artists)
- Leather hand grip for lifting it easily and a 4-point padded shoulder strap that stays in place even when you are moving
- Zippers with security clips
What could be better
- It does take some amount of time for assembly. Not that it is too difficult. But an easier to assemble bag is always welcome.
Verdict: Looking for the best airline approved cat carrier? Look no further. The Sturdibag is comfortable, durable and discreet. Highly recommended!
2. U-pet Innovative Patent Bubble Pet Carriers
Well, whoever said that cat carriers needed to look mundane? Our #2 pick is the U-Pet Bubble pet carrier that resembles a space shuttle, complete with a semi spherical window that lets your cat take a peep at the outside world. To be honest, it was the patent pending design that caught my attention. The Upet bubble cat carrier looks absolutely stunning. And it is available in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes all with one thing in common, the semi-spherical window.
But upon a closer look, I discovered a very versatile pet carrier that works perfectly in a variety of situations including car travel and long distance travel.
It is designed to accommodate pets that are up to 16 pounds only. So, if you are looking for the best cat carrier for large cats, then take a look at our #1 pick, the sturdibag instead.
But if you have a normal sized cat, then the Upet is one of the best cat carrier for long car travel with. It has an integrated security leash that will prevent escape artists from getting out the crate enroute. A mesh panel and ventilation holes keep the carrier airy.
To allow easy access to your pet if they get stressed, the Upet features both top and side entries.
- Very attractive design with a semi-spherical window
- Available in a variety of colors and shapes
- Integrated security measures
- Multiple access points
- Ideal for pets up to 16 pounds
- Approved in most airline cabins
- Soft washable padded interiors
What could be better
- You might discover that this is a tad cramped for your pet. I couldn’t accommodate Alex, my 17 pound Maine Coon in the bag. But Jermaine, my 14 pound American Bobtail fight right in. So ensure that you are aware of the dimensions before you buy it.
Verdict: The Upet Bubble Pet carrier is undoubtedly the best small cat carrier in this list. And it has a stunningly beautiful design thrown in for good measure.
3. Pet Gear No-Zip Special Edition Pet Stroller
I have a British Longhair who goes by the name of Furby and she loves taking a stroll around the neighborhood. The caveat is that she’s 12 and has severe arthritis making it impossible to cajole her into a cat carrier. So, in came the special edition pet stroller from Pet Gear and it has been a lifesaver. I can safely say that this is the best cat carrier for walking.
Resembling a baby stroller pram, the cat stroller from Pet Gear is comfortable to move around, is safe and is suitable for pets that are up to 45 pounds in weight.
The best part is that it has a No-Zip entry that lets you remove or place your pet without having to struggle opening zippers. An easy-to-open lock gives you access to your pet and also ensures that any escape attempts they make are foiled.
The exterior of the pet stroller is made from 600 Denier polyester which is waterproof and incredibly rugged. It has a see through design that lets your pet enjoy the view as you move around the neighborhood. The interior is lined with a soft fabric.
The Pet Stroller has 19 inch wide handles which make it easy to control. Swivelling front wheels with an integrated wheel lock allow you to maneuver it even on bumpy terrain.
The Best features
- Beautifully designed to resemble a baby pram
- Made from 600 denier polyester fabric
- No-Zip entry
- Swiveling front wheels with a wheel lock
- Safety brakes on the rear wheel
- Ideal for pets that are up to 45 pounds
- Wide strolling handles
- Collapsible design
What could be better
- Once again, the only nit that I could pick with the Pet Gear Pet Stroller is that it does take some amount of work to assemble.
An extrapair of hands will make it a lot easier than going alone at it.
Verdict: The Pet Gear Pet Stroller is the best cat carrier on wheels. You can even use it for your puppies or small sized dogs if they are unable to walk around on their own. It is comfortable, easy to maneuver and will fit right into the trunk of your car when folded.
4. Petmate Sky Kennel
Despite all the innovative choices and the wide range of design options, some people still prefer the stability and the time tested design of a hard plastic cat carrier. My #4 best cat carrier in this list is the Petmate Sky Kennel. Despite the barebones design, the Sky Kennel has been one of Pet Mate’s flagship offerings that continue to outsell a lot of newer models in the market.
The reason is because it is as durable as they come, is spacious and airy and will keep your pet safe during air travel.
The Sky Kennel is made from heavy duty plastic that does not get scratched, worn or bent easily. During car travel, this will protect your pets from impacts and injuries. It has a wire mesh design that gives your pets a 360 degree view of the surroundings making it the best cat carrier for nervous cats.
Your pet stays happy making the travel easier for you.
The Wire doors on the Sky Kennel interlock with each other and there are latches to further beef up the security. But if you need to evacuate your pet from the crate, you can do it in a jiffy.
All the wing nuts on this cat carrier are made from plastic which prevents corrosion.
The interior is lined with a soft absorbent pad, water cups and a food cup that keeps your pet comfortable during long travel.
The best features
- Made from extremely durable heavy duty plastic
- 360 degree wired mesh design
- Wired interlocking doors with latches for further security
- Live Animal sticker to allow easy identification
- Available in a variety of sizes that can accommodate pets up to 90 pounds in the largest sized option
- Includes water and food cup holders
- Made in the USA
- Airline approved
What could be better
- Despite trying my best, I couldn’t find a flaw with the Sky Kennel. If you are aware of the right dimensions to order, you
cannot gowrong with this hard sidedcat carrier.
Verdict: The Sky Kennel from Pet Mate is hands down one of the forerunners for best cat carrier in the market currently.
5. Soothing “Happy Cat” Soft Sided Cat Carrier
The popularity of soft sided cat carriers has increased manifold after it was noted that some cats tend to get anxious in hard sided cases during travel. This soft sided cat carrier from PetLuv is one of the top rated products in the market that is perfect for use as a cat carrier or even as a napping place for your kitties.
For starters, it has 99% positive customer ratings on online retail portals. In a market that has thousands of soft sided cat carriers, that rating is no mean feat.
As the name suggests, this is a soothing cat carrier which has one of the softest cat beds that I have ever seen. That is one of the reasons that cats take a liking to it right away. Don’t be surprised at all even if the most stubborn kitty you have seen walks right in and sleeps in the cat bed in this happy cat carrier.
It has a heavy duty steel frame with soft but durable Nylon Canvas sides. So, if you are not using it, the frame can be collapsed and stored away safely.
Irrespective of whether you have a privacy finicky cat or one that prefers panoramic views, the soothing soft sided cat carrier is a great choice for you. It has multiple privacy settings. You can fully roll up the sides making it open from all directions, use the hypoallergenic PVC mesh only which keeps it airy and bright or close it completely keeping your cat hidden away from prying eyes.
The Best features
- Soft-sided cat carrier with heavy duty steel frame
- Large and roomy
- Ideal for cats who are up to 60 pounds in weight
- Multiple privacy choices
- Ventilated sides to keep it airy
- Hypoallergenic PVC mesh
- The Super soft and luxurious pillow that cats love
What could be better
- Once again, we have a flawlessly designed cat carrier. Despite pondering and analyzing it from all corners, I couldn’t find a single flaw with this.
Verdict: The Soothing Happy Cat carrier from Pet Luv is the best soft sided cat carrier in the market currently. It is ideal for cats with different temperaments, is easy to transport and is extremely durable. Your cat will love it for sure.
6. Pet Travel Carrier with Privacy Covers by Prefer Pets
A duffel bag styled cat carrier is just perfect for air travel. It is discreet, easy to carry and gives enough room for your cat to sit, stand or sleep and can easily be accommodated into the cabin in-flight. But the ease of carrying it makes it a great choice even for a short trip to the vet or a stroll around the neighborhood.
My #6 choice in this list of the best cat carrier probables, is the Pet Travel Carrier with Privacy Covers by Prefer Pets. This Tote styled cat carrier is as discreet as they come and will accommodate your cat of up to 13 pounds.
It is 17 inches in Length and 12 inches in height which makes it perfect for a variety of cat breeds. As the name suggests, this is a dream carrier for cats who get paranoid with a lot of people around. Just roll down the privacy curtains and your kitty will sleep through the journey thanks to the soft and luxurious poly fleece base liner.
At the same time, you can be rest assured about your pet’s safety as the Pet Travel Carrier also includes a detachable safety hook for connecting your harness. Carrying this cat carrier is as easy as it gets. The Velcro handles are extremely comfortable to lift and it also features a detachable shoulder strap with plush padding. It reduces strain on your shoulders and doubles up as a restraint that can be attached to the car headrest while travelling in a car.
- Duffel bag styled design with multiple access points
- Mesh design sides which keep it airy and bright
- Soft and padded interiors
- Detachable harness hook
- Side pocket for storing kitty essentials
- Easy to carry with Velcro handles and padded shoulder straps
What could be better
- A couple of cat guardians who use thie Pet Travel Carrier from Prefer Pets were not too pleased with the shoulder straps. They felt that it was a mismatch to the size of the carrier. But this was only a couple of people. The Pet Travel Carrier has a great customer rating otherwise.
Verdict: The design, the safety features and the privacy options make this the best cat carrier for long distance travel.
7. Petmate 21787 Curvations Cat and Dog Retreat Kennel
If the most that your cat travels is to the vet or to the groomers, then my #7 pick in this list of best cat carrier choices will be perfect for you. This is the Petmate 21787 Cat and Dog retreat kennel. It has a simple but very stylish design, 360 degree ventilation and most importantly, a very attractive price tag.
Made of a durable nylon fabric with plush and soft interiors, the Petmate Curvations Cat Kennel is a cozy and comfortable resting place and travel crate for your cat. Unlike hard plastic cases, this minimizes anxiety in cats. And if your cat decides to show displeasure by soiling the bed inside, you can machine wash it and dry it in a jiffy.
The stowaway design allows you to store it away when it is not in use.
Unlike some of the cheap cat carriers that I have used, the Curvations Cat and Dog Kennel has four feet on the bottom which keeps it stable on the ground. This is a tiny but very useful feature especially during car travel.
- Stylish gray and black polka dotted design
- Compact and easy to stow away
- 360-degree ventilation
- Mesh design on the sides
- The soft and plush pad on the interior which is machine washable
- Great pricing
What could be better
- The zipped doors are not the easiest to open with one hand. You will need to use both the hands which may not be practical during car travel. Also, if your pet likes to gorge on their kibbles and gains a few extra pounds, this cat carrier may not be able to sustain the weight.
Verdict: If you are looking for the best type of cat carrier for short distance travel without spending too much, go for the curvations cat and dog kennel from Petmate. It is ideal if your pet weighs under 10 pounds only though.
8. Petsfit Expandable Foldable Washable Travel Carrier
Your cat will love every bit of extra room that they get during long travel hours. The Petsfit Expandable Travel Carrier does just that without adding to the size of the bag and complying with most airline cabin luggage requirements.
How does it do that? It has a very innovative design that lets you expand the space in the bag on-the-fly. The Petsfit Travel Carrier features side porches which can be unzipped to open them making the bag really wide. Do it periodically during travel to give your pets some much needed respite and allowing them to stretch their limbs.
What’s more, this is also the best cat carrier for two cats provided that they are a small sized breed and not hyperactive during travel. The top access door makes it easy to place the cat(s) into the carrier and get them out if they show signs of stress.
The 600D Oxford fabric with 230D polyester lining makes this one of the most durable cat carriers in the market. You can be rest assured that the stitching will not rip or tear and will hold up well even with months of use.
Everything from the fiberglass rods used in the frame to the metal sliders and nylon teeth zippers are premium quality and designed to last for a long time.
- Durable Oxford Fabric and 230D Polyester lining
- Mesh design on the sides for ventilation
- Two access doors
- Premium quality components
- Unique design that lets you expand the size and use it even for two cats if need be
What could be better
- The dimensions are 19 inches Long, 12 inches Wide,12 inches tall and,33 inches Wide when the sides are expanded. That may not comply with all airlines especially if you are travelling economy. Ensure that you are aware of the size requirements for the airlines that you are travelling in.
Verdict: The Expandable cat carrier from Petsfit is quite popular among the pet owners community. If you are looking for an extra large cat carrier for your travel, then this is one of the best choices you have.
9. Soft Sided Pet Carrier [Airline-Approved]
I hate to label any product that I buy as a low or budget priced option because people mistake it to be of questionable quality. This soft sided dog carrier from Pet Magasin, for example, has an under $30 price tag. Do not be fooled into thinking that the price has anything to do with the quality. This is one of our most popular choices for the best cat carrier for car travel in the market currently.
It is a soft sided cat carrier made from waterproof nylon and featuring plush padded interiors that keep your pet stable and comfortable during travel. Unlike hard floored crates, your pet will not slide or get tossed around even when the carrier is placed under your seat.
The dimensions are 18 inches in length x 11 in height x 10 inches wide which is just perfect for most cat breeds. When not in use, just unzip it to store away comfortably. If your cat has a habit of making a dash for it when you open the crate, an integrated harness hook allows you to keep them securely restrained.
Last but not the least; you have multiple options to carry it. There’s a suitcase styled handle and a plush padded shoulder strap that lets you haul it over long distances without straining your shoulders or arms.
- Unbeatable value with an under $30 price tag
Soft sidedcat carrier that is airline-approved
- Comfortable interior padding
- Mesh design for ventilation
- Carry handle and adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying
- Integrated harness hook
- 100% money back guarantee
What could be better
- If you have wolverine for a pet at home that likes to claw its way out of carriers and crates, then this may not be able to sustain the onslaught. But if you have a pet that sleeps like a dream once crated, this is as good a top opening cat carrier as any.
Verdict: This is a very versatile budget priced cat carrier that can be used for both air travel as well as the occasional trip to the vet’s. It is not a large cat carrier though.
10. Petmate Two Door Top Load Kennel
The final pick in my list of the best cat carriers is this hard plastic case with Petmate that features two doors on the top for easy access to your pets. If you have ever struggled with zippers or single doors that leave very little room for you to lift your pet out or place it in, then this is just what you need.
Made from the same heavy duty plastic as most of pet mate’s pet carriers, this is a very durable pet kennel that is designed for long term use. The construction is a blend of steel, plastic and wire. Cat guardians have used it for years without any problems whatsoever and it takes very little maintenance.
A latch on the steel front door (for kitties that prefer walking into the crate than being airlifted and placed inside) will keep your pet secure.
If you choose the largest sized option, then you can easily accommodate even two cats at the same time in this carrier. The inner dimensions are 22″ long x 13 1/2 high and 13 inch wide giving your pets ample room to move about without feeling cramped.
- Durable hard plastic construction
- Steel front door with a latch
- Two door
top loadingdesign for easy placement of the pet into the carrier
- Large and roomy interiors which can even be used for two adult cats (small sized breeds only)
What could be better
- All the metal and heavy plastic make this a tad heavier than what you’d like to carry around for a long time. But that only reassures you about the quality of this amazingly well built cat carrier.
Verdict: Prefer a time-tested hard plastic top loading cat carrier? Go for the two door pet kennel from Petmate. It has been around for years now and has a proven track record.
How to Choose a Cat Carrier For Your Cat
First time cat guardians often get confused about selecting the right cat carrier for their pets. If you are finding yourself scratching your head in confusion, then here’s a small guide that will help you understand what factors to look for while shopping for cat carriers.
- Intended use: If you are looking to travel with your pet in an airline, then look
for airlineapproved cat carriers. Different airlines may have different sizingrequirements. So ensure that you are aware of the allowed size.
There arehard plastic cases and soft sidedcarriers. Hard plastic cases are consideredto be more durable than soft sidedones. But cats are usually morecomfortable in soft sided ones.
The sizingis the part that most pet parents get wrong. Always ensure that thereis enough room for your pet to stand up, sit comfortably and lie down. Measure your pet from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and whenthey are standing upright.
- Carrying options: What do you find comfortable while carrying the
cat carrier? Most cat carriers have multiple options including handles and shoulderstraps.
If yourcat likes to play Houdini, look for cat carriers with a secure lockingmechanism and a harness hook to restraint the pet during car travel.
That just about sums it up. Our #1 pick, the SturdiBag Large Flexible Height Cat Carrier ticks all the right boxes, has a flawless reputation among pet owners and is as feature rich as they come. So does our #3 pick, the Pet Gear No-Zip Special Edition Cat Carrier.
Irrespective of which one you pick based on your intended usage, you absolutely cannot go wrong with these.
I hope this helps you make an informed choice. Happy travel with your pet in the best cat carrier!