Choosing the Purrfect Cat Carrier

Does your cat enjoy riding around? Chances are, the answer to that question is no. Most of our feline patients absolutely despise car rides! However, sooner or later, Fluffy will need to be transported. When she does, she should always be in a carrier. But what do you look for when picking a carrier? A veterinarian offers some suggestions below.


Usually, when it comes to animal housing or cages, bigger is better. That isn’t the case here, however. You don’t want to go too big. Cats can tumble around too much in large carriers. Plus, they tend to feel safest in small spaces. Of course, if the carrier is too small, your furry friend may feel trapped and frightened. As a rule of thumb, the carrier should be about 1.5 times Fluffy’s size. Your kitty should be able to sit up, turn around, and sleep in various positions, without tripping over her dishes.


Hard and soft carriers both have their own pros and cons. Nylon ones are lightweight, attractive, and easy to store. However, they do sag, and won’t really protect Fluffy from being jostled. They also don’t provide any real protection in case of an accident. Plastic ones aren’t as pretty, but they are both durable and easy to clean. You may find a carrier that opens from the top a bit easier to manage.


You can also find cardboard box carriers. These should really be considered one-time use carriers. Shelters often provide these for people to bring kitties home in. They will also work in an emergency. However, they don’t last long, fall apart if they get wet, and are easy to get out of.


Helping your feline pal form a positive impression of her carrier will definitely make things easier for you. Add some comfy bedding and some toys to the carrier, and offer Fluffy treats, praise, and catnip in it. You may want to leave it out between uses. If your kitty only sees the carrier before she goes for a dreaded car ride, she may bolt for cover as soon as she spots it!

Our Advice on Choosing the Purrfect Cat Carrier in 2024

Why is the right size carrier important for your cat?

Choosing the right size carrier for your cat is crucial because a carrier that’s too large can cause your cat to tumble around during transport, leading to stress or injury. Conversely, a carrier that’s too small can make your cat feel trapped and frightened, increasing anxiety. The ideal carrier size allows your cat to sit up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, ensuring safety and security. This balance helps maintain your cat’s comfort and reduces stress during trips, making the experience more positive for both of you.

What’s the difference between hard-sided and soft-sided carriers?

Hard-sided carriers are made of durable materials like plastic, offering sturdy protection and ease of cleaning. They’re generally more secure for travel and in case of an accident, providing better protection for your cat. Soft-sided carriers are typically made from fabrics like nylon, making them lighter and more flexible for storage and carrying. While soft carriers can be more attractive and less intimidating for your cat, they may not offer as much protection during travel and can sag, potentially making your cat feel less secure.

Should you consider the amount of ventilation when choosing a carrier?

Yes, ventilation is a key factor to consider when choosing a carrier for your cat. Adequate ventilation ensures that your cat receives enough air flow, which is essential for comfort and reducing stress during transport. Look for a carrier with multiple sides of ventilation, allowing for ample air circulation. This is especially important in preventing overheating and ensuring your cat can breathe easily, making the journey more comfortable and safer for your feline friend. A well-ventilated carrier contributes to a more pleasant travel experience for both you and your cat.

Is it better to choose a carrier with a handle, a shoulder strap, or both?

The choice between a carrier with a handle, shoulder strap, or both depends on your comfort and the size of your cat. A handle is convenient for short distances and quick trips, offering sturdy control. A shoulder strap is beneficial for longer walks, distributing the weight more evenly and allowing hands-free movement. Having both options provides flexibility in how you carry the carrier, adapting to different situations and personal preferences. Consider your cat’s weight and your own physical comfort when deciding, ensuring ease of transport for both you and your pet.

What’s the easiest way to clean a cat carrier, and how often should you do it?

The easiest way to clean a cat carrier is by using mild soap and warm water for both hard-sided and soft-sided carriers. For hard-sided carriers, scrub all surfaces and rinse thoroughly. Soft-sided carriers, if machine washable, can be laundered according to manufacturer instructions; otherwise, hand wash and air dry. Disinfecting with a pet-safe disinfectant after washing can help eliminate germs. Cleaning should be done after each use to prevent odors and bacteria build-up, ensuring a clean and comfortable environment for your cat during transport.

Please contact us, your vet clinic in Easley, SC, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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