The best cat carriers

The best cat carriers

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cat carrier buying guide


Sherpa/Business Insider


  • Travel makes many cats nervous. To keep your cat safe and secure, you need to invest in a high-quality cat carrier.
  • Cat carriers come in all shapes and sizes with different designs depending on the intended use.
  • With its durable, high-quality construction and excellent safety features, the Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier is our top pick for cat carriers. 

As much as you might like to bring your cat with you everywhere you go, travel makes many cats nervous. For some cats, simply leaving the house is cause for terror. As much as your cat may hate it, however, it becomes necessary to take your cat out of the house once in a while whether for travel or just a trip to the vet. To keep your cat safe and secure, you need to invest in a high-quality cat carrier.

Cat carriers come in all shapes and sizes with different designs depending on the intended use. Soft-sided carriers are typically lightweight and easy to store, while hard-sided carriers offer sturdier protection. If you plan to take your cat with you when you travel by plane, you’ll need a carrier that is airline approved.

With so many options to consider, it can be difficult to make a choice. Fortunately for you, we’ve read the reviews and done the research to bring you our top picks for four different types of cat carrier as well as our top pick overall.

Here are the best cat carriers you can buy:

Updated 10/25/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added related guides.

The best cat carrier overall

sherpa cat carrier


Sherpa/Business Insider


The Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier is built for comfort and convenience as well as maximum durability. 

If you’re looking for a cat carrier that does it all, consider the Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier. Available in three different sizes to accommodate cats up to 22 pounds, this carrier is soft-sided and airline approved. It enables your cat to travel safely and comfortably by car or plane, no matter where you happen to be going.

The Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier features a patented wire spring frame that allows the carrier to be compressed by several inches – this is an important feature for air travel. The carrier also comes with Sherpa’s “Guaranteed On Board” policy, which promises that the carrier meets airline rules and regulations or you get your money back. For car travel, this carrier also features a seatbelt strap.

Anytime Magazine recommends the cat carrier because of its durability and quality construction. Not only does the carrier have a padded fleece lining for comfort, but it also has mesh side panels for ventilation with roll-down panels for privacy. In its review, PetHelpful highlights the effective escape-proof locking zippers, and Top Best Product Reviews loves the padded shoulder strap and non-slip handles.

With more than 5,000 customer reviews on Amazon, the Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier has a solid 4.6-star rating. Users love the roomy design and quality construction as well as the easy-access top, though cats weighing more than 20 pounds may not be comfortable in this carrier.

Pros: Quality construction, suitable for airline or car travel, patented wire frame compresses for under-seat storage, seatbelt strap for car travel, escape-proof locking zippers, mesh panels for ventilation, roll-down flaps for privacy

Cons: May not be comfortable for cats weighing more than 20 pounds, may be more rigid than other airline carriers, may not withstand heavy chewing and clawing

Buy the Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier on Amazon for $29.99 and up

The best budget cat carrier

necoichi cat carrier


Necoichi


Lightweight but surprisingly durable, the Necoichi Ultra-Light Portable Cat Carrier is a great cat with an affordable price tag.

When shopping for a cat carrier, there are myriad factors to consider but, for many cat owners, price is the primary concern. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly cat carrier that still gets the job done, consider the Necoichi Ultra-Light Portable Cat Carrier.

Made from sturdy fabric with breathable mesh walls, the Necoichi Ultra-Light Portable Cat Carrier is one of the most lightweight cat carriers on the market. With its teepee-like design, this carrier gives your cat room to stretch out or sit up, all while remaining safe and secure behind a heavy-duty zippered mesh panel. The carrier accommodates cats up to 18 pounds, plus it folds flat for storage and is easy to clean.

With more than 1,000 customer reviews on Amazon, the carrier has an excellent 4.3-star rating. This cat carrier may be simple in design but users love the low price as well as its lightweight and folding design. It may not be the most durable carrier on the market, but it is a good buy for the money.

Pros: Lightweight design is easy to carry, accommodates cats up to 18 pounds, made from sturdy fabric, mesh side panels for ventilation, comfort carry handles, folds flat for easy storage

Cons: May not accommodate cats over 18 pounds, not designed to withstand chewing or clawing, not airline approved, may have a chemical smell when first opened, not recommended for long trips

Buy the Necoichi Ultra-Light Portable Cat Carrier on Amazon for $14.99

The best cat carrier for air travel

pet magasin cat carrier


Pet Magasin/Business Insider


The Pet Magasin Soft-Sided Cat Carrier is made from heavy-duty materials in a lightweight, waterproof design that will keep your cat safe and secure when traveling by plane.

When traveling with your cat by plane, you need a carrier that is airline approved. Soft-sided carriers are generally best for air travel because hard carriers may allow your cat to slide and bump around, causing undue stress and an increased risk for injury. Our top pick for an airline approved carrier that will enable your cat to fly in comfort and safety is the Pet Magasin Soft-Sided Cat Carrier.

The Pet Magasin Soft-Sided Cat Carrier is made from high-quality, durable materials with a sturdy but lightweight design. The carrier itself weighs just two pounds and it folds flat for convenient storage. This carrier features mesh side panels for ventilation and a padded bottom for comfort. It also features a heavy-duty carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap.

Petsho makes note of this carrier’s lightweight design as well as its waterproof construction. A review from My Pet Needs That speaks to the durability and quality construction of the carrier as well as the convenience of the adjustable shoulder strap. Anytime Magazine calls it a “good pet carrier that looks like a duffel bag.”

The Pet Magasin Soft-Sided Cat Carrier has more than 2,200 reviews on Amazon and a solid 4.5-star rating. Consumers love the sturdy construction and their cats enjoy the padded interior. There is some mention of the size running a little small, but there are far more positive reviews than negative.

Pros: High-quality and durable construction, mesh side panels for ventilation, adjustable shoulder strap and heavy-duty carry handle, padded bottom for comfort, made from waterproof materials, comes with 100% money-back guarantee and two-year warranty

Cons: Only available in two sizes, sizes may run a little small, may not accommodate very large cats over 20 pounds, may have a chemical odor when first opened

Buy the Pet Magasin Soft-Sided Cat Carrier on Amazon for $16.99 and up

The best hard shell cat carrier

petmate cat carrier


PetMate/Business Insider


For maximum security and long-lasting durability, our top pick for hard cat carriers is the PetMate Two-Door Top-Load Kennel

If you want a higher degree of security than a soft-sided crate has to offer, a hard cat carrier might be a better option. These carriers may not be as convenient for storage and some assembly may be required, but they will keep your cat safe and comfortable during travel. Our top pick for hard cat carriers, is the PetMate Two-Door Top-Load Kennel.

The PetMate Two-Door Top-Load Kennel is constructed from heavy-duty plastic materials to ensure durability, safety, and security for your cat. This carrier features two doors – a front door and a top door – so you can easily load your cat and access him when he is inside. The doors are made from steel coated wire with a secure latch and a wing-nut and bolt design. Some minor assembly is required but, once assembled, this carrier is very easy to use.

Pet Convenience makes special note of the carrier’s steel-coated wire door and secure latch system that will keep your cat safe for all modes of travel. Heavy speaks to the convenience of the top-loading feature as well as the durability and safety of the hard plastic exterior. This carrier also makes it into the top 16 list from Best Seekers for its durable construction and easy accessibility.

With more than 3,900 reviews on Amazon, the PetMate Two-Door Top-Load Kennel is one of the most popular cat carriers on the market. Though many customers love the durability and security of the hard plastic construction, others complain about the assembly process and note that the sizes run a little small in some cases.

Pros: Heavy-duty hard plastic construction, steel-coated wire door, two-door design with top-load option, secure latch system, ergonomic comfort carry handle, offers excellent visibility and ventilation, easy access options, simple uncomplicated design

Cons: Only available in two sizes, may not accommodate very large cats over 20 pounds, may not fit under the seat, may not be airline approved, requires some assembly

Buy the PetMate Two-Door Top-Load Kennel on Amazon for $25.35 and up

The best cat carrier backpack

pet gear


PetGear


When you want to bring your cat along but you don’t have a free hand to spare, the Pet Gear 1-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier is just what you need. 

A backpack cat carrier will keep your cat safe during travel while leaving your hands free. When it comes to choosing a backpack cat carrier you should be concerned first and foremost about your cat’s safety and then think about additional factors like comfort and convenience. Our top pick for backpack cat carrier that hits all of these points is the Pet Gear 1-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier.

The Pet Gear 1-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier offers the benefits of five products in one. Not only is it a backpack and a cat carrier, but it also functions as a roller bag and tote as well as a car seat for your cat. Simply unzip the front mesh panel, place your cat inside, zip it up, and you’re ready to go! Carry your cat on your back or roll him along using the telescoping handle. The backpack also comes with a tether so your cat can walk beside the backpack as you roll it along.

Heavy notes that while the odd shape of this carrier may not be a fit for air travel, the carrier is flexible for other types of travel and the vertical space allows your cat to sit up instead of just lying down. Adventure Cats comments on the safety and ventilation of the carrier while DaBest88 speaks to the value and stylish design.

The Pet Gear 1-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier has more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon and a solid 4.1-star rating. Customers note that the carrier may be too small for very large cats weighing more than 20 pounds, but it works well for smaller cats. The bag can be expanded by an extra three inches by unzipping the sides.

Pros: Functions like five products in one, constructed from high-quality materials for durability, mesh panels offer plenty of ventilation, vertical height allows cat to sit up comfortably, sides unzip to add three more inches of space, removable pad is easy to wash, comes with two tethers, includes wheels and a telescoping handle

Cons: May not accommodate very large cats, not airline approved, could use additional padding on the back and/or straps for comfort

Buy the Pet Gear 1-GO2 Plus Traveler Rolling Backpack Carrier on Amazon for $39.99

Check out our other great cat buying guides

cat_guides_image


Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock/Business Insider


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There are a wide variety of different cat collars out there, many of which you may not have ever heard about. Because there are so many cat collars on the market, it can be difficult to make the right choice. We’ve done the research, and here are our top picks for the best cat collars:

The best cat harness and leash

Most cats won’t let you get a harness anywhere near them, but some do like a stroll in the park. For those special cats, you need a cat harness and leash. There are several types of cat harnesses available, from basic to vest-style. Here are the best cat harnesses and leash you can buy:


The best cat food

Cats need lots of protein and fat in their diets to be healthy, so it’s important that you feed them the best cat food. Whether you’re shopping for wet cat food or dry cat food, we’ve researched many cat food brands to give you high-quality options. Here are our top picks:


The best medicated cat shampoo

Shampoo for cats is easy to find online, but the sheer volume of options can make it difficult to choose. Lucky for you, we’ve done the research to bring you our top picks for the best medicated shampoo for cats. 


The best cat bowls

Some cats are picky about their food bowl. That’s why it’s important to choose the right one for their needs. When it comes to choosing the best cat food bowl for your cat, there are a number of factors to consider. Here are our top picks for the best cat bowls:

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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