The 10 Best Cat Carriers

Updated September 20, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Cat Carriers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Transport your cats and kittens in safety, comfort and style anywhere you go, including on aircraft, in one of these cat carriers. We've included lightweight models good for easy portability and storage along with sturdier designs suited for more protection and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cat carrier on Amazon.

10. Pet Gear PG1016SA

Travel with peace of mind using the Pet Gear PG1016SA. It features an interior tether to keep your cat secure, even if it's left partially unzipped, and it easily attaches to car seatbelts for road trips, so your furball is always protected.
  • attractive two-color design
  • minimal padding
  • not suitable for cats over 8lbs
Brand Pet Gear
Model PG1016SA
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Pet Magasin Soft-Sided

The Pet Magasin Soft-Sided is a hassle-free way to travel with your kitty. It can be carried in the hand or over the shoulder, depending on your preference, and has ample padding to keep your little friend cozy all day long.
  • weighs just a touch over 2lbs
  • backed by a two-year warranty
  • won't collapse on your pet
Brand Pet Magasin
Model pending
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. MG Collection Tote

The chic MG Collection Tote is for you fashionistas out there who want to look their best while carrying their cat. It features a classic, quilted, 2-tone design, a roomy interior and a ventilated plastic mesh flap for maximum comfort.
  • slightly elevated studded bottom
  • velcro closure system
  • some pets may prefer more visibility
Brand MG Collection
Model TB-PET0006BLK
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Necoichi Cat 1st

The ultra-lightweight Necoichi Cat 1st is the perfect balance of convenience, portability, and price. It has a durable, yet soft-sided, construction that can fold completely flat for easy storage. It also costs less than $20, so it's perfect for those on a budget.
  • great ventilation from all sides
  • suitable for cats up to 18lbs
  • best for short trips
Brand Necoichi
Model CM-0430-CS01
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Snoozer Roll Around

The 4-in-1 design of the Snoozer Roll Around gives it more versatility than any other model. It seamlessly converts from a wheeled roller into a backpack, car seat or bed, so you can take your pet literally anywhere while giving them a safe place to rest.
  • allows cats to sit up during travel
  • durable microfiber material
  • interior leash for added security
Brand Snoozer
Model 86201
Weight 9.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Sherpa Original Deluxe

The Sherpa Original Deluxe comes in multiple sizes and colors, and is approved for use on nearly all major airline carriers. It's a stylish model that has large mesh panels to help keep your pet cool, and flexible fiberglass support rods to help it keep its structure.
  • seatbelt safety straps
  • removable shoulder strap
  • three entry points
Brand Sherpa
Model 55538
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Sleepypod Air

In-cabin pet travel is made easy with the Sleepypod Air. It adjusts to various under-seat storage requirements while providing maximum comfort for your furry little friend, and can even be attached to your personal carry-on's telescoping handle.
  • machine washable
  • rolls up for compact storage
  • zippered pockets for pet essentials
Brand Sleepypod
Model AI-RED
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Petmate 21232

Loading and unloading small pets is a cinch with the Petmate 21232. It is a basic and affordable option that is durable enough to last through years of regular use. Front and top doors allow for easy access and provide ventilation and visibility.
  • sturdy steel door
  • suitable for toy breed dogs too
  • secure bolt and wingnut design
Brand Petmate
Model 21232
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Mr. Peanut's Tote

Mr. Peanut's Tote is a very stylish option with its Oxford fabric construction and contrast accent piping. It comes in unique colors, like raspberry red and deja blue, and has ventilation on all sides to meet airline pet carry-on regulations.
  • includes a removable fleece bed
  • identification card tag
  • multiple extra pockets
Brand Mr. Peanut's
Model pending
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Sleepypod Mobile

The luxurious Sleepypod Mobile lets you pamper any cat under 15 lbs. It has an adjustable dome top that provides comfort and security while still feeling roomy and allowing a good amount of airflow. It can also be completely removed so you can use it like a standard bed.
  • made from luggage-grade nylon
  • easy to clean washable bedding
  • foam liner is water-resistant
Brand Sleepypod
Model mmsp-003
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

What Do I Need to Consider Before Purchasing a Cat Carrier?

While it may sound like a cliche, the first thing any person needs to consider whenever purchasing a cat carrier is their cat. Specifically, you want to consider how big your cat is, how much your cat weighs, whether your cat tends to claw at things, and whether your cat tends to shed.

If your cat is large, for example, then you'll probably want a carrier with a high ceiling and considerable leg room. If your cat weighs more than 10 lbs, then you'll want a loose-fabric carrier that features a shoulder strap, as opposed to a handle. If your cat sheds a lot, then you should want to avoid any carrier with a carpet liner, as carpets are more difficult to sweep. If your cat tends to claw at things, then you'll probably want a hard-shell carrier that won't get shredded from the inside-out.

Once you've squared away those basics, you'll want to give some thought to where you plan on transporting your cat in its carrier. Certain carriers are more functional than others, and they're easier to sit next to you on a train or a bus. Airplanes have their own set of rules regarding carriers, which you may want to look into, as well. If you plan on taking your cat with you whenever you travel, you may want to consider purchasing a carrier that matches your luggage. If you plan on walking long distances with the carrier, you may want to consider purchasing a model that weighs less than the average, which is 6 lbs.

How To Help Your Cat Embrace Its New Carrier

It is common for any feline to run and hide at the sight of a carrier. Cat carriers are isolating, and they literally cage the cat, who instinctively assumes that it must be heading to a bad place. The trick is to train your cat so that he or she actually welcomes the idea of getting into a carrier. The first step entails withholding a treat until the cat steps inside.

Withholding a treat is effective, but psychologically, it can be even more impactful to reward a cat upon releasing him or her from the carrier. Providing a post-carrier treat sends a message that the cat has exhibited a positive behavior, and it also creates an incentive for the cat to enter its carrier the next time around.

Every now and again, you may want to put the cat inside a carrier when you are transporting it to a welcome location - a pet store, say, or a place where it can play with other felines. Doing this conditions the cat to believe that the carrier isn't always going to lead to an unpleasant circumstance. By and large, a lot of cats are placed inside their carriers to prep for veterinarian visits, which could mean painful tests or giving blood.

If possible, you may want to place a toy inside the carrier. Either that or play with the cat for a while to exhaust some of its energy. If your cat tends to massage things with its paws, you may want to lay down some bedding inside the carrier. The more preoccupied your cat is, the less of a disruption he or she will be throughout any trip.

A Brief History of The Pet Carrier

Prior to the 20th Century, pet carriers were largely homemade. People transported their dogs, cats, or other mongrels by hand, metal cage, or wooden crate. That began to change as of 1915, when an Illinois man named William Whitmore registered a patent for what he referred to as his "animal house".

According to Whitmore's patent, an animal house was made of metal with a matching handle on the top. There was a door across the fore, and it could be latched or hooked shut. Whitmore's carrier was ambitious in that the walls and the lid were designed to fold down. Unfortunately, the amount of effort associated with putting a metal carrier back together proved to be a bigger hassle than it was worth.

A New York inventor named Fred Leichtfuss, who apparently liked the idea of a collapsible pet carrier, improved upon Whitmore's metal house by creating an updated carrier during the 1930s. Leichtfuss's pet carrier could be collapsed and reassembled within seconds. But it was still made of metal, which meant that it was too heavy to be transported long distances by hand.

Enter Mary Mcgonigle, a New York housewife who brought pet carriers into the post-war era with the introduction of a plastic and cylindrical model during 1947. Mcgonigle's carrier for small animals was stylish, lightweight, and built with windows, as well as ventilated areas, for ensuring that any pet felt right at home.

Up until the 1990s, plastic remained the industry standard when it came to pet carriers. Nylon and polyester eventually emerged as a more efficient alternative in that they proved to be lightweight and compact, and their fabric allowed for adding shoulder straps. Today, plastic carriers are still a staple of the market, but nylon and polyester have become the overwhelming norm.

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Last updated on September 20, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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