Cat Carriers.
How to Choose a Good One!

Cat carriers come in literally thousands of sizes and shapes.

It's important to buy a carrier for your cat even if you don't need it straight away; you never know when you'll have to make a rush visit to the vet, and it's just not safe to try to carry your cat there in your arms or let him run around the car. Click here for some useful general tips when traveling with cats in a car.

So, with the many carriers available, how do you pick the best one for your kitty? There are essentially 3 types available - cardboard, hard and soft. Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of each:

1) Cardboard


  • Inexpensive
  • Fold flat for easy storage


  • Have a limited life, so replacing them several times is probably more expensive in the long run than buying a hard or soft cat carrier at the outset
  • Can be very quickly destroyed by a destructive or frightened kitty
  • Not very environmentally friendly
  • Pretty hopeless in the rain

2) Hard


picture of tabby cat in wicker cat carrier

  • Robust and durable
  • Can be secured in a car using the seat belt without the risk of collapsing
  • Protect Kitty from accidental knocks - Kitty is more likely to get hurt in a soft or cardboard carrier if it bumps into something


  • Often don't collapse, so need as bigger storage space than cardboard or soft carriers
  • May take chips of paint or plaster off the walls if accidentally knocked against them
  • Some cheap hard carriers have dubious and / or faulty locks. You should make absolutely sure that the locking system on the carrier is robust and effective before you buy it. Push it, pull it, rattle it, lock and unlock it several times to test it, and only buy it if you're 100% sure it's safe

3) Soft


  • Good quality ones tend to be quite long-lasting
  • Collapse for easy storage
  • Soft and comfortable for Kitty as long as they remain fairly static
  • Soft corners don't damage doors and walls if carrier is knocked against them


  • Most can't be secured with a seat belt in a car
  • Kitty is more likely to get hurt if a soft carrier takes a hard knock than if he's in a hard carrier

What's the Best Size Cat Carrier to Buy?

Carriers that are too big can be a bit of a nuisance - they can be awkward to carry, take up a lot of space and be difficult to belt into a car. In a nutshell, Kitty's carrier should be big enough for him to lie down, stand up and turn around in.

I personally prefer hard cat carriers, but I always make sure the locking system on them is totally secure before buying.

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