Best Cat Carrier?

The cat carrier that I have appears to be a fairly rare type. It has coated wire mesh on all sides with a plastic floor that has a flanged edge – very simple. An important design feature is that the cat is placed in the carrier from the top – a top loader in washing machine language. For me, that makes getting a cat in the carrier a lot easier. Cats are often (always?) reluctant to cooperate when being placed in a carrier, and who can blame them? Also it is large and easy to clean. It is the one at the top in the picture below.

Best Cat Carrier?

Best Cat Carrier?

The old fashioned cat carriers are made of wicker with end-loading. These are very attractive but very difficult to clean when soiled. Carriers tend to get soiled because anxious cats can pee or even defecate in a carrier (i.e. Charlie). Personally, I wouldn’t vote for the wicker carrier unless you are really into style over substance or your cat is a great traveller. However, it may suit many people if their cat is not the nervous type.

The most commonly seen cat carrier is the molded plastic rectangular model with end-loading. These are also available with top-loading. They can be dissembled into two parts for easy storage.

I don’t believe that price is a major factor in selecting a cat carrier because they are all relatively cheap or am I a bit out of touch with modern, budgeted life?

My current preference is the one that is middle-left in the picture. It can be dissembled, it has top-loading and end-loading and is easy to clean. It is an American model: Nature’s Miracle® Double Door Cat Retreat, available at Petsmart for $39.99.

You can also buy all fabric cat carriers that look very sexy but are they easy to clean? Another variation is a the stroller “Snoozer 4-in 1 Roll Around”. It is like a carry-on piece of human luggage for a long weekend with wheels but contains a cat or dog instead. This is a specialist sort of carrier that most people wouldn’t consider buying unless they are frequent fliers and always take their cat. It is probably designed for the American market where flying between cities is common because of the size of the country.

Can anyone spend a minute or two to leave a comment to say why they think a certain carrier style is the best?

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Best Cat Carrier? — 15 Comments

  1. We had 2 of the take apart plastic type of cat carriers but some of the fasteners on one have broken over the years so we have to use our old wicker basket for one cat when taking both our cats to the vets at once.
    We are saving up for 2 Gulliver carriers because they come in different sizes, take to bits to clean and an added bonus is the trapdoor in the lid to put in a comforting hand in the car and the vet’s waiting room.
    Both our boyz reach out of the bars and sometimes press their faces to them, so hopefully the new carriers will be a good way to comfort them by a familiar touch.

    • Both our boyz reach out of the bars and sometimes press their faces to them

      This is a point I missed. Cats do press their noses against the carrier and a place through which a hand can be inserted to comfort a cat is nice. I see that the trap door is called a “stroking flap”, specifically designed for what you say, comforting a stressed cat. That is clever.

  2. Bigfoot has a plush fabric carrier, with mesh openings. There are zippers on every side so I can always have a hand inside the carrier to comfort him. He likes that part. He still pushes on the mesh with his nose, and sometimes breaks the skin, but not as much any more, once to learned to keep one hand on him.

    Then there is Marvin. He is so big, I borrowed one that is exactly like the bottom one you are showing in the picture. I don’t recommend it at all. First, the front loading part makes it hard to sneak attack on the load up. When I quickly went to put him in, it was like a cartoon, but a sad one. He was still purring from the affection, but his foot reflexes are so fast, he planted both hind feet on the outside of the door. He looked like a large frog!

    But the worse part of that carrier is that it isn’t stable. He was so distraught, he actually rolled it over several times, and he was in the back of he car where I couldn’t help. When I got to the vet, his paws were bloodied because he was trying to dig his way out throught the metal cage cutting his paws. He didn’t care what happened to his body, he just wanted out. There is enough space at the bottom of that carrier that their paws can fit through. I don’t recommend it.

    Bigfoot loves his carrier. It is small ands light enough it can sit on the vets table so he can always be half in or out of it. I can find or take a picture if you want to add it.

  3. I have one of the old ones that is all cage and then a regular one that is plastic with a door on the front and a few holes around the sides. When I took Red home from his only trip to the vet after his operation I only had the old cage one so I wrapped the whole cage in a blanket and walked home with him so he could only see me, my chest as I was carrying him. I don’t like those cages. I prefer the ones where they can hide at the back. I also think they are happier in bigger cages where they can turn around easily and where 2 of them can be carried together. I brought Gigi and Molly in a box together. Its much nicer for them that way. I would advise a big dog carrier as ideal. We used to take Lilly and Pepi to the countryside for long weekends in a big folding dog carrier – very modern – with zipps and windows and pouches for food. It was big enough for them to stand up on 2 legs. If they got unhappy I would cover them with a blanket so they could only see me. They were so much happier than when we had them in 2 separate typical plastic carriers.

    • I would advise a big dog carrier as ideal.

      I like that idea very much and it works. It is interesting that you put a blanket over the carrier so Red could only see you. I have never thought about that way of carrying a cat in a carrier. It shows great concern for Red.

    • Marc, a big dog kennel is a great idea for a longer car trip!
      I put my cats in a double Sturdi shelter that can be attached to the seatbelts in the back seat, and I can put a litterbox in there, a hammock , etc. and the cats can snuggle up together if they want.
      However, Elisa has a good point that the hard carriers would be more secure in case of an accident, so really I must admit your large dog carrier is safer.

  4. I like the Petmate SkyKennel for a good hard-bodied sturdy, secure carrier. (It is tough molded plastic with metal door in front, that latches very securely. I have the 100 size which is plenty of room for a medium to large size cat, or it can work for 2 cats who are friends and like to cuddle up.

    For a small soft-sided but formed carrier that can be taken in an airplane cabin , I have a Teafco Argo Aero-Pet. I really like this one. It has dual mesh windows; with a very fine mesh on the inner layer so a cat won’t get their claws caught. The dual mesh makes it so that the cat can see out but other people can’t see in. This carrier has 2 different sets of loops for the straps, so it can carried two ways.
    It has one door on the top, but also has a narrow door on one end which is pretty handy to reach in and pet them.
    Here is Sammy peeking out of that little door while on an airplane.

    (OK I admit they’re not really supposed to do that. They’re supposed to stay under the seat in front of you. ( You can reach down and pet them through the window of course.) But on that flight, it wasn’t totally full , the person in the row with me was a cat lover, and the flight attendants didn’t care if I put the carrier on my lap and let Sammy look out )

    Another soft one I like is the Sleepypod Air.
    and the Sturdi bags are good too.

    Cats aren’t always reluctant to cooperate about carriers, if they are used to them. like I was commenting on another post about leaving the carrier out open , they may start to see it as a comfortable little den.

    But for a cat that you do have trouble getting in a carrier, a carrier with a door on the top can be a good choice as long as both doors are secure.
    That kind is not permitted for shipping via air but you probably would not be doing that anyway.

  5. I like a hard carrier that we can manuever the seatbelt around so it would provide safety in an accident. A cat in a hard carrier is much safer, especially in a rollover. We also use the carriers as cat beds so the cats aren’t afraid of them when vet trip happens.

  6. I like Elisa’s idea. Having the cats used to the carriers is the best way to handle things. Having the door on top sounds like a no brainer to me. Cats like to inside things with their heads sticking out, so I think the Nature’s Miracle® Double Door Cat Retreat looks like a great idea.

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