The Best Cat Carriers for 2021
- Top 7: Pet Travel Carrier Reviews
- 1. Mr. Peanut’s Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier
- 2. AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Pet Carrier
- 3. Necoichi Portable Ultra Light Cat Carrier
- 4. SportPet Designs Foldable Carrier
- 5. Paws & Pals Airline Approved Carrier
- 6. Pet Magasin Airline Approved Carrier
- 7. Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Safe Carrier
- Verdict & Carrier Review
- Mr. Peanut's Pet Carrier
- Buying Guide
There are different types of cat carriers. First, there are the traditional hard-sided ones, small cages, or the soft-sided options that are required for air travel. Many airlines allow you to keep your cat in the cabin with the carrier securely under the seat in front of you.
If your cat is easily spooked, you may want to choose a carrier where there are mesh windows, but not fully mesh walls. This allows kitty to feel as if he or she has some degree of privacy during his or her travels. The mesh walls might contribute to their anxiety.
On this page, we have assembled the best options on the market this year!
Top 7: Pet Travel Carrier Reviews
Price / Value
Mr. Peanut’s Airline Approved Soft Sided Carrier
AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Travel Carrier
Necoichi Portable Ultra Light Carrier
SportPet Designs Foldable Carrier
Paws & Pals Airline Approved Pet Carrier
Pet Magasin Airline Approved Cat Carrier
Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Carrier
We love this carrier! The bag is perfect for the smaller cat (or dog) with a recommended limit of 15 lbs but we tested it with an overweight 17 lbs cat and had no problems. Our test-cat liked the extra soft fleece bed and even purred laying down in it. Plus, he looks cute in it!
The bag is lightweight at only 2.7 lbs and can come with you anywhere – even on planes. The color and high-quality look instantly captivated us right away. It doesn’t even look like it a regular pet carrier. It has metal clasps for extra safety as well as a built-in leash ring on the interior.
Pets often cry in the wrong container (especially plastic boxes) but not in something like this. Our most carrier-hating cat that cries in 80% of all products we try actually liked this one. Safe it to say, it is now the main one we use for her. So if your cat (or dog) has issues with carriers, try this one!
- Unique design.
- High-quality mesh.
- Can fold it for storage
- Safety features make sure that kitty stays put.
- Only comes in one size.
This carrier comes in several different sizes and has mesh on all four sides. This one is designed to comply with all airline under-seat restrictions.
The fleece bed insert can be both machine-washed and dried. It recommends a maximum weight of 22 lbs for the largest size and a maximum of 8 lbs for the smallest.
Easy to transport with adjustable handles and shoulder straps.
- Can be loaded from either the top or side
- Machine washable fleece bed pad
- Folds flat for easy storage
- No room for storage pockets with all four of the walls being high quality mesh.
- Framework is somewhat flimsy
This lightweight but sturdy soft-sided cat carrier is collapsible and convenient for traveling.
Its unique design allows your cat to feel safe and comfortable. It is easy to clean and has strong zippers that cannot be opened from the inside.
This one is easy to carry and has ventilated mesh windows that allow your cat to have a good view of the outside world. It is approved for airline travel and easily fits under most airline seats.
- Holds cats up to 17 lbs
- Easy to store between uses
- Zipper locks to keep kitty from escaping
- Comfortably fits under airplane seats
- Only comes in one size
The SportPet foldable carrier has a unique side-loading design that comes with a high quality fleece bed.
It comes in two sizes and has a locking system that is unrivaled by most other carriers on the market. It both serves as a carrier and a bed that is well designed to make your cat feel secure. It folds flat and is easy to clean.
- Rugged construction of sturdy plastic
- Locking system keeps the most talented escape artist secure
- Can double as a full time bed while traveling.
- Not for air travel
- No room for your cat to move around
This airline-approved soft-sided pet carrier comes in two sizes and twelve different colors. It is waterproof, durable, and includes a comfortable fleece pad to make your cat comfortable. High-quality mesh screens and a hard base.
The entryways are secured by plastic security buckles on each of the zippers. It even has an in-flight doorway for feeding treats during that long flight. Reflective striping makes it safer for use at night.
Velcro-secured storage areas keep that vet certificate and a bag of treats easily accessible. The large carrier comfortably holds up to 25 lbs.
- Meets the requirements of most airlines
- Easy to clean and store
- Fleece bed has side bumpers that keep the bed in place and kitty more comfortable.
- No harness/leash clip.
This collapsible pet carrier comes in four cheerful colors. It folds flat for storage and is padded throughout. It is big enough that your cat can turn around in it.
It conforms to the under-seat space of most airlines and is approved for air travel. The carrier is lightweight and its suitcase-style handle makes it easy to carry.
When you are ready to store it, it conveniently folds flat. You can get it in three sizes. It is leakproof and waterproof.
- Padded throughout for the comfort of your pet.
- Easy and comfortable to carry.
- Strong framework helps the carrier hold its shape.
- Machine washable.
- It does not have a removable bed.
This high-quality deluxe carrier comes in three sizes and a variety of colors. Both side and top entry options have locking zippers. The large size is appropriate for animals up to 22 lbs.
There is a padded, machine washable, liner made from faux lambskin. It has a stable spring-wire frame that has enough give to be pushed down in limited under-seat spaces. Convenient rear pocket for treats, leash, and paperwork.
There are waterproof replacement liners available for separate purchase.
- Faux lambskin liner is machine washable.
- Comes in three convenient sizes for 8 lb, 12 lb, and 22 lb pets.
- Top and side entry options
- With the four sides of mesh, not recommended for animals with anxiety issues.
The lightweight construction, safety clips, and firm fleece bed make the Paws & Pals Airline Approved Pet Carrier the best choice for air travel with your cat. It holds its shape, easy to clean, and the small visiting window is great for calming your cat with a few pets during your journey.
There are several options to consider when choosing the right cat carrier for your trip. If you just want to take your cat out into the park, we recommend you use a cat stroller for that. For hiking and walks, you can also use a backpack for cats or go do it the dog-way and use a harness for cats.
We address the most important things to consider below!
Size of the carrier
Make sure that your pet will comfortably fit inside the carrier. Be sure to look for the measurements and weight limits recommended by the manufacturer. Some come in various sizes while others are limited to a single size. As a rule, a soft-sided option might not be a good fit for a cat who is on the heavier side. We recommend a maximum of 15 lbs as a general rule.
Most products also show measurements for the interior. Measure your cat to make sure that they will have enough room to move around a little so that they don’t feel too trapped during the flight. Always consider both the measurements and the weight of the animal when you are choosing your next carrier. If they don’t match well, you might want to look further.
Durability and Strength of Material
Cats can be escape artists and they are well armed with sharp teeth and claws. Make sure that the carrier you choose is made of quality materials that will hold up against an unhappy cat. If it’s are made of the lighter weight nylon fabric might not hold up as well as those made of sturdier material. As a rule, the polyester carriers seem to hold up well in comparison.
You will want to take note of how sturdy the base is as well. If it is not as well made, the carrier can sag when it is being carried. This can panic an animal unaccustomed to traveling. You may also want to verify that the base is leakproof and or waterproof.
Although somewhat similar, make sure that you check the rules for the airlines you are flying on. There are also FAA requirements that need to be considered. Some airlines have less space under the seats than others. Make sure that the product you choose will, while remaining sturdy, have enough give at the top to fit under the seat.
Each airline will have size limitations. You need to ensure that your carrier complies with all of the requirements before you head for the airport.
You should pay attention to the cleaning directions for the carrier you choose. Those that can be easily spot cleaned and wiped down are easier, as are the machine washable carriers. Any product that requires hand washing can be a little more difficult to maintain.
For the comfort of the animal, if there is a second fleece liner available, it is easy to switch out a dirty one for a clean one. Most of these are easily washable as well. If you don’t have the liner, make sure that any bedding you replace it with can be easily cleaned.
You will want to make sure that your cat can stay securely inside the carrier. Make sure that the zippers and closures can be securely anchored and that any mesh windows are heavy-duty enough to withstand a cat who does not want to be enclosed. By the way, get your cat a custom ID tag so in case of her getting lost, people can give you a call! Another option is to get a GPS tracker for her collar.
Air Travel With Your Cat
Traveling with your cat can be an adventure, and your cat carrier purchase should not be a last-minute event. For the best results and smoothest trip for both you and kitty, there are certain things you will need to take care of prior to your departure.
Most airlines will require documentation that your cat is healthy and up to date on his or her shots. This is also a good time to discuss with your vet whether or not you will need something to sedate your pet during the flight. The decision to sedate can be a very personal one that only you and your vet can make.
Let your kitty become accustomed to the carrier. Leave it open and out in the open so that your cat can become accustomed to it. He or she will probably inspect it inside and out. You might want to put a favorite toy inside so that your pet knows that it is for him.
If you choose to buy a carrier that does not have a removable bed and you want to add your own bedding, make allowances for the height of your pet in relation to the space inside. Extra bedding can make for a crowded situation for your pet.
Get to the airport early. You will be asked for the vet records when you check is. When you pass through TSA, you will be required to remove your cat from the box and take him or her through the scanner with you. That should be the only time that your pet leaves the carrier during your actual flight. Place identification in as many places as you can on it.
You need to have food and water available in the carrier. Water is best filled when you have passed through security and are awaiting your boarding call at the gate. It is usually best to feed dry food during the journey. It is also a good idea to keep a small package of treats in your carry-on so that you can offer them sparingly during the trip.
If your flight is long and there will be an opportunity, you will want to plan ahead for letting your cat out of the carrier for a few minutes. You might want to consider keeping your pet on a leash. Several carriers have leash attachments inside to accommodate this need.
While it is relatively common for there to be an accident due to a lack of a litter box during your voyage, that does not mean that you have failed kitty in any way. If they are unaccustomed to travel or the trip is long, they will need to relieve themselves accordingly. Traveling with your cat does not need to be a traumatic experience for either of you. If you follow the above recommendations, it can be a good experience for both of you.
We are the Pet Cat Friends, a dedicated group of pet loving bloggers and product testers for all your meowy needs. We research, test, and review cat related products with the help of our collective 21 cats. Feel free to leave us feedback and treats!