Can You Put Two Cats in One Carrier? (Safety Warning)

By Phil / June 11, 2020
Can You Put Two Cats in One Carrier

If you’ve found yourself with more cats than carriers and an emergency on your hands, you’re probably wondering, can you put two cats in one carrier, and is it safe?

The answer to this is – it depends.

It really depends on how big your carrier is, how big your cats are, how well your cats know each other, and how long it’s going to be for.

So, sorry, not a clear cut answer to this question. But I think you can understand that.

If you want to know what the safest way to transport your cats is, whether or not it’s ok to put two cats in one carrier, and which carriers are best, please read on:

Always Think Cat Safety First

The first consideration is always safety. The obvious takeaway here is that if it’s cramped in the carrier for two cats, then it’s an absolute no.

Even if you have two small cats or kittens, you have to think about how they’re going to deal with being trapped in a small space together.

Unless they know each other well and you know they’re passive, there’s a chance they will get stressed and lash out at each other.

How are you traveling with your carrier, too? If it’s sitting on the floor of your car or on a back seat, imagine having to brake or corner hard and both cats slide into each other – not good!

As you can gather, there are few situations where you can or should put two cats into a cat carrier designed to carry one cat. It’s just not safe, and it’s not worth the risk.

How Big Are Standard Cat Carriers?

Cat carriers vary in size, however, the one below (available on Amazon) is fairly typical of a carrier designed for an adult cat.

It measures 23” x 15” x 13”, so a snug fit for one adult cat. You shouldn’t try to put two adult cats in a box of this size.

What Do Vets Say?

I had a good idea of what they would say, but I thought I’d ask the opinion of my vet for the purpose of getting a professional opinion on this matter.

So, I gave my vet a call and asked if or when I can put two of my cats in the same carrier, they said;

We would never recommend anyone puts more than one cat in a carrier. Unless that is, you have a double carrier or one designed to hold more than one cat, of course.

Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? It confirms all the worries I had above about putting two cats in a carrier.

Would I do it?

No, I wouldn’t. I’d never attempt to put two adult cats into a regular size carrier.

Kittens, on the other hand, I would if I didn’t have enough boxes or the ability to carry multiple boxes.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it really comes down to common sense and putting your cat’s safety first.

What About When Flying With Your Cats?

What About When Flying With Your Cats

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer when traveling with cats on airplanes either as different airlines have different rules.

Each airline has its own rules regarding the maximum dimensions they’ll allow for a carrier, and the maximum weight they allow.

Some do allow more than one cat per carrier. Provided there is adequate space and it meets their weight limit and some other restrictions.

For example, American Airlines guidelines for traveling with pets states that they only allow certain breeds, to certain destinations, and depending on size and weight might even be able to travel as a carry-on.

It’s a tricky area to navigate. My best advice is to call an airline you’re thinking about traveling with and discussing it with them before purchasing tickets.

Don’t assume they’ll have similar rules to another airline you’ve used. This is where many pet owners have run into trouble.

Airline pet carriers are very different from regular carriers too. They are typically softer with nice soft sides and flooring, made with mesh so they’re breathable, and lightweight.

This carrier from AmazonBasics on Amazon is an example of one of the most popular pet travel carriers:

How Long Can a Cat Stay in a Carrier?

The bottom line is that you should never keep your cat in a carrier for longer than is absolutely necessary.

As for how long that is, think about how long you would want to go without food and water and a toilet stop!

The official answer seems to be that you should let them out of a carrier to stretch their legs and have something to eat and drink within 4 hours if possible.

The only case when this might not be possible is if you’re on a long-haul flight. Even if you’re traveling by car, you should be prepared with a lead and be able to stop and let them out.

It’s not easy though, I appreciate that. I’ve traveled with my cats a lot over the years. Cats are not typically good travelers – and who can blame them!

Even when I do take breaks and let my cats out, they’re usually too stressed to eat and take a toilet break. Still, you should stop and let them out as often as you can.

How Can You Put Two Cats in a Carrier?

Well, taking everything I’ve covered into account if you have an XL carrier big enough to comfortably carry two cats it is possible.

The one below by SportPet Designs might be suitable. It’s designed to provide enough space for two cats with a combined weight of 35 lbs.

I would still only do this if you have two cats that are comfortable being close with each other. Plus ensuring they have enough space to move around and have a stretch in there.

Like I said earlier, it’s a judgment call for the most part. Think safety first.

In Summary

Hopefully, any thoughts of cramming two cats into that cat carrier you have are now long gone!

I’m joking really, I know you wouldn’t do anything that isn’t completely safe. It is hard transporting two or more cats to the vets or on a road trip though, I’ve been there myself.

Here’s to safe and happy traveling, good luck!

Resources

Image credits – Header photo by Raoul Droog, Lazy cat image by James Yarema on Unsplash

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