What Size Pet Carrier Is Good for a Cat?

what size pet carrier is good for a cat

Finding the right size cat carrier that you need really depends on your situation.  Traveling with your cat on a plane would require a different carrier than if you were taking your cat with you on a road trip.  What size cat carrier should you get for traveling?

You should get the most spacious cat carrier for your cat that still allows it to fit for the occasion you are using it for.

Take a look below at my in depth guide to choosing the right sized cat carrier.  I have listed several different scenarios where you would need a cat carrier and have detailed explanations on which size carriers would be best for each situation.

Does the Size of the Cat Carrier Matter?

Size does matter.  I actually have a personal experience with this.  My first carrier was actually a small crate designed for a kitten or a smaller cat.  When my cat aged I continued to use the same carrier without any thought.  After a few trips to the vet I would notice that my cat would have a constant meow the whole entire trip.  I deemed this as normal.  I thought hey cat’s aren’t really made to be stuck up in a small container for long periods of time.

After doing a little bit of research online this is when I found out all the different types of issues you can have while traveling with your cat in cramped carriers.

The first solution I could take to make traveling easier was finding the correct sized carrier for my cat.  I learned that this would help alleviate things like stress and anxiety.

Traits to Look for When Choosing the Right Size Cat Carrier

The first thing you will need to decide is if you want to go with a soft sided carrier or a hard plastic carrier.  A soft sided cat carrier is much more forgiving on positioning and placement which means you will be able to store it in tighter spots with your cat inside.  A hard plastic carrier will be less forgiving which means that you will be limited in terms of placement.

A great example for this would be if you were to take a plane trip somewhere with your cat.  Some airlines approve the use of an in cabin carrier for your cat.  You will simply be able to place it underneath your seat if it meets the size requirements.  On the other hand, if you had a hard plastic carrier you will not be able to shove it underneath your seat since it doesn’t have any wiggle room.

Another feature you will want to look for is if your cat carrier has a handle, shoulder strap, or both.  If you plan on traveling often with your cat then I would suggest purchasing a carrier that has a shoulder strap at the very least.  A shoulder strap will make traveling so much easier.

You wont appreciate the fact you have one unless you’ve used a cat carrier with just a handle, and believe me it sucks.

Next you will want to take a look at the storage space of the carrier.  Can your cat freely turn around if he had to?  Or is the carrier just big enough for your cat to stay stationary.  All this plays a big role about how your cat will behave and I will go into more detail about that later.

What Size Cat Carrier Do I Need for Long Road Trips in a Car?

The dreaded long road trips.  I can almost hear my cat meowing or moaning is what I like to call it.  When my cat is in the back seat during a long car ride he will have this short exasperated meow.  This is just his anxiety kicking in and after about 15 minutes he usually settles down.  Lets take a look at what type of carrier would best suit a cat that’s traveling on a long road trip.

A more spacious cat carrier can be used in this scenario since you will have a lot more room than say an airplane cabin.  This cat carrier from amazon is first class when it comes to a cat carrier for long road trips or vet visits.  The only downfall of this carrier is it is not airline approved.

An Airline approved cat carrier is usually designed with being able to place the carrier under your feet.  However, this size carrier would work perfect for a train, car, RV, and practically any other form of transportation with lots of room where there isn’t a size limit.

On the plus side, this cat carrier has almost 4x more space than all the other cat carriers available to buy.  This means that you might actually have to have a little experience in lifting to haul this around.  That is if you decide to fully load the cat carrier with 3 small cats, or one plus sized cat.

Don’t be alarmed though because it comes with adjustable shoulder pads to make it easy to carry.

Also included is a big soft pillow for your cat to nap on.  The cushion is washable so if your cat ever has an accident or it gets dirty just throw it in the washer.

Your cat can literally take a catnap in this luxurious carrier.  If it was anymore spacious it would be a mobile cat house.  The dimensions of this are as follows: Length 24″, Height 16″, Depth 16″.  This is definitely not ideal for an airplane ride, but should fit nicely in the front or back seats of your car.  After use, this cat carrier is also fold-able.  It folds flat to easily be stored away for future use.

What Size Cat Carrier Do I Need for a Plane?

Choosing the right type of cat carrier before traveling on a plane with your cat is very important.  The last thing you want to do is purchase the wrong carrier.  Too big and the carrier wont fit under the front seat with you.  Too small and you may have a very angry cat that has no room to move around.  I recommend this cat carrier from amazon for traveling on a plane.

The above cat carrier is already airline approved and it’s designed to fit under the cabin seat of major airlines.  It weighs an astonishing 3 pounds.  So, even if you don’t even lift, it shouldn’t be a problem to carry when fully loaded with your cat and treats.  It is also reinforced with a thick wire frame at the top for extra stability so it wont sag or droop as you carry it around.

The carrier also has two side expansions that create more room for your cat that no other carriers provide.  Once you are seated just unzip the other two sides to allow adequate room for your cat.  Just make sure your neighbor doesn’t mind your cat taking up his leg space.

Also Included is 2 silicone bowls for food and water which come as an added gift.  There is also a big pocket on the side where you can store pet food and snacks.  It’s not the biggest pocket, but can be useful if you run out of room to put your own food/snacks.

The mesh is anti scratch that is made of a high quality polyester which is very durable.  This allows for excellent air circulation which means you can nap on the flight without worrying about your cat suffocating.

Once you are finished using the carrier it can easily be stored away.  This carrier is fold-able! After folded, the size is: L 17.6″ * W 11″ * H 3.9″ inch .

In order to prevent cat odor from urine or feces you will have to make sure you line the carrier.  Simply purchase cat potty pads and line the carrier with it and you will have the perfect airplane cat carrier.  The only thing this carrier does not have is a way to stop your cat from meowing.

Sometimes it is inevitable and your cat will meow during your plane trip due to anxiety.  This is normal and can usually be solved by sedating your cat before traveling.

Another way to help calm your cat without the use of sedation is to give them treats and water.  During a long plane trip your cat

What Size Cat Carrier Do I Need for Camping?

When you are out camping with a cat, you generally have a lot more room for a carrier.  You can either choose from a hard plastic carrier or a soft based carrier.  Just remember that the bigger the space, the better.  You want your cat to be as comfortable as possible when he is not in his normal environment.  If you plan on putting your cat inside his carrier at night while you sleep then it would probably be best to get a sturdy cat crate.

A cat crate is much sturdier than a regular soft sided cat carrier.

Using a hard plastic cat carrier can help keep him protected if any outside wildlife were to sneak into your tent at night or even during the day if you are away from camp.  The outer surface is usually made of a hard plastic and the door is usually made of steel.  This provides the perfect protection for your cat while everyone is sound asleep at night.

What Size Carrier Do I Need for a Nervous Cat?

If you have a cat that is anxious or nervous then it is my recommendation to choose a cat carrier that has lots of breathing room and space.  Preferably a cat carrier that is big enough for your cat to be able to turn around in.  A cat carrier that is too small will cause your cats anxiety level to increase.  An increase in anxiety is usually the main cause for cats meowing constantly in their carrier during long trips.

Also if you have a very nervous cat then make sure that he travels solo.  Some cat carriers for nervous cats are a big enough size to hold more than one cat.  Make sure your nervous cat is packed away by himself.  If you pack an additional cat in a carrier with a nervous cat then you can have a catastrophe waiting to happen.  On top of the normal issues of a nervous cat you will possibly add a cat fight to the mix.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to travel in a plane while two cats are going at it the whole trip in a tiny space.

Do I Need a Cat Carrier for an Rv?

An RV has a lot of room.  Feel free to use a very big and spacious cat crate or carrier for your cat.  Your cat won’t always be in motion.  This means that there is no need to constantly keep him locked up inside of a carrier.  Another alternative to keeping your cat in a carrier is using a harness and leash to keep him contained if you do not want him wandering around while the RV is in motion.

An RV is very similar to a car.  Just think of it as a small house on wheels.  Sometimes using a cat carrier may not be needed at all.  Most cats are good with just sleeping in their normal sleeping spots if they are used to traveling in an RV or car already.

If your cat has never traveled in an RV before then it would be a good idea to have a cat carrier until they are used to being in the RV.

Are Cat Crates Better Than Soft Sided Carriers for Size?

Both carriers have their pros and cons.  Since we’ve covered a lot of soft sided carriers lets take a look at a hard plastic carrier.  Unfortunately one flaw is that it will be impossible to place a crate underneath your feet in an airplane.  It will be able to fit in your car, but is less forgiving than a soft cat carrier. I recommend this cat crate  from amazon if you need something a little bit more sturdy.

This type of crate is made from a hard plastic and its shape does not give in at all which doesn’t make it ideal for small spaces.  This crate would best be used for a very angry or an aggressive type of cat.  The hard plastic and thick wire door panel will protect from scratching and biting.

Also it is almost virtually impossible for your cat to escape a hard thick plastic carrier.  Cat crates are very durable and will almost last you forever.

How Can I Protect My Cat Carrier from Odor and Feces?

I recommend these cat potty pads from amazon.  They are relatively cheap and do a great job of absorbing cat urine.  This will help protect your carriers as well as help prevent odor.  If you prefer to go the do it yourself route then some cardboard and paper towel can suffice.  The last thing you want is the whole plane or car having to evacuate because your cat made a smelly mess.

How Safe Are Cat Carriers?

There has actually been a lot of controversy lately over the safety of all pet carriers in general.  The center for pet safety actually conducted many crash tests with a few other companies.  They were able to design crash dummies of pets that were sized to fit many different types of carriers.  When they started the testing the results were astonishing.  Many carriers were deemed unsafe if an accident were to happen while in a car.

The major problem for pet owners lies in the fact that these products are not regulated like human products such as car seats.  It’s advised to either strap down your cat’s carrier to the seat with some type of harness or place it flat on the floor in the back seat.  They also advise against placing the carrier in the front seat with the seat belt.

If you want to learn more information about the safety of carriers as well as a list of tested carrier you can click here to check out an article by CBS.

Is It Okay to Put More Than One Cat in a Carrier?

If you have kittens then I do not see the problem with putting a few of them together at a time to save some space.  Kittens are more forgiving than older cats because they are a lot smaller and also don’t really pay attention too well at whats going on.

I do not suggest placing an aged cat or a senior cat in the same carrier together.  They will both be very stressed out or nervous if they are not used to being in carriers. Putting more than one cat in your carrier will make it very cramped and possibly cause a fight between the two since they will both be in an agitated state

Can Other Pets Fit in These Carriers?

Absolutely!  Although lots of these carriers I recommended were designed with cat and dogs in mind, you can fit practically any animal that is of similar size to a small dog or cat.  Just because a carrier is branded for a certain animal doesn’t mean you can’t use it for a different one.  Dogs are generally bigger than cats which is why the main choice for them is a crate.  If your animal is close to the same size as your cat then there shouldn’t be a problem using it.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right sized carrier for traveling with your cat varies based on your destination and the way your cat reacts to traveling.  It is a good idea to have multiple different carriers if you plan on traveling often with your cat.  Having multiple carriers will help you be prepared for whatever type of travel you may have in mind for you and your cat.

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