Cat Carriers

What Type of Carrier is Best for Your Cat?Orange cat in blue carrier

You want your cat to be happy and comfortable with her carrier, so you should have the right information to make sure you purchase the right one.

In general, veterinarians recommend a hard sided carrier that allows you to open it from the top and front of the carrier. Here are a few other pieces of advice from our feline veterinarians:

Carrier Structure

  • Look for an animal carrier that is sturdy and made of impact-resistant plastic or fiberglass. This type of carrier offers the best impact protection and cannot collapse.
  • Many cats also prefer a carrier that has sides that offer a visual shield so she can have some privacy.
  • You want to look for a carrier that can be positioned safely on a floorboard or level seat where it can secured with a seatbelt.
  • It is also helpful to look for a carrier that is easy to clean.
  • Coated wire- or cage-type animal carriers are acceptable and offer good impact protection, but generally do not provide your cat with visual privacy.
  • Soft-sided, luggage/purse-type, basket-type or cardboard commercial animal carriers are acceptable as long as at least two sides have mesh or holes as ventilation. However, they offer minimal impact protection, may collapse or crush, and may be difficult to clean.

Carrier Accessibility

  • Look for a carrier that has both a top and a front opening for so you can easy access for you and your cat.
  • Top-loading carriers allow for minimal stress when you place your cat in the carrier and when your remove her from the carrier.
  • An opening in the front allows your cat to come and go as she pleases.
  • It is helpful to have a carrier where the top half may be removed so your veterinarian can exam your cat while they sit in the bottom half of the carrier. Many cats feel more secure and experience less anxiety during examinations conducted this way.
  • Carriers that offer some visual privacy are preferred, so your cat may feel more secure and may be less likely to experience motion-induced anxiety or stomach distress. Look for a carrier that has at least two solid sides with few holes or windows.
  • The carrier should have a leak-proof bottom, covered with plenty of absorbent material.

Cat Carrier Mistakes to Avoidimg_0021

  • Putting your cat carrier away.
    • You want your cat to become comfortable with her carrier, so leave the cat carrier out and make it part of your home.
    • Hopefully, your cat will begin going into her carrier often and see the carrier as part of her space in your home.
  • Grabbing your cat by the “scruff” or back of the neck to put her in the carrier.
    • If you need to place your cat into her carrier, it is best to carefully scoop her up with both hands and support her bottom.
    • You want your cat to trust you when you pick her up. So, you want to handle your cat carefully and not cause her pain or fear.
    • Many cats also have arthritis in her neck or back, so proper handling is important to avoid causing your cat pain.
  •  Shoving or dropping your cat into the carrier.
    • Again, you need to treat your cat respectfully and carefully.
    • If you drop or shove her into the carrier, she may try to bite or scratch you out of fear.
    • If you are desperate to get your cat into her carrier, toss a blanket over your cat, wrap her like a burrito – being careful not to pull the blanket too tight – and slide her into the carrier. It’s similar to swaddling a baby.
  • Forgetting to line the bottom of the carrier.
    • Your cat prefers a soft place to sit.
    • Try placing a blanket in the bottom of the carrier and spraying it with a feline facial pheromone, so is not as scary of an environment.
  • Trying too hard to get your cat into the carrier
    • When you try too hard and change your behavior, your cat can get suspicious.
    • Instead, put catnip and toys in the carrier.
    • With patience and time, your cat should come around.