Travel Pet Carriers for Cats

Have an upcoming trip you want to take your cat with? Then, you’ll need a safe and comfortable carrier for your feline friend. But with so many alternatives on the market, how do you know which one to choose? We can help! Learn more about the best travel carriers for cats available and what to look for when you choose the best way to go on a trip with your kitten.

travel pet carriers for cats Seal Mitted half brothers Caymus and Murphy at vet in Marchioro Clipper
Travel Pet Carriers for Cats

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What travel carrier do cats like best?

In general, when traveling, cats prone to nervousness or aggressiveness (felines with a history of biting, swiping, or nipping) would perform much better in a rigid carrier.

Cats with calmer temperaments may prefer fabric carriers. A rigid carrier is required for passage in the aircraft’s cargo hold. So, be picky about comfort while choosing travel carriers for cats. 

To choose the right carrier size, you’ll need to know your cat’s height and length.

The container should be spacious enough for your pet to rotate around and cuddle up or extend out freely when sitting flat. Extend from the base of its tail to the bottom of its throat, where the neck rests. Then double that number by a couple of inches.

Also, make sure you test the carrier at home, before using it at the airport. You need to check if your cat can escape. This is the best way to test if you’ve got the right cat pet carrier.

Are cat backpacks cruel?

Cat backpacks aren’t harmful if the cat loves the experience of being inside one. You may have to train your pet to stay in one, but that’s typical of all slings.

Overall, they are a secure and dependable method to carry your feline companion. Cat backpacks or travel carriers are an excellent alternative for both you and your pet, whether you’re heading to the vet or going for leisure walks and excursions.

Backpacks keep your cat safe, while still allowing them to enjoy the landscape.

Can cats travel without a carrier?

A cat can drive in the vehicle without travel carriers for cats in most locations, but that doesn’t automatically mean they should. It’s up to you as the owner.

But think about the ramifications of not adequately securing your cat, not just for the pet but also for your other companions. Every jurisdiction, however, has its regulations regarding impaired driving with cats on one’s lap or loose in the vehicle.

Another very important thing is to protect your cat with a shoulder strap. You can do so by offering the cat treats or a big toy and keeping it engaged. Some people use a pet crate when they do not have access to travel carriers for cats.

How do you travel long distances with a cat in a car?

Here are a few tips that you should consider while buying travel carriers for cats, especially if you take your cats in the cars.

1. Prepare your cat for traveling in advance

Three to four hours ahead, you depart, pamper your cat. For pampering, you may use blankets, polyester-packed treats, and even travel carriers for cats. Meanwhile, it would help if you tried to get your cat acquainted with the luggage strap.

Make sure you don’t feed your cat at least several hours before the trip, so you don’t end up with poop all over your pet and its travel carrier. The meal needs time to settle.

2. Remind your feline friend about home

Covering your kitten with their favorite soft blanket or pillow within the carrier could make the travel experience less stressful for your cat. The warmth and scent of your home will help keep your kitten calm.

3. Placing your travel carriers for cats the right way

Position the carrier in your car in a way, so it doesn’t move ahead or tumble on road bumps. Place the carrier where your cat can see you the best. And always try to secure the carrier with the seatbelts as much as possible.

4. Offering food and water for your kitten while traveling

Feel free to give your cat some food and water while you’re on the road, especially around the times when it would usually eat.

Allow yourself some playtime when you take a break from driving. To accommodate for time-zone shifts, gradually transition the routines a few weeks before you depart.

5. In case you need to leave your cat in the car for a while

If you need to get out of the vehicle for any time, open the windows about an inch (1.5 cm) for ventilation, but don’t allow the cat to wander freely in the car. Keep in mind that cats are very good at going through tiny openings, so don’t roll the windows down any farther.

Warm days may swiftly heat an automobile to unsafe levels, while cold days quickly produce hypothermia. Don’t lock the car without keeping the windows open for ventilation.

Keep that in mind while you’re with the setting of the cat carrier backpack.

Do cats like being in a sling?

Because cats some adore travel carriers, a gentle baggage sling with a neck sling and openings on the front, rear, and the top is excellent. And, of course, bring your cat’s favorite snacks with you along with one or two travel carriers for cats.

You’ll need to take your cats through safety while using travel carriers for cats, so a collar and short leash are appropriate. Cat slings are safe, but only if they’re used correctly, and your cat is securely secured in the sling.

Because of the zippers and snaps, packing your cat for the vet may take a little longer.

Are cats scared of carriers?

Although not all cats despise carriers, a large number of them do. And for such cats, terror trumps all other emotions—as well as your commands and pleadings. Because they aren’t used to being in a carrier, they respond in this way and become trapped in a loop of negative reinforcement.

It should be compact enough for you to carry and comfy enough for your cat. Many cats prefer a carrier with sides that provide a visual barrier, allowing them to hide and enjoy some solitude.

Look for travel carriers for cats that can be secured with a seatbelt by being placed safely on a wooden floor or a flat bench.

Can cats go on long car rides? 

If the journey is only a few hours long, your cat will be comfortable staying in the carrier the entire time.

If you’re going on a more extended vacation, especially one that will take several days, you might want to allow your cat out of the carrier now and then to drink water and use the litter box.

That’s a long travel, maybe seven or eight hours if there’s no traffic. The cat should be let out of its Carrier every four to six hours, especially if it does not have a pocket. A spring wire frame at the rea can also be helpful, and you should consider it while buying travel carriers for cats.

How long can a cat travel in a car without peeing?

The average cat pees about 2-3 times each day.

It might be considerably less frequently when they’re anxious. Cats can retain their urine for up to 48 hours, but this seems like it would be pretty painful.

Ensure you have old towels and wipes on hand to take care of any spills. It would help if you get puppy training pads and place them on the bottom of the carrier. This trick works for every carrier.

Cat carriers with litter boxes are also an option, as they serve as storage or pad. You can also go for cloth options, as they are machine-washable, and they will also prevent your cat from anxiety and stress.

All these arrangements also ensure pet safety. So you must consider everything and focus on all dimensions while purchasing travel carriers for cats.

How long can a cat be in a car without a litter box?

Cats are sometimes forced to remain in their travel carriers for long periods.

It might not be desirable, but it is the reality of the society in which we live: people often move from location to location, which can sometimes be hundreds of kilometers away.

Some cat owners have no option but to confine their pets to a kennel for up to 10 hours. In this case, you’re not obligated to use travel carriers for cats. A good idea would be for you to prepare a list of everything you would purchase or do to plan a more pleasant trip.

It would help if you also considered buying new travel carriers for cats. 

Another important thing to do is to keep the contact with your veterinarian while you’re on the road. They’re the person who’ll be able to give you the best instructions if you’re in need.

When you’re using travel carriers for cats, make sure the breathable mesh windows are not blocked and the clips and frames are intact. This will guarantee your cat’s safety, while you’re traveling.

What cat carriers are airline approved?

Estimate your pet’s size by measuring them from the crown of the head to the floor and from the bridge of the nose to the bottom (not top) of the tail.

Choose a pet carrier based on these measurements, as there’s a variety of sizes of travel carriers for cats are in the market. If your pet weighs more than 15 lbs., and measures more than 19 inches in length, it will be too big to fit inside an airline-approved carrier.

A pet flying in a lodge must be contained in a hard or soft kennel that has been authorized for use on air flights. The cage must sit entirely beneath the front passenger seat and stay there under all circumstances.

Hard-sided kennels have optimal dimensions of 17.5 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm).

Do you love your travel pet carrier for your cat and have chosen the best cat carrier? What brand, size, etc., is it? I would love to feature it here!

Have you taken your kitty on an airplane with it for air travel? Is it an approved airline pet carrier, or do you want to know about travel carriers for cats used in airports?

Feel free to comment and share your ideas, thoughts, and experiences about travel carriers for cats with us. We can’t wait to hear them!

There’re So Many Travel Carriers For Cats! Which One Should I Choose?

Floppycats’ reader, Erica, emailed me the other day and asked:

“I was watching your videos on the sleepy pod air and had some questions (I have been searching searching the internet for an answer but haven’t seemed to have found one).  I’m planning on getting a Ragdoll kitten… I will be a 1st time cat owner and have fallen in love with the Ragdoll personality […]  I travel at least once every year and I want to be able to take my cat in cabin on the flights but I wonder if the male Ragdoll will be too big to fit in cabin.  […] Have you ever traveled or know someone whose traveled in cabin with their heavy male Ragdolls?”


I reached out on Facebook to see what other Floppycats’ readers had to say about their favorite travel carriers for cats:

Reader Favorites – Travel Pet Carriers for Cats:

1. Sturdibag

SturdiBag Pet Carrier back with mesh and padded handle

Cindy shared her experience:

I really like Sturdibag. It fits nicely under the airlines’ seat and has springy supports so the top of the bag doesn’t collapse on the animal. It’s very sturdy too!


Purchase your Sturdibag on Amazon.

2. Sleepypod

Sleepypod Strawberry Red cat travel carrier with mesh

Michelle recommended:

I love my Sleepypod! It’s the only carrier that kept my cat relaxed on his many trips to the Vet.

Kim said:

I love my Sleepypod! It’s very comfy for my cat and fits in my car seat with places for the seat belt to hold it.

Find your Sleepypod on Amazon.

3. Sherpa on Wheels

Sherpa Pet Carrier on Wheels Airline Approved black with rolling part in front of the breathing mesh

Sharon told us about her favorite travel carriers for cats:

Sherpa gets my vote!! Large for the Ragdolls. And on wheels to help my back. One of the few carriers I’ve found that rolls flat and doesn’t tip the cat when you’re rolling it.

Handle adjusts to a variety of positions.

Soft interior.

Sheepskin like.

The interior removes for easy cleaning.

It’s also guaranteed to be allowed on airlines. (At least it used to be).

A bit pricey at $110 or more, but well worth it. You can also get replacement wheels. 99891 is the model # for Sherpa!”

Shirley also said:

I think my very favorite is one I no longer have. It was like a stroller-type on wheels. It opened in the front with a zipper. You could just place the cat in that larger opening.

I have a cat now that Hates the regular hard-sided front entrance ones!! I have found now that if I prop it up on end and have it open in my bathroom–I get her in the bathroom with doors closed and pick her up and drop her in thru the top.

Much easier than trying and failing many times to stuff her in when it is laying flat.

Good thing I don’t have to take her out a lot : )

We confirmed and she was talking about the Sherpa on wheels. Purchase your Sherpa on Amazon.

4. Petmate Vari Kennel

travel pet carrier for cats Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel plastic with metal wires

Andrea says:

I have had the Vari Kennel for 25 years.

I bought it at a local pet store, but Amazon does carry it. We use it for trips to the vet and keep our SureFeeder in it as we have a food bully.

It is the perfect size for Ragdolls.”

You can grab a Vari Kennel on Amazon.

5. Petmate Two Door Top Load

Petmate Two Door Top Load 24 Inch Kennel with the top door opened

Martha recommended the Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Kennel, which is constructed of steel and plastic. It also has a secure carry handle.

Michelle also said:

“We like the carrier Petmate, it’s durable and when loading things into the car for trips we can actually stack things on top of it.

We drive periodically to and from our vacation home, 3 1/2 hour drive, and always take many things with us on our trip.

The mesh totes don’t seem as durable. Buy your Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Kennel on Amazon.

6. Calm Carrier

best cat carrier for cats who hate carriers calm carrier magicarrier drawer out

Maureen said about the Calm carrier:

“This is what we have for one of our two cats. She loves it, and our vet always comments on how much easier it is for cats to have one like this.

It was the first one like it our vet saw, and she’s now recommending it to other cat owners.”

Find your Calm Carrier on their website.

7. Morpilot Dog Backpack Carrier

Morpilot Backpack Foldable in jeans color with zippers on meshed parts on top and front and accessories

Eve said how happy she is about her favorite Morpilot travel carriers for cats:

I can’t find the exact one, I bought it years ago, but this one comes with the same collapsible water bowl. It was also $30-40. Mine looks like a lot heavier construction and my kitty is 15lbs.

I love the backpack cuz then your arms are free, and with two cats, one who did not like the mesh backpack, you can carry another pet!

Grab the Morpilot Dog Backpack Carrier on Amazon.

8. Catit Catit Cabrio Carrier

Catit Cabrio Carrier – Blue Gray with a ragdoll cat in it

Michelle shared her feedback about Catit Catit Cabrio Carier:

“I love these, we have 2 of the solid gray ones that can no longer get in that color. I love that the door is solid to where they can’t stick their paw through and is very roomy!

Get so many compliments at the vet and anywhere we go.”

Amazon carries the Catit Catit Cabrio Carrier

9. Pet Magasin

Pet Magasin hardcover collapsible pet carrier light grey with mesh and soft padding

Christine shared about:

Pet Magasin hardcover collapsible pet carrier.

I use it mostly for vet trips or when moving. There is a bigger one than the one in the link that my big girl fits in with plenty of room to spare.

I love it because it is front or top loading, easy to clean, and folds up completely flat for storing in tight spaces. The top and bottom are hard, the sides are thick neoprene, and the door is mesh.

Find the Pet Magasin on Amazon.

10. Lollimeow Pet Carrier Backpack

Lollimeow Transparent Backpack Breathable in mint green close photo

Eve said:

“My sister is a vet tech and someone brought in a kitty in this carrier. I want to get a bubble one like this next for my kittens.

Also, I suggest this one as a great one for taking kitties to the vet.

If it’s a very nervous kitty or looks very sick and might be a contagious cat disease, a carrier like this allows the kitty to be initially looked at, without having to leave the carrier (if you have a runner/freakout type kitty, this might help the visibility).

Find the Lollimeow Pet Carrier Bubble Backpack Carrier on Amazon.

11. Pet Smart Cart Carriers on Wheels

Pet-Smart Cart Travel pet carriers for cats on wheels black with breathable mesh on the sides

Sharon Shulby, a Ragdoll breeder wrote:

I use “Smart Cart Carriers on wheels” for my cats. I get them from Amazon.

I have the large size..1″ long x 12″ wide and 16″ high…

the wheels are on a removable board which, when removed, lowers the height by 2″.

It has a telescopic handle to pull the cat and the carrier. 

My husband used to say, “if you can’t carry it or put wheels on it, you can’t bring it into the house.”

My King is 24# and I’m not carrying him on my shoulder. It also has a strap to secure it to the seat belt, if you’re in a car. They’re available in small and medium size also. 

The Smart Cart folds flat, with large, velcro straps to secure it.

It has a heavy-duty fabric handle to hang on the wall, near the door, making it easy to grab, in case of emergency evacuation won’t be without them.

Find your Smart Cart Carriers on wheels on Amazon.

12. Cayman Pet Carriers

Sherpa Pet Delta Air Lines Deluxe Pet Carrier with a yorkshire terrier with a blue bow in front of it

Jill recommended the Marchioro Cayman Pet Carriers. 

“I use the Cayman 2 for my big guy, Caymus. And a slightly smaller version, Cayman 1, for my Murphy. 

These are great carriers – very easy to undo at the vet’s office and my vet always tells me how much she likes them. 

This is a carrier you can get for your kitten and use it through their adulthood. In other words, a carrier that will last 20 years and beyond.”

  • Cayman 3 Pet Carrier (This is Caymus’ carrier – he’s 17-18 lbs. Carrier measures 25 x 17 x 17 inches; 3 pounds)
  • Cayman 2 Pet Carrier (This is Murphy’s carrier – he’s 11-12 lbs. Carrier measures 22.2 x 14 x 14.2 inches; 3 pounds )

Purchase your Cayman 3 Pet Carrier or Cayman 2 Pet Carrier on Amazon

13. Sherpa American Kennel Soft Carrier

Claudia recommended:”

The Sherpa American Kennel soft carrier.

Meant for a small dog but our cats love it. It is attractive but very comfortable with a furry bottom. The top and end zippers make it so easy to move the cats in and out.

Also, it is the right size for taking on the airplane if you must travel.”

Purchase your Sherpa American Kennel soft carrier on Amazon

14. Cat in the Bag

travel pet carriers for cats cat in the bag carrier for car trips

Barb said:

The one I like best is cat-in-the-bag. It’s not for an airplane but works great in our car for our trips with Finn, three hours each way.

We have tried two other carriers & he cries in them; wants to let out. The cat-in-the-bag carrier is wonderful! Lots of room for their legs to stretch out, and his head is not enclosed.

The vet also loves this carrier as they can just unzip the bottom to give an examination or vaccine.

Velcro is used to hold the cat’s head. The strap is great for carrying the cat or strapping him into the car’s seatbelt.

I’ve also given a cat a bath in this….so much easier with it! Simple to store this carrier too!”

Grab a Cat-in-the-Bag Carrier on Amazon.

15. The 3-Wheeler Elite Jogger

The 3-Wheeler Elite Jogger travel pet carrier on wheels pink carrier

The 3 -Wheeler Elite Jogger is another great option for travel carriers for cats you can find on the market.

Easy front loading for your small pet using the mesh zipper area in the front or footboard step or use the back zippered door to load and unload your pet. This travel stroller folds down easily to store in smaller spaces for traveling.

For other options for cat strollers, you’ll find a list on this page. 

Grab the 3 Wheel Elite Jogger on Amazon

Website | + posts

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Patti Johnson says:

    TYSVM, Jenny honey, for all this wonderful & helpful information! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. Many cats prefer horizontal surface to scratch on rather than vertical.
    If he or she doesn’t immediately accept it, don’t be discouraged.
    This is almost feline abuse in the eyes of your precious princess or your precious prince.

  3. I’m getting my first Ragdoll kitten (male) in 8 weeks. Can’t wait. I’ve been looking at all the carriers online and am thoroughly confused – so many to choose from. Hard vs soft carriers? Top loaders vs front loaders? Which carrier would be comfortable for an adult male? I would like the carrier to last from kitten to adult stage. Any suggestions?

    1. Nicky, if you want one carrier to last the length of your kitty’s life and it doesn’t have to be an airline approved carrier, then I would recommend the Marchioro Cayman Pet Carriers. My mom has one of each for her Ragdolls. They are now 8 years old and these have been great carriers for her. Of course, you still need a cozy blanket to put inside.

      Her cats, Caymus and Murphy, are different sizes – so she has a bigger one for Caymus and a smaller one for Murphy. Caymus is 17 lbs and Murphy is about 12 lbs. She has the 25″ one for Caymus and the 22″ one for Murphy. I have listed them below.

      CAYMAN 3 25X17X17 BGE/GRN

      Cayman 2 Pet Carrier – 22.2 x 14 x 14.2 inches

      My vet, an all cat vet, DOES NOT like top loaders. I like hard carriers for a number of reasons – one is that I just think they are safer if there was to be an impact of any sort.

      1. Great advice thank you – will look at the suggested carriers. Downloaded your ebook today, thank you muchly for all the great advice, ideas and insight – so excited to become a first time rag mom.

        1. Good deal – I think my mom actually has Cayman 1 and 2, not 2 and 3 – getting my dad to measure them to make sure.

          Please let me know what you think of the book – I need to add these carriers to the book!

          I’m excited for you too – hope you’ll share your precious angel with us!

        2. Hi Nicky, my dad measured them for me and turns out that my mom has the Marchioro Cayman Pet Carriers 1 & 2. Not 2 & 3.

        3. Oh my goodness! It is 2 & 3 that she has – thanks for asking – it inspired me to do a review! So I went over today to do the video and saw on the bottom that it is 2 & 3!! So here are the right ones, finally!

          • Cayman 3 Pet Carrier
            (This is Caymus’ carrier – he’s 17-18 lbs. Carrier measures 25 x 17 x 17 inches ; 3 pounds)
          • Cayman 2 Pet Carrier
            (This is Murphy’s carrier – he’s 11-12 lbs. Carrier measures 22.2 x 14 x 14.2 inches ; 3 pounds )
          1. Great, thanks for the confirmation – I was going to go for the #2, but may change to the #3. Caymus seems a good average size for a male.

            (on a side note – I’m a newbie to this site – have you done any reviews or had reader feedback on litter pans for large cats?)

  4. I agree with Sharon – I just got a Sherpa Ultimate on wheels (the one shown near the end there) and it’s magnificent. Very well-made, and they carry replacement parts for just about anything that could wear out on the bag – replacement wheels, structural elements, fleece liners, everything! It’s also very stable to roll around, and collapsible for storage. One end features double zippers – open one for collapsibility, or the other to keep the structural frame in place so the carrier can be used as a regular cozy bed for your kitty. All sides have roll-down privacy shades except the front, which has a net pocket (which you could put something in to hide that side too if you didn’t want anyone to be be bothered that about you carrying a pet with you, like on the bus or in public buildings). I spent a long time looking for just the right carrier, and when mine arrived it was even better than expected.

  5. Forgot to mention, the Sleepypod is ‘top loading’, I don’t know about your experience but trying to put Leonardo in a ‘front loading’ carrier is not easy or fun. He also sleeps in the bottom half of the sleepy pod some of the time (it’s just one of the spots in the house that he likes and it’s left out for him) so his scent is all over it so he feels much more secure.

  6. Thank you Jenny for posting this… it’s a big help. 🙂 And thank you so much for posting all these great carriers. Gives me a better “Ragdoll” point of view. 🙂

  7. I wasn’t aware that the new owner was getting a male RD! If that’s the case, and they want to travel, the only carrier to get is the Sherpa. It’s way too difficult to schlep a 20# cat through the airport. Sherpa is on wheels and doesn’t tilt the cat like others I’ve used. (And donated.) My males can turn around in it and stand up in it. The only way to go! This is my 10th carrier!! And last!! It’s just too bad there’s no place where we can ‘try out’ or rent the carriers before we spend lots of $ on them. Sigh

  8. Leonardo has a Sleepypod, it’s the best thing ever and you can secure it very well with the seatbelt in the car too.

  9. WOW! For some reason the link just takes me back here to your blog but with a blank page!! But it IS the CORRECT link! SORRY!

    1. OK – thanks, crazy. I will add the right one!

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