6 Best Cat Carriers in 2020: How to choose the Right Carrier?

Every year, we gather data from professional transporters and their customers on the pet products they’ve been using. There’s always one or two surprises, but what we’re really looking for is the reasoning behind every choice they’ve made. With that in mind, here’s our overview of this year’s best cat carriers. We list sixteen products across six categories, and offer advice on choosing the ones that fit your pet’s needs.

Best carriers for stubborn cats

As any cat person will tell you, felines fight tooth-and-nail when you try to stuff them into a container. Luring them in with treats works on some, not at all on others. If your kitty is of the stubborn persuasion, your best bet is choosing a carrier that it’ll find appealing. Get one with a top entry — for example, the AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel. Leave it open for a while, and the cat’ll jump in on its own to check it out. If you line it with towels, odds are it’ll take a nap! The container itself is as impact-resistant as they come. The steel mesh makes it look like a crude cat transport cage rather than a carrier, but you’re not going for style points here! You want something sturdy and yet attractive to the cats themselves.

Upsides: Ease of access, high impact resistance.

Downsides: Moderately heavy, no special features.

Honorable Mentions: Pet Magasin Hard Cover Collapsible Cat Carrier.

Best carriers for anxious cats

On the other side of the spectrum, you’ve got cats who’ll readily let you put them inside a carrier. But then they just mope around in there, anxious and miserable, occasionally throwing up. Each cat has its own quirks, and many of them struggle with anxiety. The trick is to minimize the discomfort they feel, making them feel like they’re not contained at all. One product that manages that is the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier. Low and light-weight, it can support cats of up to 8 lbs. It features an adjustable wire frame and shoulder straps. More importantly, it has mesh ventilation on all four sides! This allows the anxious little passenger a great view of the surroundings, which can calm the nerves. 

Upsides: Excellent field of vision, adjustable wire frame.

Downsides: Low impact resistance, low capacity.

Honorable Mentions: SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier.

Best carriers for easy-going cats

If you have that rarest of beasts, a mild-mannered cat that actually enjoys being carried around, congratulations! Well done! You might want to consider one of those open-air carriers, essentially portable cat beds. For example, the Kitty City Large Faux Leather Trimmed Felt Cat Cave. It can be strapped to a car seat to provide a comfortable fixture for the cat inside a vehicle. They’re stylish, they’re affordable, they’re fully washable, but please note that they’re not for everyone. Use them only if you’re 100% certain that the cat won’t hop out looking for trouble. Otherwise, use enclosed containers instead.

Upsides: Maximum comfort, modest price, adaptability.

Downsides: Low security, not accepted as containers by all airlines.

Honorable Mentions: Cat-In-The-Bag Cozy Comfort Carrier.

Best carriers for paired cats

Sometimes, cats need to travel together. If they’re small and get along well, you might be tempted to stuff them both into a single container. Terrible idea! Each cat needs its own space, which the SturdiBag Divided Large Pet Carrier can provide. It’s sturdy and durable, with a maximum weight allowance is 50 lbs, but its best feature is flexibility! You can keep each cat in its separate compartment, or unzip the divider to carry a single, bigger cat. (Or even a dog, but don’t tell your kitty that — she might not approve!) 

Upsides: High capacity, highly durable, collapsible divider.

Downsides: Heavy, difficult to maneuver.

Honorable Mentions: SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier; Sherpa Travel Crash Tested Ultra Safe Auto Buckle-In Pet Harnesses and Travel Bags.

Best carriers for fancy cats

Your cat might take one look at the carrier you got and declare, “Outrageous! I deserve to travel in style! Do better!” If nothing but the best will do for that spoiled little feline, your options could be limited. Consider the Coopeter Luxury Soft-Sided Pet Carrier. It’s luxuriously spacious, but a spring wire frame makes it fit under a plane seat anyway. It features more pockets and straps than you’ll know what to do with. Best of all, it’s more expensive than anything else in its class, so even your fatcat won’t object!

Upsides: Expandable, durable, good field of vision.

Downsides: Expensive, heavy, moderate impact resistance.

Honorable Mentions: Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Carrier; Sleepypod Air in-Cabin Pet Carrier; Kenox Fashion Pet Carrier Tote Handbag.

Best carriers for thrifty cats

On the other hand, your cat might also say, “Look, human, we’re on a budget here, all right? Don’t overdo it.” Obviously, all you can do is obey and try to find an affordable carrier. One popular choice in this category is the Pet Magasin Airline Approved Cat Carrier. It’ll set you back less than $20, while being airline approved, comfortably padded, and mesh-ventilated. Collapsible for storage, made of a durable material — nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done.

Upsides: Affordable, durable.

Downsides: Low impact resistance, no special features.

Honorable Mentions: Necoichi Ultra-Light Portable Cat Carrier; Paws & Pals Airline Approved Pet Carrier

The Best Cat Carrier is the one that works for you

Ultimately, we only provide general-purpose advice on the quality of cat carriers. We can’t decide for you — consult your cat and your vet before making the call. What we hope to do is improve your ability to make an informed choice. 

So please, don’t just google “cat transport box” and click the first link that pops up! Take into account everything that you know about your feline friends. All their needs and peculiarities. Think about the journey that’s ahead of them and what it might entail. Think hard on how you want them to travel.

We have every confidence that you’ll make the right choice.

Stay safe, and happy shipping!

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