How to Choose the Right Airline-Approved Pet Carrier for Your Cat

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated: July 10, 2023 / Published: March 14, 2023
airline approved, pet carrier, cat

Flying with your cat can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and the right pet carrier, you can make the journey as stress-free as possible for both of you.

 When choosing an airline-approved pet carrier for your furry friend, there are a few important factors to consider. Keep these tips in mind to find the perfect carrier for your favorite feline.

Understand About Airline Approved Rules and Regulations for Pet Carriers

Before you begin shopping for a travel carrier, make sure you understand the airline’s regulations for pet carriers. Each airline has its own set of rules and regulations, so make sure you double-check before you purchase a carrier. Most airlines require that the carrier fit under the seat in front of you and that the pet is able to stand up, turn around, and lie down in the carrier. 

Since most cats weigh under 20 pounds, they don’t need to go in the cargo hold since they’re small enough to fit in a carrier underneath the seat in front of you in-cabin, but in the off chance that you choose to put them in the cargo hold, here are some airline carrier requirements. 

  • Your cat should be able to stand up, turn around in the carrier, and they shouldn’t be able to touch the top.
  • The carrier should have secure locking with pins that extend past the extrusions above and below the door. The pins should be hardware instead of plastic fasteners.
  • The carrier should be ventilated on all sides.
  • The carrier should have your cat’s name and your contact information.
  • Water and food bowls need to be attached to the door and accessible from outside the carrier.

Airplane-friendly Pet Carriers

Consider Size and Comfortability

The right size is essential when it comes to pet carriers. It should be big enough for your cat to be able to move around but not so big that it will take up too much space. The carrier should also be comfortable for your cat, so look for options with soft padding or fleece lining.

Look for Safety Features

When shopping for a pet carrier, safety should be your top priority. Look for a carrier that has a secure locking system, as well as well-padded straps and handles. If you plan on traveling by car, look for carriers that are crash-tested for added protection.

Pick the Right Material

The material of the pet carrier is also important. Look for one that is made from durable, lightweight materials that are easy to clean and maintain. Canvas, nylon, and polyester are all good options. An expandable pet carrier with a shoulder strap is also a good idea as it keeps your pet comfortable inside, and you’re able to carry the soft-sided carrier.

Make Sure it Has Adequate Ventilation

Your cat needs to be able to breathe while inside the pet carrier, so make sure it has adequate ventilation. Look for carriers with mesh sides or windows to ensure maximum air flow.

Check for Easy Cleaning and Maintenance

You will want to clean and maintain your pet carrier on a regular basis, so make sure it’s easy to do so. Look for carriers that are machine washable, as well as ones with removable pads that can be spot cleaned.

Choose the Right Design and Color

The design and color of your pet carrier can make a big difference in how comfortable your cat is while traveling. Choose a design that is easy to carry and one that will provide your cat with plenty of security. Opt for a neutral color, like black or gray, that won’t draw too much attention.

Consider Additional Features

Finally, consider any additional features that your pet carrier may have. Look for pockets, a leash attachment, a shoulder strap, and a water/food holder. These features can make the journey much easier for both of you.

Airline-Approved Pet Carriers of 2023

Cat Carrier for Traveling




  • The carrier is easily stored and folded for keeping in a small place.
  • It’s a perfect carrier that has the essentials for travel — including a litter box and water/food bowl.
  • Good ventilation on all sides will ensure the safety of your cat.


Airline-Approved Travel Crate for Cats



  • It’s a reliably sturdy and durable crate that will last a long time.
  • It has ventilation on all sides, which is important during pet travel.
  • It has a foldable design, which means it’s easy to store anywhere.

Bottom Line

When it comes to choosing the right airline-approved pet carrier for your cat, there are a few important factors to consider. Make sure you understand the airline’s regulations, consider the size and comfortability, look for safety features, pick the right material, make sure it has adequate ventilation, check for easy cleaning and maintenance, choose the right design and color, and consider any additional features. With the right pet carrier and the right preparation, you can make the journey easier for both of you.