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For the safety of your cat, always travel with it in a carrier. Carriers come in several styles.

Main styles[]

  • The most economical is a simple cardboard carrier, often available from your vet or pet shop.
  • Hard plastic or fiberglass carriers last longer, are more secure, easily cleaned and disinfected, and fold away for storage. They are warm and cozy and provide a feeling of security for the kitten.
  • Wire carriers are easy to clean and their openness allows for air circulation in the summer, but they can be cold in the winter and provide little refuge for a frightened feline.
  • Oft-sided carriers are lighter to carry but offer little protection if thrown about in a car accident. Wicker carriers are aesthetically pleasing but difficult to clean.
  • While most carriers have a door in the side, some carriers open from the top. Carriers come in different sizes so chose a size large enough to be comfortable for your cat when it reaches its adult size. Some carriers come with wheels and over-the-shoulder straps to make transport easier. A cage cover can be bought to prevent drafts in cold weather.
Cat carrier-front and top openings

A Tabby cat in a carrier.

General styles[]

There are different types and styles of pet carriers available, according to one's specific needs, such as when traveling by airplane or car and for a pet's species, weight, and size.

  • Airline pet carriers

When traveling by plane, each airline has its specifications and requirements to make sure that the pet and other passengers travel safely and comfortably. Some airlines allow travelers to bring their pets on board if they are comfortably accommodated in an airline-approved pet carrier. Even then, usually, only small dogs and cats can go in the cabin; otherwise, they have to be in the cargo hold, in specially designed crates such as dog crates. For pets in the cabin, the general rule is that the carrier must fit underneath the seat in front of the owner and it must have a waterproof bottom. Also, the carrier must be big enough for the pet to turn around, stand up, and lie down. Furthermore, the kennel has to be ventilated on at least three sides. Crates or kennels that are used in cargo travel must have a metal door that is strong enough to prevent the pet from bending it in any way and must have attached the name of the owner and address and also a "Live Animal This Side Up" notice.

  • Backpack pet carriers
Backpack pet carriers are suitable for smaller pets when walking. They are also convenient for hiking, shopping, road trips, or appointments to the veterinarian. They feature a well-ventilated, comfortable compartment for the pet for safe and enjoyable travel. Some backpack pet carrier models are airline approved so they can be safely used while traveling by plane. Backpack pet carriers are available in different sizes, colors, materials, and designs. Some have extra pockets which can be used for extra storage. Most of these pet carriers are designed for pets that do not weigh more than 10 lbs. They have ventilation sides and zippered sides for easy use. Some backpack carriers come with wheels which makes it possible to convert a backpack carrier into a roll-along one.
  • Pet car-seat carriers
Used when traveling by car; these are also called car seats for pets. They provide safety for the pet and they come in various sizes, colors, and designs to fit on the seat of a car. Different sizes can accommodate smaller or larger pets of up to 25 lbs. They can also often be used as pet beds at home or in a hotel. Car seats are normally made of fleece and are filled with foam for comfort. For increased safety, and for larger pets, sturdy crates are used. There are modern variations of crates such as Carrie NOWWe. Unlike cages, they have a safety net, which supposedly keeps pets travel stress-free. It also comes with an easy open gate to help an owner to communicate with a pet during the ride.
  • Soft-sided pet carriers
  • Purse carriers
These are designed for pets that do not weigh more than 12 pounds and come in a variety of sizes, designs, and colors. They typically have a reinforced floor for the safety of the pet. They are equipped with ventilation holes and a roll-down mesh window. Except for night-time and some exceptional circumstances, dogs should not spend more than five hours in such carriers, and not very often.

Train your cat to get used to the Carrier[]

  1. Buy a hard-sided carrier. A dog carrier large enough for your cat to comfortably stand up, turn around and lie down in, with room for a small litter box, is ideal for a long road trip.
  2. Let your cat sniff it out. Place the open carrier in an area where your cat enjoys hanging out. Make it a fixture in her living area. Get your cat used to the carrier by making it a place she enjoys. Feed her treats and play with her in it.
  3. Prep for the trip. Before bringing your cat to the car, place a few layers of puppy pads in the bottom of the carrier. Then, put your cat in the carrier and loosely cover the carrier with a towel.
  4. Sit with your cat. After placing the carrier in the back seat of the car, help relax your cat by sitting next to her and talking softly to her. If she is relaxed, give her treats that she adores.
  5. Go back home. After a few minutes, take your cat back into the house and let her out of the carrier.