Cat Travel | How to Transport Your Cat – Best Pet Carriers

Transporting your cat everywhere by carrying it in your arms might seem like a fine decision at first. But in hindsight, you know it’s not the most conventional or comfortable way to do so.

Soft Cat Carrier Airline Approved
Soft Cat Carrier Airline Approved
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Hard carriers, soft carriers, slings, backpacks, and boxes—there are plenty of choices for transporting your cat. But how do you decide which option works best? Factoring in cost, comfort, and convenience for you and your cat, you have to consider size too. You can’t buy a regular cat carrier for a kitten. But does that mean you buy different sizes of carriers or boxes with every year your cat grows? Not to mention the weight issue, what with your cat becoming considerably chonky!

Overall, the carrier you choose has to be comfortable enough that your cat doesn’t experience any stress or anxiety. This blog will explain the best ways to transport your cat, what you should consider when buying such a cat essential, which carrier you should choose, and how you can make traveling easy for your cat!

How to Travel with Your Cat—A Guide

Before we begin, understand that how you transport your cat depends on your mode of transportation. A walk around the block doesn’t require the whole nine yards. But if you’re taking your cat on a trip on an airplane, that requires specifics on jet boxes that you’ll likely get from the airline website.

For your ease, let’s discuss how you should transport your cat via car or if you’re out and about.

Hard Sided Travel Cat Carrier
Hard Sided Travel Carrier
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Safety First

Safety and security are essential. You don’t want the backpack or the carrier to be so flimsy and loose that your cat would be able to maneuver its way out. You also don’t want it to be so flexible and weak that hefting it on a hard surface would warp the plastic. Whatever carrier you buy, choose one that speaks in terms of quality.

Also, find one that can be strapped into the backseat of a car. It’ll give you a sense of ease too.

Know Your Cat’s Comfort Size

Though it will give you comfort knowing that your cat has a large, spacious carrier to lounge in, that’s more dangerous than safe.

Think about any sudden moves you make, or if you’re in a car and you have to make a sudden stop or swerve. Instead of risking your cat bouncing in its carrier like a ping pong ball, get a carrier that’s a snug fit. Cats feel safer in small spaces anyway, hence their habit of squashing behind the couch.

Unless your cat is growing up quickly, a snuggly fit carrier would be a perfect choice.

Pet Magasin Airline Approved Collapsible Cat Carrier
Airline Approved Collapsible Cat Carrier
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Get a Properly-Structured Carrier

Typically, people go with the hard-plastic carrier. But, we don’t often make the right choice because we don’t factor in the overall structure.

The ideal carrier should have an option to remove the top half. The carrier’s sides should also offer concealment and privacy for the cat but still have enough ventilation room.

Remember, your cat is a predator by nature. It will not feel comfortable in a carrier that’s all open to the world.

Make Sure It is Strong

Plastic carriers are the best choice and are more comfortable than any cardboard ones. These carriers are also easier to clean and furnish with comfortable flat pillows or blankets.

When choosing a plastic carrier, find out how strong it is by placing your finger in the middle of the roof, then push hard. If the plastic dips quickly and pops back up, it’s not strong enough for a rambunctious cat who likes to be out in the open.

Which Type of Carrier Should You Buy?

Cardboard Carriers

You’ll remember these carriers from when you adopted your cat (adopt, don’t shop!).

And while they were fine for bringing your cat home for the first time, its uses are limited to that. Cardboard carriers are not intended for long-term use. Your cat will start playing with the cardboard and tear it up, and with time, the material will become weaker. You can use it as a keepsake, but don’t use it for transporting your cat around.

Disposable Cardboard Cat Carrier
Disposable Cardboard Carrier
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Soft-Sided Carriers

These are made with microfiber, polyester, and nylon. These soft-sided carriers are lighter than the hard plastic carriers and pliable, so it’s easy to stuff the carrier in a closet when you’re not using it. Unfortunately, these damage easily because the material can be easily torn.

Soft Cat Carrier Collapsible Airline Approved
Soft Carrier, Collapsible, Airline Approved
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If your cat likes to sharpen its claws on furniture and anything soft, it will spell disaster for your carrier too.

Necoichi Portable Collapsible Cat Carrier
Portable Collapsible Carrier
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Hard Plastic Carriers

Hard plastic carriers are favorites among cat partners because of their sturdiness, ease, and security. These also allow cats to feel more comfortable and can easily be padded too. These carriers are also durable, so if you buy one for your adult cat, these easily last for more than five years if used with care, even more.

Petmate Two Door Top Load Plastic Cat Carrier
Two Door Top Load Carrier
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The only downside is that these carriers are bulky and can be challenging to store. However, if the carrier can easily be dismantled, like this one, that works to your benefit.

Plastic Collapsible Cat Carrier
Plastic Collapsible Carrier
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While backpacks may be popular purchases among cat owners, they’re not so popular among cats.

Cat backpacks bring about stress for your cat, mainly if they’re only used to cat carriers. Being in a backpack is also uncomfortable if you use one that’s the wrong size. Your best chance in getting your cat acclimated with the backpack is if you use it from the beginning to transport your cat. That way, it won’t have to maneuver itself in weird positions to feel comfortable.

Cat Carrier Backpack
Cat Backpack
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Cat Slings

If you’ve got a Velcro cat who likes nothing more than to snuggle with you the whole day, the cat sling is the perfect choice for you.

Cat slings work the same way baby sings work. The cat stays contained in a fabric sling that rests against your chest. Slings are easier to wash and store, and frees up your hands too. You can also pair your sling with a harness as well as a mini leash if your cat is the jumping type. If not, something more secure like carriers or backpacks would have to do.

Cat Sling Carrier
Cat Sling Carrier View on Amazon

Additional Tips for Transporting Your Cat

Let’s assume that you’ve also bought a rigid plastic carrier like half the cat partners population. Is that enough to transport your cat safely?

Travel is stressful for cats, so you know when planning a journey to prepare to make your cat happy and comfortable. Yet, there may be some things you might miss out on. Here are some tips that’ll help:

Be Aware of Hot Cats

We all know that leaving anyone in a hot car can be dangerous. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, or a ferret, you must not leave them in the car, even for a short while. If you accidentally get locked out of your car, call 911 or break the window and get into your car.

Do not assume that leaving an animal in the car for two minutes is fine, or for a little while so you can go and eat something. Please bring your pet along with you, and under no circumstances leave them anywhere outside. Any such action will count as animal endangerment, animal abuse, and you may even be legally charged with cruelty to animals.

Take Breaks

Put yourself in your cat’s place. You’re cooped up in a small rectangle box for hours just because someone wanted to get a latte then remembered that they had chores!

Your cat will not take kindly to being shoved into a box all day. Every hour, find a safe spot and let your cat out for a walk. Keep an extendable leash, food, and water with you, and fluff up their blanket inside the carrier, especially if it’s a hot day, to let the air cool that body heat on the blanket.

Prepare for a Potty Break

We’ve all experienced it. Your cat didn’t want to wait and has now messed up the carrier royally.

First, don’t get angry at your cat. Instead, stop somewhere and clean up the mess using a moist cloth. It may help to swap out the blankets for fresh ones and use gloves while clearing things up.

If you use an air freshener, make sure to get one that’s pet-safe, so your cat stays happy too.

Pet Safe Cat Litter Box Deodorizer Air Freshener
Pet Safe Air Freshener
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Watch Out for Warning Signs

Excessive meowing, heavy breathing, over-quietness, and panting are significant warning signs.

If you’re transporting your cat in a car, make sure the AC’s cool air reaches the carrier. If possible, use a small handheld fan and hold it up to the grate. But keep your cat calm. All that fur is already not doing your cat any favors. You don’t want to add to the situation.

Final Thoughts

Transporting your cat is not as big a challenge if you plan your trip right and choose the best carrier. With all the information given above, you’ll feel comforted knowing that you’ve done the best for your cat. And dare we say it, your cat may end up having a pleasant experience too!

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