All pet cats need to be transported from time to time, whether for annual vet appointments, holidays, home moves, or if you and the cat enjoy travelling together, for fun.
Your cat carrier will have some effect on how comfortably and happily your cat travels – so it’s well worth making the effort to find the right one.
Which carrier is the right one, of course, will depend on your cat. Getting the right size of carrier for your cat is perhaps the most important consideration of all.
While it may feel as if buying a relatively spacious carrier would be the kind choice, a snugger fit may in-fact be best for short journeys, as cats tend to feel safer in small spaces. Think of all the times cats you’ve known have hidden behind the sofa or down some other improbably narrow gap: it’s usually the owner freaking out, not the cat.
Another key consideration is security. Some carriers are more escape-proof than others, with solid plastic carriers typically providing a safer solution than carriers made with softer materials.
For this reason, we recommend a hard carrier for transportation in public contexts, e.g. by train, by aeroplane or on foot. Soft carriers will do nicely for car journeys, where in the unlikely event of an escape, the cat would still be in an environment you can control.
Thirdly, you’ll need to think about the experience the carrier provides, from both your cat’s perspective and your own. Is there a decently-sized viewing window, and if so, is that something your cat would enjoy having?
How does the carrier feel to hold? Would it be easy to coax your cat into? And does it provide a solid foundation for the cat to sit and stand upon? We’ve weighed up all these factors in our reviews of 10 of the best cat carriers available now.
Catit Cabrio pet carrier, turquoise: £39.99, Argos
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Dimensions : 35 x 33 x 51cm
Catit’s Cabrio carrier is a useful option for owners who typically have trouble getting their cat inside its carrier. As well as a transparent front door, it provides an alternative method for loading in your feline, in the form of a roof comprising of two hinged halves. You can place your cat down inside the carrier, rather than ushering them through the door.
The Cabrio is pretty much everything we’d be looking for in a cat carrier. It offers a rare degree of choice over how to get the cat inside it, it’s very solidly built, and it provides a nice, wide viewing window for the cat to look out of and the owner into. At 9.5kg, it's a little on the heavy side and weighs about twice as much as a housecat. This is good news in terms of the carrier’s robustness, but it won’t be ideal for those of you who prefer to walk to the vet.
Prestige Wicker igloo pet carrier: £36.99, Wayfair
Dimensions : 50 x 40 x 44cm
This lovely cat carrier from Prestige Wicker doubles up as a permanent cat den. Not only will this help you get more value out of your purchase; it may also help make journeys less daunting for your cat, given the familiarity of the vehicle.
From its wicker body to its wooden toggle fastening (which intrigued Bertie, our tester cat), this is an especially attractive cat carrier that looks right at home in the living room. That’s the kind of praise we expected to be reserving for relatively high-end products – but this one’s available at an affordable, mid-range price point.
Lazy Bones skudo airline approved carrier: £54.99, The Range
Dimensions : 68 x 48cm
When it comes to cats and air travel, if we’re honest, it’s not a great combination. But if you really do have to take to the skies with your pet, this hard-wearing, airline-approved carrier from Lazy Bones will help minimise the risk of an in-flight escape.
Solidly constructed and featuring a door lock that’s as impossible for cats to operate as it is simple for humans, the Skudo could well be the best-escape-proofed carrier we’ve tested. And thanks to its sturdy feet, there’s little chance of it moving around too much in transit.
Sleepypod Air: £49, Amazon
Dimensions : 55.9 x 26.7 x 25.4 cm
Here’s a carrier for the coolest of cats. The Sleepypod Air is a truly up-market pad, built to meet airline security standards while providing a high level of comfort for its passenger. From the soft material on the inside to the metal badge on the front, the build quality is high, through-and-through.
One thing that may put some users off the Sleepypod Air is the carrier’s relatively small size. However, this ignores the fact most cats tend to like small spaces, as any cat owner with a whisker-thin gap down the back of a sofa or cupboard will tell you. Chic, safe and luxuriously appointed, this is the best airline-friendly carrier you can get, provided you have an ample budget.
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POPETPOP 360 degree transparent space capsule backpack
Dimensions : 42 x 31 x 25cm
What could be cuter than a cat in a rucksack? POPETPOP’s backpack puts its feline cargo proudly on show, with a wide-angle window that also serves to give the passenger a great view onto the world.
Backpacks are inherently easier to carry than handheld carriers, and this one’s super-lightweight construction makes it even easier than most to travel with on foot. The downside to this type of carrier is that you’ll need to take it off whenever you want to check how your cat is faring – and if you’re anything like us, that could be quite often. For the right cat, this is a fabulously fun and convenient option.
PetPlanet folding pet carrier: £12.99, PetPlanet
Dimensions : 38 x 26 x 24cm
Simple, effective and affordable, PetPlanet’s folding pet carrier is a sensible for choice for owners who want to get their cat from A to B with minimal fuss. It’s a little like a gym bag, with a sporty, duffle-like design, and soft fabric that allows for the carrier to be folded down when not in-use.
The potential downside to soft carriers like this one is that they may be easier for determined cats to breach than a solid carrier would be. In our view, that makes them best suited to transporting cats by car, rather than by foot or on public transport. That said, PetPlanet’s folding pet carrier seemed perfectly robust to us.
PawHut Edmund pet carrier: £39.99, Wayfair
Dimensions : 97cm x 45cm x 75cm
How happy are you to publicly embrace your status as cat mummy/daddy? If you answered “very” or higher, we’d strongly urge you to consider transporting your cat in this. As you can see, it’s basically a pram for cats.
The rewards for choosing this untraditional cat carrying option are plentiful. At 5kg, it’s lightweight and manoeuvrable. There’s a storage tray and a cup holder – perfect for transporting your stuff, as well as the cat’s. It even has brakes, though most users won’t need these to stop it rolling. Strollers, it seems, are good for fur-babies too.
Curver rattan cat carrier, Anthracite Grey: £35, Amazon
Dimensions : 53.3 x 40 x 33.5cm
We’re quite taken with Curver’s fancy rattan cat carrier. It looks a little like a boujee picnic hamper, and its aptly curvy handle is particularly nice to hold. Besides its top-loading main opening, Curver’s carrier also features a narrow petting aperture, allowing you to peer in at your cat. Brave souls might even squeeze their hand through for a stroke – though we wouldn’t feel especially confident about doing so during a journey to the vet.
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That lovely woven texture isn’t just for show: it offers ventilation and a tactile environment for the passenger.
AmazonBasics black soft-sided pet carrier, medium: £16.99, Amazon
Dimensions : 43 x 24 x 25cm
Who knew Amazon made cat carriers? If this one’s anything to go by, they’re pretty good at it. It’s not charming like the Prestige wicker igloo carrier or head-turning like the Sleepypod Air – but it does a perfectly good job of getting your cat from A to B on a budget.
Owners who like to check on their pet in-transit will be glad to note the mesh on all sides of this carrier makes it really easy to see the passenger. The downside to this is that many cats prefer to be more thoroughly enclosed, with a reassuring visual barrier between them and the outside world. In our view, that makes this carrier best suited to travel by car, or very chilled out cats.
Me and My Pets expandable carrier: £21.99, Amazon
Dimensions : 49 x 32 x 32cm
This unusual expandable carrier from Me and My Pets can be opened out to provide extra space for your cat to prowl around in, without leaving the carrier. We can see this coming in handy on longer journeys – for instance, when travelling with a cat on a delayed train.
With its fold-out compartment tucked away, Me and My Pets’ carrier is much like a gym bag. A mesh panel on the front provides just the right amount of visibility of the cat’s surroundings. Also available in a small size that’s perfect for carrying kittens.
The verdict: Cat carriers
The Catit Cabrio carrier wins by more than a whisker in our battle of the cat carriers. It hits the sweet spot between comfort and safety, with standout features including its double-hinged roof opening and skid resistant textured floor.
If you’re willing to trade some of the Cabrio’s robustness for a more natural look and feel, try the excellently priced Prestige wicker cat igloo .
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