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For an all-around great cat carrier with stellar design and versatility in spades, we’re big fans of PetLuv’s Happy Cat carrier. It’s easy to customize based on your cat’s temperament: it can be left completely open (great for getting your cat used to it at home), closed with mesh covers (perfect for most trips), or completely closed for a darker, more comforting environment. It includes seatbelt loops for safety during car rides, plus four separate access panels—reducing the sometimes-stressful process of getting your friend in and out. The included cat bed is soft and plush and can be machine-washed for quick cleanup.
The PetLuv Happy Cat carrier is available in small and medium-large sizes, and can also be purchased with wheels. One pet owner described it as soft, roomy, and safe even during long-distance treks. The ability to adjust the enclosure to suit your cat’s needs is also a major plus, giving cats a sense of privacy and calm while still letting owners glance inside for a quick check-in.
Best for Plane: SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier Airline Approved Premium Under Seat Compatibility for Dogs and Cats
If you’re planning on traveling with your cat by plane, you’ll want to find a carrier that’s designed to fit underneath an airline seat and meets FAA requirements. This one from SLEEKO checks both of those boxes while keeping your pet safe and happy for the duration of your flight. Mesh windows provide plenty of ventilation during travel, while an ultra-plush bed keeps them comfortable even during bumpy rides. A padded shoulder strap makes the carrier easy to transport through the hustle and bustle of the airport, and three zippered openings provide easy access for you and your pet.
The SLEEKO Luxury Pet Carrier is multi-functional, even including seatbelt buckles for the rental car ride after your flight touches down. Customers write that it kept their cats comfortable throughout their plane rides, adding that it’s sturdily constructed and fits easily beneath a typical airline seat. If your plan is to make your next flight with your cat as stress-free as possible, this carrier is the one to buy.
While most cat carriers will fit on a car seat, you’ll want to make sure it’s fully secure before you hit the road. The Pet Gear Signature Pet Car Seat & Carrier not only attaches to the seatbelts in your vehicle, it includes an interior tether to keep your friend in place during the ride—sort of like their own personal seatbelt. The mesh windows keep the carrier ventilated and highly breathable, while a rear storage pouch provides extra room for snacks and other trip supplies. The front of the carrier opens via zipper, with plenty of space for your pet as they go in or out.
Customers write that their cats love the Pet Gear Signature Pet Car Seat & Carrier, hopping right in and peeking through the mesh windows during drives. The seatbelt attachments and interior tether allow owners to drive with peace of mind, knowing their feline friend will be safely held in place while they’re on the road.
Let’s be honest, not all cats are the biggest fans of travel. And the experience of being placed in a small, unfamiliar environment can be alarming for nervous felines. Thankfully, the SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier has a clever workaround that plays on cat psychology: because it has a wide-set door that opens from the side, rather than the top or front, your pet will likely feel far less hesitation about entering it. In fact, there’s a good chance he’ll be willing to walk right in on his own. Unlike the other carriers we’ve included, this one is made using hard plastic material (a necessity of its design). But the bed inside is ultra-plush, with synthetic fur and puffy polyfiber to keep your cat comfortable even during a potentially stressful situation. Unlike other plastic carriers, it also folds flat for easy storage.
Customers write that after trying multiple carriers without success, their cats have finally taken to the SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier. The shape of the wide, sideways door is far more welcoming for anxious felines, savings owners the struggle of trying to coax them in through a small opening in the front or top of a typical carrier.
Getting one cat into a carrier can be hard enough. If you’re traveling with two, consider a carrier with two separate compartments: one for each of your companions. The One for Pets Fabric Portable Pet Kennel features a pair of spacious enclosures for two cat co-travelers, separated by a zippered divider (unzipped, it can be used as an extra-large single kennel). Each side includes a mesh window with a roll-up shade, plus a washable mat and built-in straps for seatbelts. They even have an optional hammock for an extra dose of luxury. It also breaks down easily, folding nearly flat and separating into two separate pieces via zipper (however, it cannot be used as two single carriers since one will be missing a wall).
Customers write that the One for Pets Fabric Portable Pet Kennel keeps their two cats calm during trips, thanks in large part to the interior divider that gives them their own space (but keeps them physically close, and can be partially unzipped to give them access to each other). Even with its two-piece construction, the separate compartments have plenty of space, making the daunting task for traveling with two cats significantly more pleasant for all parties involved.
A carrier doesn’t have to be a box with a handle! There are plenty of backpacks tailor-made for feline transport on foot, and the Anzone Pet Space Capsule Carrier Backpack is our favorite. Despite its appearance—it resembles a regular backpack with a porthole for your cat—it’s highly breathable, with multiple air vents both in the sides and on the front of the backpack. It’s surprisingly roomy, measuring 11.3" x 8.2" x 16.5" and will hold a cat weighing up to 10 pounds. A soft interior pad keeps your pet comfortable, while a padded back and straps relieve back strain for the wearer. And while we’d recommend a cat backpack for felines who are typically less anxious during travel, the capsule-style window allows them to peer out at their surroundings while on the go.
Available in a wide array of colors, customers say the Anzone Pet Space Capsule Carrier Backpack easily fits a cat and makes quick trips (or hikes, if you and your cat are so inclined) a breeze. The design of the air vents also ensures that safety isn’t an issue, thanks to the smart placement of mesh sections and small rings for airflow, even inside the window.
Don’t want to deal with a bulky carrier taking up space in your home? Go with a collapsible one like the Frisco Premium Travel Pet Carrier. It folds flat when not in use, with soft sides that also have the benefit of helping it fit in small spaces (like beneath a seat on a flight—it’s FAA-compliant). But the added convenience for owners doesn’t mean skimping on comfort for their cat. The carrier has a soft, sherpa-lined floor that’s perfect for curling up, plus mesh sides for healthy airflow. Its locking zippers can only be opened from the outside, so you won’t have to worry about any escape attempts (it happens!), but also has a top and side entry for easy load-in.
Customers write that the Frisco Premium Travel Pet Carrier is well-made, affordably priced and highly convenient. “My cat practically lives in here,” one owner says, adding that it’s inviting enough that their pets will crawl inside when it’s sitting out at home. But when it’s time to pack it away, it quickly breaks down to a small, manageable footprint.
Before you embark on your next adventure, learn how to crate train your cat for travel.
For owners of one of the larger domestic cat breeds (like a Maine Coon, for example), a standard-issue cat carrier might not have quite enough space for your pet to stretch out and avoid feeling cramped. Good news: This carrier from Petsfit features a pair of expandable wings that significantly increase the size of the enclosure, measuring more than 30 inches across at full-size. This gives it versatility designed to match your travel situation: Let your cat stretch out in the back of your car with, or close the sides up when you need to fit it beneath an airline seat. The mesh windows keep it ventilated, and the removable fleece pad can be machine-washed.
Beyond the additional space for lounging, the extra-large size of the Petsfit carrier makes it ideal for when you want to take some of your pet’s favorite toys along for the trip. Some customers even describe it as a “cat condo” thanks to its overall spaciousness—if you’ve got a large breed cat, you’ll be glad to have the extra room (and so will they).