When you take your cat on vacation or go to the vet, it’s important to have a safe carrier for transporting your precious cargo. But not all carriers are created equal, and cats with different personalities respond better to different types of carriers. Here’s how to determine which type of carrier is best for your cat. 

Why Should You Get a Cat Carrier?

Even if you don’t plan on vacationing with your pet, you will still need a carrier when visiting the vet for your cat’s yearly wellness exam. It’s also important to have a carrier ready so you won’t have to worry about how to safely transport your cat if there’s ever an emergency. 

You should always use a safe carrier whenever you drive with your cat, no matter how short the trip. There are many things that can go wrong with letting a cat loose inside a vehicle. 

For instance, a nervous or curious cat will roam around the car—a distraction that could lead to an accident and cause serious harm to you or your pet. If you try to hold a cat on your lap in a vehicle, they might bite, scratch, or leap out of your arms if they’re startled. And after you park, a frightened or adventurous cat might bolt from the car and get lost or injured. 

Types of Cat Carriers

It’s essential that you put your kitty in a carrier to keep them safe and make traveling less stressful for you both. Let’s take a look at the different types to choose from, and which situations they’re best for. 

Cardboard Carriers

If you adopt your cat from a shelter, they might come home with you in a cardboard carrier. However, cardboard carriers aren’t suitable for long term use. They are not very durable and they don’t offer cats much room to turn around. Agitated cats could even chew through the cardboard and escape. 

You should invest in a new carrier as soon as you adopt, but you can keep the cardboard carrier in the house as a safe hiding place for your kitty to hide or nap. They might also enjoy shredding it with their little claws, too!

Soft-Sided Cat Carriers

Some carriers are made with soft, flexible sides. These carriers are lighter and smaller than hard plastic carriers, and they’re easier to store because they can fit in tighter spaces. Soft-sided carriers are more durable than cardboard carriers, but your cat could still chew through the material on a long trip if they’re stressed. 

Hard Plastic Carriers

A carrier made out of hard plastic is the safest way to transport your cat. They are typically large enough for a cat to turn around in comfortably, and sturdy enough to keep them safe during the drive. However, due to the size and material of hard carriers, they are difficult to store and often quite heavy once your cat is inside. 

Rolling Cat Carriers

The easiest carrier to transport is a rolling, luggage-style carrier. Like hard carriers, they are also sturdy and spacious. However, it’s important to roll the carrier slowly and carefully, and to keep it level in order to avoid stressing your cat when outside the car. 

How to Choose a Cat Carrier: Four Things to Consider

1: Entry and Exit Points

Ideally, a cat carrier should have two large doors (one top and one side) for your cat to enter or exit. Multiple doors means more ways to coax your cat inside the carrier. With a door on top, your cat could even be examined while inside the carrier, if needed to make your cat more comfortable during their vet visit. 

2: Carrier Size

Make sure the carrier isn’t too small or too large for your cat. The carrier should be large enough for your cat to turn around, enter, and exit comfortably, but small enough that they will not slide around during transport. 

3: Closure Type

Look for a carrier with a latched gate, and avoid carriers with zipper or velcro closures. Cats are clever, and some of them can easily open these types of doors all by themselves if they feel agitated. 

4: Cleaning

Nervous or sick cats may vomit or have accidents while traveling. Make sure to choose a cat carrier that’s easy to clean and has a leak-proof bottom. 

Veterinarians for Cats in Gilbert, Arizona

If your cat is due for an annual wellness check, or if you have any concerns about their health, please don’t hesitate to contact Anasazi Animal Clinic. We’ll give your pet a full exam, and answer all of your questions. We can even give you advice on which type of carrier is best for your cat. Give us a call at 480-497-0505 today to set up an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/9/2023). Photo by Zoë Gayah Jonker on Unsplash