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Choosing the Purrfect Cat Carrier

August 15, 2020

Does your cat enjoy riding around? Chances are, the answer to that question is no. Most of our feline patients absolutely despise car rides! However, sooner or later, Fluffy will need to be transported. When she does, she should always be in a carrier. But what do you look for when picking a carrier? A veterinarian offers some suggestions below.


Usually, when it comes to animal housing or cages, bigger is better. That isn’t the case here, however. You don’t want to go too big. Cats can tumble around too much in large carriers. Plus, they tend to feel safest in small spaces. Of course, if the carrier is too small, your furry friend may feel trapped and frightened. As a rule of thumb, the carrier should be about 1.5 times Fluffy’s size. Your kitty should be able to sit up, turn around, and sleep in various positions, without tripping over her dishes.


Hard and soft carriers both have their own pros and cons. Nylon ones are lightweight, attractive, and easy to store. However, they do sag, and won’t really protect Fluffy from being jostled. They also don’t provide any real protection in case of an accident. Plastic ones aren’t as pretty, but they are both durable and easy to clean. You may find a carrier that opens from the top a bit easier to manage.


You can also find cardboard box carriers. These should really be considered one-time use carriers. Shelters often provide these for people to bring kitties home in. They will also work in an emergency. However, they don’t last long, fall apart if they get wet, and are easy to get out of


Helping your feline pal form a positive impression of her carrier will definitely make things easier for you. Add some comfy bedding and some toys to the carrier, and offer Fluffy treats, praise, and catnip in it. You may want to leave it out between uses. If your kitty only sees the carrier before she goes for a dreaded car ride, she may bolt for cover as soon as she spots it!

Our Advice on Choosing the Purrfect Cat Carrier in 2024

What size carrier should you get for your cat?

For your cat, choose a carrier that is approximately 1.5 times its size. This size allows your cat to comfortably sit up, turn around, and lie down in various positions without overcrowding. It’s large enough to provide space for movement yet small enough to prevent excessive tumbling during transport, offering a sense of security. Opting for a carrier of this proportion ensures your feline friend won’t feel overly confined or frightened, striking a balance between comfort and safety. For personalized advice, consider visiting your local vet clinic in Brampton, ON.

How can you help your cat feel more comfortable in their carrier?

To help your cat feel more comfortable in their carrier, introduce it as a positive space. Place comfy bedding and favorite toys inside to make it inviting. Offer treats, praise, and catnip within the carrier to create pleasant associations. Leaving the carrier out in your home between uses allows your cat to explore it at their leisure, further reducing anxiety. This approach helps your cat view the carrier not just as a precursor to stressful events, like vet visits, but as a safe, familiar space.

What can you do to minimize your cat’s stress during travel?

To minimize your cat’s stress during travel, start by making their carrier a comfortable and familiar space with bedding and toys. Gradually acclimate your cat to the carrier and short car rides, increasing duration over time. On travel days, maintain a calm demeanor, as cats can pick up on your emotions. Covering the carrier with a light blanket can also reduce visual stressors. Lastly, avoid feeding your cat right before traveling to prevent motion sickness.

What if your cat refuses to enter the carrier?

If your cat refuses to enter the carrier, gradually acclimate them to it over time. Start by placing the carrier in a familiar area with the door open, allowing your cat to explore it voluntarily. Incorporate positive reinforcements like treats, favorite toys, or catnip inside to encourage entry. You can also try feeding your cat near the carrier, gradually moving meals inside. If necessary, gently place your cat in the carrier rear-first to reduce resistance.

Are there any health concerns to consider when traveling with a cat, especially for long distances?

When traveling long distances with a cat, consider potential health concerns such as stress-induced anxiety, motion sickness, and dehydration. Ensure your cat is up to date on vaccinations and has a health check-up prior to travel. Provide a comfortable carrier with familiar bedding, and plan for regular breaks to offer water and a chance to use the litter box in a secure environment. It’s also crucial to maintain a consistent temperature in the vehicle. For cats with specific health issues, consult with a Brampton, ON, veterinary clinic for personalized advice and precautions.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, in Brampton, ON for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!