You can't just let your precious kitties run loose in your car, a cat carrier is essential for car travel! I want to make sure that my kitties are as comfortable and safe as possible . Here is my list of the top 10 cat carriers for car travel!

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel -  Pricing Table

Cat Carrier

Name

Weight

# of color choices

Sizes

Maximum Weight Capacity

Petmate

Best Overall Pick

5.8lbs

4

19in or 20in

20lbs

Sherpa 

Best Large Cat Carrier

4lbs

5

S-M

22lbs

cat car carrier with litter box - Pet for Life

Pet Fit for Life 

Best Carrier with Litter Box

4 lbs

1

31” x 18” x 18”

N/A

car tube cat carrier - petego

Petego

Best Car Tube Cat Carrier

8lbs

1

S or L

N/A

Best cat carrier for car travel with rollers​ - Snoozer

Snoozer

Best cat carrier for car travel with rollers​

varies

3

S-L

N/A

HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT TRAVEL CAT CARRIER

# of color options

Check this icon below to see how many colors your cat carrier is available in.

Weight capacity

What is the maximum weight capacity of the carrier? Find this icon for the deets

Weight

How much does each cat carrier weigh? Check below  to find out!

Sizes 

I found out either how many sizes were available or what the measurements are.

Is a hard or soft cat carrier better for the car?

Definitely a hard carrier. It helps give your kitty extra protection from broken glass or other sharp or heavy objects in case of an accident. Also you will be able to strap in the hard carrier securely in the backseat with the seat belt. I know that many just prefer a soft case, it's sometimes more calming for your cat, that's why I have offered both hard and soft case options on this list.

THE BEST CAT CARRIER FOR CAR TRAVEL

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel - Petmate

4 colors available

Weight: 5.8lbs

19in or 20in

Supports up to 20lbs

Petmate's Top Load kennel is my favorite cat carrier for car travel. It is available in both 10 and 24 inch sizes and is made out of steel and plastic. It conveniently lets you load in your kitty from the top or from the side. This is the perfect cat carrier for a medium or small cat and the 24 inch measures 21" x 14.75" x 13.25" inside and 24.05" X 16.75" X 14.5" outside.

This travel kennel is made in the USA. When traveling with one of my kitties, I can easily strap her into the front seat with the seat belt wrapped around the kennel. I love that there is the top door, the light shines in so your kitty won't feel too claustrophobic.

It's also necessary for me because the top door is the only way I can get my grumpiest kitty into the carrier. This is a great, sturdy carrier, and my #1 pick for the best overall travel car carrier for cats.

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel - Pet Magasil

2 colors available

Weight: 2.2lbs

18'' x 11'' x 10''

Supports up to 15lbs

Pet Magasin's luxury sift-sided cat carrier is airline approved and it also works for the car if you prefer a soft-sided carrier. It's super soft and padded inside for your kitty's comfort and its well ventilated. The shoulder strap has lots of padding for your comfort. This is a sturdy little carrier and it holds its shape while its being carried but when your kitty is out of the carrier, it conveniently folds flat.

This carrier is easy to clean and its also waterproof! It measures 18" x 11" x 10" and weights 2.2 pounds. It's a great fit for small pets​. This durable little cat carrier has a 100% money back guarantee and a 2 year warranty! I absolutely love that there's a leash inside of the carrer that you can onto your cat's collar so that she doesn't escape and disappear once you've opened the door. There is also a super convenient mesh pouch attached on the outisde for any other accessories that you need close at hand. This is truly a well thought out cat carrier.

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel - PetLuv

3 colors available

Weight: 7lbs

Small-Medium/Large

Supports up to 20lbs

PetLuv's HappyCat travel crate and cat carrier comes in 2 sizes, small or medium/large. I love that there are roll up windows on all sides and even on the top offering your cat panoramic views. Its super well ventilated and has much more space than the average cat carrier. 

The frame of this soft carrier is made of steel and it totally collapses for easy storage. The handle and straps are padded and it even comes with a little kitty pillow! This carrier doesn't have seat belt loops but you can wrap the seat belts around the carrier to prevent it from moving. This soft carrier gives your cat all the privacy and security that she needs during your car travel adventures!

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel - Suncast

3 colors available

Weight: 6lbs

2 sizes available

Supports up to 20lbs

Suncast's deluxe pet carrier comes in both large and medium and comes with a food or water bowl. Your cats can stand up in this carrier and you can also slide the seat belt over the handle on top to secure the carrier. The bars on this carrier are made of metal and the carrier is super durable. 

There is a little rack for the food bowl and a convenient, small storage container on top of the carrier. This carrier comes already assembled and its super easy to clean. The door on this carrier has large openings so your cat can reach her paw out for comfort. Suncast's carrier can support the weight of a heavy kitty with no problem. Overall its a solid cat carrier for the car!

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel - Sportpet

1 color available

Weight: 5lbs

15.2 x 18.5 x 14.2

Supports up to 25lbs

SportPet's travel cat carrier is totally unique! Its a hard-sided cat carrier that is collapsible. It is available with or without a bed and features a sturdy design which is made of impact resistant polypropylene. 

The door opens from the side and the opening is much wider than most cat carriers, making it much easier to put your cat inside. Many veterinarians prefer and recommend this particular cat carrier. The ventilation openings have rounded edges for safety. The maximum weight that this carrier can handle is up to 25 lbs. There are two secure latches located on the top of the carrier.

There is not much space for your kitty to stand up or walk around so this is definitely designed for shorter car trips. ​It's a great little stable and durable cat carrier which is lightweight and stores super compactly. Your cat will love this travel cat carrier!

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel - Generation 5

3 colors available

Weight: 3lbs

18"x11"x11"

Supports up to 23lbs

There is a little puppy featured in the photo but this is definitely a great carrier for cats also.  This cat carrier is airline approved and features a durable and expandable design which keeps the carrier from falling over. This carrier measures 18"x11"x11" and 9 inches of expandable area and is perfect for a small to medium cat.

This carrier features a steel frame to keep it from collapsing during transport and the side straps and handles all feature an ergonomic design. The side strap is designed to pair with your suitcase handle so you can keep everything together while traveling. When purchasing this carrier you have a 100% money back guarantee for 30 days.

This carrier is made to support pets of up to 23-25 pounds. It's a high quality cat carrier for its price point!

Best Large Cat Carrier for Car Travel

Best Large Cat Carrier for Car Travel - Sherpa

5 colors available

Weight: 4lbs

Small-Large

Large size supports up to 22lbs

Sherpa's deluxe cat carrier is my pick for the best cat carrier for larger cats. Get in there main coons!  This is a super stylish cat carrier for the travel fashionista. It features a patented wire frame which is adjustable to fit under the seat of the an airplane if needed. Mesh windows are featured throughout and its comfortably lined with faux lambskin leather. This carrier is available in small, medium and large. The maximum weight of this carrier is 22 pounds.

Sherpa's carrier also features a seatbelt and luggage strap which is patented. The bottom of the carrier is reinforced with a wooden stability board. Locking zippers are featured throughout the carrier so there is no chance of your prized possession getting lost out in the big bad world! If you happen to be flying with this carrier, its the only carrier on the market that has their own "guaranteed on board" feature. That means that if you aren't allowed to board an airplane when using this carrier you'll get your flight and any other costs completely reimbursed! Guaranteed on board only applies for Sherpa's small and medium carriers.

The Best Cat Car Carrier with Litter Box

cat car carrier with litter box - Pet for Life

1 color available

Weight: 4lbs

31” x 18” x 18”

N/A

Pet Fit For Life's carrier comes with a collapsible litter box, feather toy and collapsible food and water bowl. This is a super secure carrier, it features seat belt straps and ground stakes, in case you wanted to take your kitty outside to a picnic for example. This high quality carrier is made from nylon with a steel frame that is flexible. It's a durable guy with a spacious interior measuring 31” x 18” x 18”.

There are two windows on the side and the front door unzips for easy entry. The bottom of the bed is lined with a velour pet bed that is super soft. This carrier comes with a 100% satisfaction, money back guarantee. This is a super spacious carrier and the entire carrier folds into a carry pouch and all folded up it measures 20" x 14" x 4". This carrier kind of sinks in the bottom so it isn't meant for carrying by hand for long distances. It is great for car travel though!

The Best Cat Carrier for Long Car Travel

best cat carrier for long car travel - Caldwell's

1 color available

Weight: 2.5lbs

18” x 10” x 13”

Supports up to 25 lbs

Caldwell's cat carrier is made out of 1680D polyester which is super durable and puncture resistant. It's totally TSA approved for sliding under your eat and features 360 degree mesh panels. It offers plenty of ventilation. This carrier measures 18”L x 10”W x 13”H and even comes with two fleece pads. Plastic supports are inside the structure of this carrier to keep the carrier from collapsing during your travels. There are many carrying handles: a shoulder strap this is adjustable, side strap that connects to your luggage and carrying handles.

The designers of this carrier really thought of everything, it even has a little eating window and two pockets on the outside for any extra accessories. The maximum weight that this carrier should support is a pet that is under 25 pounds. It has a spacious interior so your cat can stand up and stretch her legs. With the comfortable padding at the bottom, its great for long car rides and extended car travel. 

Best Car Tube Car Carrier

car tube cat carrier - petego

1 color available

Large Weight: 8lbs

Available in small or large

N/A

Petego's pet tube kennel is meant for car travel. It's not meant to be carried around the airport for example and its available in small or large. The fabric is claw proof and the large version of this rube is adjustable. This carrier kennel is lightweight but sturdy and fits almost any vehicle in the backseat. When you are finished using it and need to store it, it easily collapses and zips up. This tube travel carrier features straps to attach to the backseat so that the tube isn't rolling around. You can also purchase additional pillows that are made for this carrier.

It's great for long road trips and if you have more than one cat that gets along, you can put them both in this tube with space to spare. The large carrier can even fit 3 cats at once! You'll probably need two people but you can carry this kennel from your hotel room to the car. If there are any accidents inside, its super easy to clean, just wipe it all down with a damp towel. Petego's kennel is definitely my #1 pick for the best tube travel cat carrier on the market!

Best cat carrier for car travel with rollers​

Best cat carrier for car travel with rollers​ - Snoozer

3 colors available

varies

Available in small medium or large

N/A

Snoozer's rolling carrier supports cats who weigh 30 pounds or less and it available in 3 sizes: small, medium and large.  It features a telescoping handle just like any suitcase has. This rolling carrier is great for both car and airline travel. It's outer dimensions measure 23″ H x 15.5″ W x 12.25″D and it features a clip inside for the leash so your cat won't jump out and get lost. It's super convenient for shipping and packing as it flattens and collapses.

You can attach the carrier to the seat belts.  The carrier stands up right when you need to wheel it and lies flat on its long-side so that you cat can lay down during the car ride.  The mesh sides give your pet plenty of visibility and breathability from all around and the wheels are smooth on flat surfaces. This is a super high quality and top of the line rolling carrier for car travel!

Cat carrier car tips

  • Get your cat used to his carrier: Take the carrier out and fill it with all of his favorite things. Put it in his favorite room so that he doesn't see it as a foreign, scary object. One of my kitties now uses the carrier as her daybed so she is never nervous to get in when its time for a trip!
  • Take breaks on long trips: Make an effort to stop every few hours so you can open the carrier (with the car doors closed) and pet and comfort your kitty.
  • No direct sunlight: Make sure that the hot sun isn't beating down on your kitty during the car ride! You might want to cover the windows if this is a concern. 
  • Meet with your Vet: If you are taking a long trip with your cat of the first time, you'll probably want to stop by your vet for recommendations. If you have an extremely nervous and high strung cat, he may recommend sedatives for the trip. 
  • Microchips are a must!: Make sure to get your cat microchipped before any trip in the car, there are so many sad stories out there about cats who were spooked before a car ride and got lost from home. Also make sure that you cat is wearing a collar with identification information and contact details.
  • Pack extra supplies: Make sure you have enough food, water, litter for the journey.
  • Check with hotels: You may need to check if your hotel is pet friendly, if so, make sure to do this well in advance of your trip. Kimpton hotels welcome pets!
  • Play with your cat before you leave: A vigorous play session will tire your kitty out and hopefully she will fall right to sleep as soon as the car ride starts.
  • Do not leave your cat in the car!: Cars can get extremely hot in a very short amount of time. It is not safe to leave your kitty alone in the car at all. 

Where to put cat carrier in car and how to secure it.

Put the cat carrier in the back seat, in the front seat, the airbag can be a dangerous issue should it deploy. Make sure to strap in the cat carrier with the safety belt. Some cases come with a seatbelt strap securer but my favorite carrier does not. It's pretty simple to arrange the seat belt around the carrier, just make sure that the straps are hugging the case well. The best cat carrier to use in the car is definitely a plastic, hard case. ​

How to transport a cat in a car without a carrier

There are a couple of options available. One of my cats is so calm that he'll just sit in my lap in the passenger seat (someone besides me needs to drive though) If you are driving by yourself I don't recommend having your cat totally roam free. Can a cat be outside their carrier while inside the car? Yes, but its not ideal.... Here are a couple safe cat car carrier alternatives below:

  • Use a big duffel bag: You  can use a large duffel bag, made from Nylon on a quick trip to the vet (definitely not recommended for long distance car travel!) Nylon is breathable and allows for some, although minimal, air circulation. The bag needs a flat bottom so that you kitty has support and is not uncomfortable when you are holding the bag. 
  • Use a cat harness: Just make to test the cat harness out on your kitty before your first trip in the car. Make sure that you get the right size! If the harness it too big, your kitty can easily get out of it, escape and run away. Practice walking him inside the house first for a week before transporting your cat with a harness.

Is it safe to let my cat out of carrier in car?

Generally the answer is no. Even if you have an extremely calm cat, a loud noise outside could scare him and he might want to dart down underneath your legs for safety. Here he could get stuck between the brake pads and accelerator and cause a major accident! A carrier really is recommended for your kitty. If you prefer not to use a carrier at all costs, just out the 2 options to traditional cat carriers above.​

My cat meows and carries on when riding in a carrier in the car. What can I do to calm her down?

Try getting your kitty used to the carrier. Take the carrier out of the closet or storage space and line it with a soft pillow and place her favorite toys inside. Add treats inside so your cat begins to see the carrier as a happy place. Eventually, take your cat outside, somewhere quiet inside the carrier for 5-10 minutes. 

For longer trips, your cat might need medication for motion sickness. Make sure to check with your vet for their medication recommendations.

Why does my cat poop in her carrier in the car?

Your cat is defecating in the carrier because he is nervous and car transport is usually an extremely stressful situation for a kitty. If you know that you are taking your cat into the vet or on a long trip, you may need to switch up his feeding schedule before your trip. You'll want 6-8 hours of no eating before your trip. 

Restrict the size of the carrier so your cat is comfortable but doesn't have much free space. Cats are hygienic and do not like sitting in their waste so this ​will deter him from pooping.

Purchase a calming spray. Feliway is a popular brand and you can spritz it around the car and inside the carrier before the trip. ​Spray the carrier before you cat enters, cats hate being sprayed on!

If this doesn't work try purchasing a  larger cat carrier with extra space that can accommodate a litter pan. 

Does a cat legally have to be in a carrier in the car?

No, but its highly recommended! Just remember that even if you have a super calm cat, if it suddenly gets spooked by a loud noise outside or a honking horn, he can run underneath you feet and cause an accident! A cat carrier is always recommended inside the car​.

Should  I put a blanket over cat carrier in car

It depends! If your kitty gets highly stimulated from her surroundings and it makes her agitated and anxious, you should try placing a blanket over the carrier to see if it eventually calms her down. 

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