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10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats in 2021: Reviews & Top Picks

Ed Malaker

A lady holding a cat in a carrier

One of the most difficult things a cat owner must do is take their pet to the vet because most cats hate carriers and will often scratch and claw frantically to get out. It can be challenging to find one suitable for your cat that will help keep it calm while you travel. We’ve chosen 10 different brands to review for you for nervous cats. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each model and tell you how they worked for our cats. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide, where we will discuss what makes a good carrier for nervous cats so you will know what to look for while you shop.

Keep reading while we look at the size, durability, openings, and more to help you make an educated purchase.

divider-catA Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Sherpa Airline-Approved Cat Carrier Sherpa Airline-Approved Cat Carrier
  • Soft faux lambskin
  • Spring wireframe
  • Adjustable strap
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Necoichi Collapsible Cat Carrier Necoichi Collapsible Cat Carrier
  • Plenty of ventilation
  • Folds away for storage
  • Lightweight
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Sherpa on Wheels Cat Carrier Sherpa on Wheels Cat Carrier
  • Machine washable liner
  • Padded carrying straps
  • Wheels
  • For Difficult Cats
    Kurgo Wander Cat Carrier Kurgo Wander Cat Carrier
  • Collapsible and expandable
  • Interior tether
  • Side pockets
  • For Scared Cats
    Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier
  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • The 10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag – Best Overall

    Sherpa Airline-Approved Cat Carrier

    Size: 17” x 11” x 10.5”
    Materials: Polyester, faux fur
    Weight: 4.1 pounds

    The Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is our choice as the best overall cat carrier for nervous cats. It has mesh sides that will allow plenty of ventilation and let your cat see what’s going on around it. If your cat would rather not see, you can cover the side to obscure its view while still leaving the top open so they can get plenty of ventilation. The faux lambskin is extremely soft and will provide a comfortable surface for your cat to rest, and it has a spring frame that allows you to fold it up for easy storage. It also includes an adjustable strap that you can carry in multiple ways.

    We loved using the Sherpa Original Deluxe while we were reviewing it, and it provided plenty of room for our cats to move around. The only problem we noticed was that if you have a cat that sprays when it’s nervous, it can be difficult to remove the odor.

    Pros
    • Plenty of ventilation
    • Soft faux lambskin
    • Spring wireframe
    • Adjustable strap
    Cons
    • It can be difficult to remove urine odor

    2. Necoichi Ultra Light Collapsible Cat Carrier Bag – Best Value

    Necoichi Ultra Light Cat Carrier

    Size: 19.7” x 15.7” x 13”
    Materials: Polyester
    Weight: 1 pound

    The Necoichi Ultra Light Collapsible Cat Carrier Bag is our pick as the best cat carrier for nervous cats for the money. Its large shopping bag design is easy to get the cat in, and it’s easy to carry. The polyester material is extremely durable, and the large cat face screened cutout provides plenty of ventilation. In addition, it’s lightweight at only one pound, and it folds away for easy storage.

    We enjoyed reviewing the Necoichi and felt that it was easy to carry. The only problem we had with it was that it felt a little flimsy, and we were worried about how it would hold up with continuous use.

    Pros
    • Plenty of ventilation
    • Folds away for storage
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • A little flimsy

    3. Sherpa Ultimate on Wheels Dog & Cat Carrier Bag – Premium Choice

    Sherpa on Wheels Cat Carrier

    Size: 20” x 12.5” x 10.5”
    Materials: Polyester
    Weight: 6.2 pounds

    The Sherpa Ultimate on Wheels Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is our premium choice carrier for a nervous cat. It’s a long, rectangular carrier that features open sides for plenty of ventilation. It gives your cat an excellent view of its surroundings, but you can also close it up if your cat is scared to allow it to hide. It has a machine-washable liner and locking zippers, so it won’t accidentally open while transporting the cat. It also has wheels that make it much easier to move, especially if you have a larger cat, and padded straps make it more comfortable when you need to carry it.

    The Sherpa Ultimate is attractive and is useful for taking your cat for a walk around town if they will allow it. The wheels make it quite easy to move around. The primary downside is that despite being long, it’s a little small for larger cats, and if your cats urinate in it, the urine can reach places that are difficult to clean.

    Pros
    • Plenty of ventilation
    • Machine washable liner
    • Padded carrying straps
    • Locking zippers
    • Wheels
    Cons
    • Hard to clean

    4. Kurgo Wander Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag – Best Cat Carrier for Difficult Cats

    Kurgo Wander Cat Carrier Bag

    Size: 17” x 11” x 11.5”
    Materials: Polyester
    Weight: 22 pounds

    The Kurgo Wander Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is our pick as the best carrier for difficult cats. It has a large opening at the top, so it’s easy to get your cat into it. The interior has a tether that you can use along with a harness to prevent your cat from jumping off, and the interior is soft and padded, so your cat won’t get hurt. The soft wall doesn’t seem to intimidate the cat as much as the hard plastic ones, and you can set it up to let the cat see the surroundings or hide from them. It has plenty of side pockets and folds up neatly for storage.

    The Kurgo Wander works especially well for difficult cats because it has a tether that will prevent the cat from jumping out. The downside is that the zippers don’t lock, which would be helpful to prevent a scratching cat from getting out. We also wished it was a little larger.

    Pros
    • Removable strap
    • Interior tether
    • Collapsible and expandable
    • Side pockets
    Cons
    • No locking zippers
    • Better for smaller cats

    5. Prodigen Pet Carrier Airline Approved Pet Carrier – Best Cat Carrier for Scared Cats

    Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier

    Size: 17” x 10” x 11”
    Materials: Reinforced polyester
    Weight: 2.3 pounds

    The Prodigen Pet Carrier Airline Approved Pet Carrier is our pick as the best carrier for scared cats. It’s a soft and cozy bag that will help your cat feel secure while you transport it. The durable material is waterproof, and you can close it up so the cat can’t see its surroundings to help it be less scared.

    The Prodigen Pet Carrier is a fantastic carrier that is also attractive to look at and comfortable to carry. The downside is that it’s not too sturdy and is a little floppy, so it can sag down onto the cat’s head. It will also crash if your cat jumps on it, and we noticed a chemical smell inside the bag that your cat might not enjoy. One other problem we have is that it’s a little small and may not be suitable for cats of all sizes.

    Pros
    • Durable
    • Waterproof
    • Comfortable
    Cons
    • Only for smaller cats
    • Not sturdy
    • Chemical smell

    6. K&H Pet Products Mod Capsule Dog & Cat Carrier Bag – Best Cat Carrier for Cats Who Hate Carriers

    K&H Mod Capsule Cat Carrier

    Size: 17” x 17” x 11.5”
    Materials: Nylon
    Weight: 5 pounds

    The K&H Pet Products Mod Capsule Dog & Cat Carrier Bag zips together, so it’s extremely easy to use. The removable mesh door allows you to convert the carrier into a bed. It includes a soft pillow so it will be more comfortable for your cat, and it looks attractive in your home, especially when compared to other carriers.

    The downside to the K&H Pet Products is that it’s quite expensive. We also found it hard to carry and can be quite cumbersome trying to carry it long distances. The zippers are also loose and will open easily. We would have preferred locking zippers.

    Pros
    • Zip together design
    • Removable mesh door
    • Multiple uses
    • Includes soft pillow
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Hard to carry
    • Zippers aren’t secure

    7. Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Jespet Soft-Sided Cat Carrier

    Size: 16” x 11” x 10”
    Materials: Polyester
    Weight: 1.5 pounds

    The Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is a comfortable bag that includes a fleece mat that will help provide a more comfortable space for your cat to help them relax. It’s an attractive bag that also includes storage pockets to keep extra treats and other supplies you might need.

    The primary downside of the Jespet is that it’s a little small and may not be suitable for some cats. It also has a bad plastic smell that may be a little strong for your cat.

    Pros
    • Soft sides
    • Fleece mat
    • Includes storage pockets
    Cons
    • Plastic smell
    • Small

    8. Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack

    Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack

    Size: 17” x 13” x 12”
    Materials: Polyester
    Weight: 2.4 pounds

    The Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack features a unique backpack design that is extremely comfortable and easy to carry. The large mesh door will give your cat plenty of ventilation and will also let your cat see what’s going on. If you can’t wear it on your back, you can use the convenient handle to carry it.

    The downside to the Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier is its small size will not be suitable for all cats, and we had several that would not fit. We also felt that the zipper was flimsy and didn’t move smoothly and we were concerned it would not last too long.

    Pros
    • Backpack design
    • Large mesh door
    • Padded handle
    Cons
    • Small size
    • Flimsy zipper

    9. Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Petmate Dog & Cat Carrier

    Size: 20” x 11.5 x 12”
    Materials: Polyester
    Weight: 1.5 pounds

    The Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag features a two-door design that makes it easier to get your pet in. The material is extremely durable and features a PVC backing. It’s attractive and is ready for airplane travel. It allows plenty of ventilation and visibility, which can also help keep your cat calm.

    The downside to Petmate is that the zippers don’t lock, and if you have a rambunctious cat that is persistent in escaping, it can get out by pushing on it, which will open the zipper. Several of our cats escaped while we were using it.

    Pros
    • 2-door design
    • Durable
    • Plenty of ventilation
    Cons
    • No locking zippers
    • Cat can escape somewhat easily

    10. Pet Gear Signature Dog & Cat Car Seat & Carrier Bag

    Pet Gear Signature Dog & Cat Car Seat & Carrier Bag

    Size: 19” x 12.5 x 12”
    Materials: Mesh
    Weight: 13pounds

    The Pet Gear Signature Dog & Cat Car Seat & Carrier Bag is the final cat carrier on our list of reviews, but it still has some features you might need. It’s machine washable, so it’s easy to keep clean. The mesh design provides your cat with plenty of ventilation and visibility. It also comes with a fleece pad to help make it more comfortable, and you can use it as a carrier and as a car seat, so it’s extremely versatile.

    The primary downside we experienced while using the Pet Gear Signature was that it’s surprisingly heavy for its size and can be hard to carry. We also had quite a bit of difficulty installing it as a car seat and never felt secure enough to rely on for a long trip. The small size of the carrier also made it unsuitable for many of our cats.

    Pros
    • Machine washable
    • Plenty of ventilation
    • Car seat plus carrier
    • Includes fleece pad
    Cons
    • Heavy
    • Hard to secure in the car
    • Small

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Let’s look at the most important things to consider before choosing your cat carrier or nervous cats.

    Size

    One of the first things you will want to look at when picking your next carrier. Unfortunately, there is no right size because it depends on the size of your cat and under what circumstances it feels the most comfortable. Most cats don’t like to travel, and their behavior can be erratic. While it’s in the car, your cat will likely try to escape, but once you get into the vet, your cat will try to hide and use the carrier as cover.

    When choosing your next carrier, choose something with enough room for your cat to turn around, but not so much that it can fall over or tumble around while you are carrying it.

    Openings

    Another thing you will want to consider is how many openings the carrier has. The main thing you want to look for is an easy way to get your cat inside. Nervous cats will know what you intend to do as soon as you touch the cage. Alerted cats will often run and hide and will do everything they can to avoid going into the carrier. More openings and larger ones will make it easier to get your cat inside because you’ll have more options.

    A cat in a cat carrier

    Ventilation and Visibility

    Ventilation is essential in your cat carrier because your cat will be excited and will require more oxygen. However, adding ventilation will also increase your cat’s visibility. Some cats are more afraid when they can see what is going on, while others are just the opposite and will feel trapped in a space with little visibility.

    Easy To Clean

    Some cats may have an accident if they get too scared. If this happens, you will need to clean it, and some carriers have tucked-away corners that are hard to reach. If you are unable to clean it, your carrier will continue to smell like urine. Some carriers have a machine-washable liner, which will make it much easier to clean as long as the urine can’t get around it. We’ve tried to point out any brands that were difficult to clean on our list.

    Hard vs Soft Sides

    Another thing you will want to consider while you are shopping is if you want hard or soft sides. Most traditional carriers have hard sides, but these can be uncomfortable and even cause an injury if your cat does too much tumbling around. Hard carriers can also be difficult to carry. Soft-sided carriers are becoming more popular, and these are more like a backpack or shopping bag with supports to keep it sturdy and zippers to keep it closed. We recommend the soft-sided one because they are more comfortable for you and your cat. It’s easier to carry the cat with a shoulder strap or in a backpack, and our cat is more likely to remain calm because you will be closer.

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    Conclusion

    We highly recommend the Sherpa Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag if you have a nervous cat. It’s a large carrier with soft sides and plenty of ventilation to help your cat from feeling trapped. It’s soft and comfortable with an adjustable strap that makes it easy to carry. Another smart choice is our pick for the best value. The Necoichi Ultra Light Collapsible Cat Carrier Bag is extremely lightweight and folds away for easy storage. It’s an attractive shopping bag style that’s easy to carry and provides your cat with both visibility and a place to hide.

    We hope you have enjoyed reading these reviews and found a few brands you would like to try out. If we have helped make trips to the vet go a little easier, please share this guide to the best cat carriers for nervous cats on Facebook and Twitter.

    Ed Malaker

    Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.