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10 Best Cat Carriers in 2021- Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove

July 23, 2021

cat in Frisco Premium Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

Traveling with your cat isn’t always the easiest thing to do in the best of circumstances. However, your choice of a carrier can make the difference between a pleasant trip or one that sits squarely on the other end of the spectrum. We were surprised with the wide range of products available as we did our research. We’ve come a long way from the plastic rectangular model. It’s far more manageable to get your pet inside of one now.

The comfort level has also improved immensely. They are also more stylish than ever. Who would have thought that a cat carrier would make a fashion statement? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and researched the variety of products from which to choose. We hope that our detailed reviews will give you everything you need to know to make an informed purchase. Your kitty will thank you.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Pet Gear VIEW 360 Cat Carrier Pet Gear VIEW 360 Cat Carrier
  • Padded handle
  • Roomy
  • Car seat functionality
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Cat Rolling Carrier Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Cat Rolling Carrier
  • Versatile
  • Telescoping handle
  • Side storage pouches
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Katziela Luxury Lorry Cat Carrier Katziela Luxury Lorry Cat Carrier
  • Lots of storage
  • Rolling design
  • Name tag slot
  • Mr.Peanut's Platinum Series Double-Expandable Cat Carrier Mr.Peanut's Platinum Series Double-Expandable Cat Carrier
  • Removable bedding
  • Expandable sides
  • Convenient storage
  • PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier
  • Two sizes
  • Collapsible
  • Four access panels
  • The 10 Best Cat Carriers – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Pet Gear VIEW 360 Cat Carrier – Best Overall

    Pet Gear VIEW 360 Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 20” L x 12” W x 18.5” H
    Material: Steel, mesh, nylon, fleece
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Moderately easy
    Cat comfort: Excellent

    The Pet Gear VIEW 360 Cat Carrier came out on top as our pick for the best overall cat carrier. The manufacturer clearly has the pet’s comfort at the forefront with a mesh top that offers excellent air circulation and a 360-view of the area around it. You can close it off, if necessary, too. The interior includes a fleece pad that makes the carrier even more comfortable.

    The product uses push-button closures instead of a zipper. That makes it quicker, especially if your cat fights going inside of the carrier. It’s easy to carry, with its padded handle. We also liked that it’s top-loading. The price is right, too, considering what you get for the money.

    Pros
    • Mesh top
    • Padded handle
    • Roomy
    • Car seat functionality

    Cons

    • Only one size
    • Unsuitable for cats with claws


    2. Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Cat Rolling Carrier – Best Value

    Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Dog & Cat Backpack & Rolling Carrier

    Dimensions: 12” L x 8” W x 17.5” H
    Material: Nylon, mesh
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Excellent
    Cat comfort: Moderately comfortable

    You can do much better than the Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Cat Rolling Carrier as the best cat carrier for the money. The product functions as both a backpack and rolling carrier, which adds to its value and versatility. It has both a tether inside and two storage pouches, making it even more useful. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s so affordable.

    On the downside, it can only accommodate one pet up to 15 pounds, which is a dealbreaker if you have a large cat. Unfortunately, it only comes in one size. Also, there isn’t a lot of padding on the shoulder straps, making its use as a rolling carrier preferable for transport. Overall, it’s well-made, especially considering its price.

    Pros
    • Value-priced
    • Versatile
    • Telescoping handle
    • Side storage pouches

    Cons

    • Small for larger cats
    • Only one size


    3. Katziela Luxury Lorry Cat Carrier – Premium Choice

    Katziela Luxury Lorry Dog & Cat Carrier

    Dimensions: 22” L x 12” W x 15” H
    Material: Polyester, mesh
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Excellent
    Cat comfort: Excellent

    If you want to pull out all the stops, then look no further than the Katziela Luxury Lorry Cat Carrier. The overall dimensions are roomy, with mesh windows for optimal circulation. It includes several owner-friendly features, such as the name tag slot, storage pouches, zippered side opening, and its unique removable rolling mechanism. You can carry it over your shoulder or pull it behind you.

    The carrier is ready to use right out of the box, with no assembly required. The product is well-made, with extra security features to keep your pet inside of it. We liked that it was both comfortable for your cat and easy on us. Our only gripe is the carrying handle, which we thought was a bit flimsy. However, the shoulder straps and rollers make it up for it.

    Pros
    • Lots of storage
    • Rolling design
    • Name tag slot
    • Roomy interior

    Cons

    • Spendy
    • Flimsy carrying handle


    4. Mr.Peanut’s Platinum Series Double-Expandable Cat Carrier

    Mr.Peanut's Platinum Series Double-Expandable Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 18” L x 10.5” W x 11” H
    Material: Nylon, mesh
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Excellent
    Cat comfort: Excellent

    The Mr.Peanut’s Platinum Series Double-Expandable Cat Carrier is like a pop-up camper for your pet. You can expand the sides to increase the usable space, perhaps for a catnap while on your travels. Overall, the product is well-made and durable. It is lightweight and collapsible for convenient storage between uses. We liked the security features, such as the leash tether and the self-locking zippers.

    The manufacturer puts comfort first with this product for both you and your cat. The faux-fur lining is luxurious and washable. There’s plenty of padding on the shoulder straps and handle to make transport easy. On the downside, there is only one size. As is, it’s a bit narrow for larger cats. The height is also an issue, even though it’s meant to go underneath an airplane seat.

    Pros
    • Removable bedding
    • Expandable sides
    • Convenient storage
    • Well-made

    Cons

    • A bit narrow for larger cats
    • Only one size


    5. PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier

    PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier

    Dimensions: 24” L x 16” W x 16” H
    Material: Polyester
    Opening(s): Top or side load
    Ease of use: Excellent
    Cat comfort: Excellent

    The PetLuv Happy Cat Soft-Sided Cat Carrier looks as plush inside as its unique and stylish exterior promises. The standout feature is the four access panels that you can leave open or closed, depending on your pet’s comfort level. The product is well-constructed, with reinforced corners for added durability. We liked the seatbelt loops and self-locking zippers to keep your precious cargo safe while traveling.

    The carrier comes in two sizes, small and large, and three colors, red, navy, and tan. The large size is roomy to fit most any size cat. It has a washable cushion inside that makes it even more comfortable. However, it is spendy, but it is easily justifiable. The dealbreaker might rest with the fact that it isn’t airline-approved for the very reason we like it—its size.

    Pros
    • Two sizes
    • Collapsible
    • Four access panels
    • Security features

    Cons

    • Pricey
    • Not airline-approved


    6. Sherpa Ultimate on Wheels Cat Carrier

    Sherpa Ultimate on Wheels Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 20” L x 12.25” W x 10.5” H
    Material: Polyester, mesh
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Excellent
    Cat comfort: Comfortable

    The Sherpa Ultimate on Wheels Cat Carrier gets high marks for several features. We loved its roller mechanism and how it works. The padded handle makes it so easy to use. Then, there is the design. It is so gosh darn cute! We can easily see ourselves strolling the neighborhood with our kitty in tow.

    The carrier is a decent size, even for larger cats. The mesh sides provide sufficient circulation for a comfortable ride. You can also fold down the flaps for quiet time. You may not think of it as an airline carrier. However, the manufacturer’s Guaranteed on Board program goes the extra mile to see that you can go on your trip.

    Pros
    • Terrific transport setup
    • Manufacturer’s Guaranteed on Board program
    • Cute design

    Cons

    • Spendy
    • Inconvenient storage


    7. Frisco Premium Travel Cat Carrier

    Frisco Premium Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 19” L x 11.75” W x 11.5” H
    Material: Polyester, mesh, fleece
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Easy
    Cat comfort: Good

    The Frisco Premium Travel Cat Carrier has a simple yet straightforward design for pet owners who only need one for vet visits. It gets the job done at a reasonable price. Its open design ensures optimal airflow for nervous cats. It has well-padded shoulder straps that make transport comfortable, even with heavier kitties.

    The carrier comes in three sizes to accommodate all cats. It has a removable liner that is machine-washable. In between uses, you can fold it into a smaller square for easy storage. Its best use is for short trips instead of long hauls. It can be uncomfortable for your pet if it stands while you carry it. However, that’s the bane of many soft-sided carriers.

    Pros
    • Three sizes
    • Affordable
    • Collapsible

    Cons

    • Uncomfortable for cats while moving


    8. Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Carrier

    Pet Magasin Collapsible Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 17” L x  14” W x 13” L
    Material: Mesh, plastic
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Good
    Cat comfort: Adequate

    The Pet Magasin Collapsible Cat Carrier is a hybrid design that combines mesh sides with a hard top and bottom to improve its durability. The design looks attractive at first glance. However, you can break it down for storage, but you’ll end up disassembling it in the process. That makes it more problematic to use if you go this route.

    The design allows ventilation through the holes on the sides and the mesh front. We have concerns with the latter since that’s usually where anxious pets scratch. A cat with claws might make short work out of it. We’d recommend this product for pets that are used to being in a carrier and are less likely to try to get out of it.

    Pros
    • Extra durability
    • Comfy cushion
    • Stylish design

    Cons

    • Disassembly to store
    • Insufficient ventilation


    9. MidWest Day Tripper Cat Backpack

    MidWest Day Tripper Dog & Cat Backpack

    Dimensions: 8” L x 14.6” W x 16.9” H
    Material: Polyester, cotton
    Opening(s): Side and top load
    Ease of use: Easy
    Cat comfort: Okay

    The MidWest Day Tripper Cat Backpack seems better suited as a regular backpack than something to transport your pet. We must say that it’s attractive and stylish. It is well-made and seems like it could stand the test of time. The shoulder straps are well-padded, making them comfortable to use.

    It’s a different story from the cat’s perspective. It’s small, especially when used as intended. Your kitty must sit upright instead of lying down. You can put it on its side, but the jostling is sure to upset a nervous cat. We’d think it would be hot inside of it, despite the mesh panels. Your body heat would undoubtedly make it uncomfortable.

    Pros
    • Attractive appearance
    • Quality construction

    Cons

    • Small pets only
    • Design flaws


    10. Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier

    Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 27” L x 19” W x 0.4” H
    Material: Cotton
    Opening(s): Top load
    Ease of use: Moderately easy
    Cat comfort: Questionable

    The Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier is a product best used for short trips to the vet or groomer. It resembles a pillowcase with an adjustable Velcro collar and a carrying handle. The concept is sound, although we would anticipate it would be hard to use, especially the second time you try to put your pet inside of it.

    We would also question its safety. A determined cat will put up a good fight to get out of it, despite the collar. We could see using it if you get a pet used to it as a kitten. A standard carrier plays on a feline’s instinct to hide. This one is a far departure from other products.  From the owner’s perspective, the shoulder strap is well-padded and comfortable to use.

    Pros
    • Comfortable to use

    Cons

    • Escape risk
    • Short-term use only
    • Unnatural placement


    Buyer’s Guide

    We’re sure you’ll share our surprise when you start comparison shopping. The manufacturers have found several ways to improve the pet’s comfort while making it easy for you to use, too. You may not use this kind of product often. However, it’s still essential to get the right one for your traveling style. Features to consider include:

    • Overall size
    • Materials
    • Number and type of openings
    • Ease of carrying
    • Cat comfort

    Overall Size

    Size is a vital consideration. It must toe the line between your pet’s comfort and your ease of carrying it. We suggest measuring the length of your cat to ensure you get one that is long and tall enough. Your kitty will appreciate the space to lay down without having to crouch. Most of the products we reviewed were rectangular in shape to accommodate the lengthy body of a feline.

    bengal cat in a carrier
    Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

    Materials

    The materials fall into two camps, hard or soft-sided. While the former offers durability, it can also get hot inside of it without enough circulation. Often, they include only one door, which can make putting your cat inside of it a challenge, to say the least.

    Soft-side carriers negate the disadvantages of hard-sided products. They often have mesh sides, which improves airflow and offers a view of what’s going on around your pet. Most prefer being able to see their surroundings. They may also feel more secure if they can see you. The one drawback is their durability, particularly if your cat isn’t declawed. A determined animal will find a way out if left unattended.

    Many manufacturers use different types of polyester or nylon to provide better strength. You should also examine the interior of the carrier. You’ll find some products with comfortable linings, such as fleece, to make them more comfortable. We suggest looking into the care of the product, too. It’s one thing that makes removable liners so practical.

    Number and type of Openings

    We prefer top-loading carriers for cats. The larger size makes getting them inside so much easier than pushing them through a small opening. Be sure to check the closures, too. Nylon zippers are an excellent option that less likely to snag. We’ve seen other types, too, such as push-buttons. Our primary criterion is that it’s easy to open and close. We also prefer products that have a tether or extra reinforcement to keep it closed.

    Ease of Carrying

    Carrying a living creature inside an enclosure will present some challenges, no matter what type of carrier you have. We look for features, such as padded shoulder straps and handles. Rollers are a godsend, especially if you’re flying with your pet. Many products use the same features as suitcases with telescoping handles that make storage easier.

    Cat Comfort

    Soft-sided carriers offer superior comfort for your kitty. That gives them a clear advantage over hard-side ones. You’ll find products that include many features to make travel easier for your pet. Extra padding inside of them or removable pads certainly help matters. That’s particularly true if your cat will be inside the carrier for any length of time. Remember that anything you put in it cuts down on the usable space.

    Making Travel Easier

    Many cats will fight getting into a carrier, especially if you only use it for trips to the vet. That’s one reason why we suggest leaving it open for your pet to investigate on its terms. You may even try putting a little catnip inside of it to encourage them to explore.

    Another thing you can do is to spray the carrier before you travel with a calming spray, such as Feliway. It replicates the same pheromones your pet uses when it rubs against furniture—or you! It’s their way of signaling that it’s safe.

    divider-cat

    Conclusion

    After researching our reviews, the Pet Gear VIEW 360 Cat Carrier took the top spot for the best overall product. It does an excellent job of trying to make your pet feel more comfortable when traveling to new places. It is well-made and quite sturdy, too.

    The Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Cat Rolling Carrier offers a lot of value for the money, with its versatility and functionality at an affordable price. It is an excellent choice, no matter how you want to transport your cat to your next adventure.

    Nicole Cosgrove

    Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.


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