How to Buy a Cat Carrier? Beginners’ Buying Guide

Having a cat carrier is a must for every cat owner. There can be many situations when you have to take your cat outside the home such as going to the vet or taking a short trip. In these cases, a cat carrier is a must to have.

It doesn’t only help you to carry the cat but also provides continuous security to your cat from outside harm.

Buying a cat carrier can be tricky. There are hundreds of types of cat carriers right now in the market. You need to find the one that suits your cat perfectly.

Also, there are many brands producing cat carriers. Among all these products, choosing a quality one can be very difficult for a new cat owner.

I have heard countless stories of carriers getting broken only after a week of purchasing. Even, there are stories of cats breaking the carrier and escaping while traveling to the vet.

So, buying cat carrier can be very tricky for a new cat owner. Well, Don’t worry. This article will help you from start to finish regarding how to buy a cat carrier. Everything you should know is included here. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the article.

Why should you get a cat carrier?

Keeps your cat safe

Going outside the home can be very hard for cats. Cats are not like dogs. They become very nervous when you drag them outside of their comfort zone.

The environment outside the home is something very alien to the cat. That’s why she may get scared or nervous very easily.

So, if you take your cat outside without a carrier, there is a high possibility that she may get nervous and try to escape.

I have heard many stories of cats running away from their owners when taking to the vet. It is a very natural response to an unknown environment for cats. So, to ensure your cat doesn’t run off, you need a carrier.

  • A decent cat carrier will protect your cat from all kinds of outside harm.
  • Your cat can’t escape or jump out from you.
  • You can enjoy a tension free journey with your cat if you have a cat carrier.
  • 100% security for your cat

Vets like cat carriers

Most of the vets in the United States encourage cat owners to bring their cats in carriers. In fact, some vets disapprove bringing cats without any carrier.

Vets know how much important it is to bring your cat in a carrier. in some states, it is even illegal to take your cat in a public transportation without any kind of carrier.

Makes your cats less nervous

Going outside the home is a pretty big step for every cat. Most of the cats will feel very nervous and scared out of their marked territory.

But, with a carrier, you can lessen the amount of stress your cat may feel. Granted that a cat doesn’t like carriers right off the bet.

But with correct procedures, you can make your cat get used to the carrier. when she gets used to being in the carrier, going outside will be far much less stressful for her.

You can enjoy the trip

If you want to take your cat to a trip without a carrier, you’ll always have to look over your shoulder and check if your cat is doing ok.

It will take away all the pleasant experience from your journey and fill it with anxiety and tension.

So, if you want to really enjoy your trip with your cat, get a carrier. it will ensure your cat is doing well inside the car.

You don’t have to check every few minute. You and your cat will both enjoy the ride.

Less chance of road accident

If you let your cat roam free inside the car, there is a high possibility of road accident. She can easily get spooked by a sudden horn or traffic light.

If she gets under the feet or over the gas pedal, serious road accident may occur. Also, you won’t be able to give full attention on the road.

So, a cat carrier will reduce the chance of any road accident.

How to choose a cat carrier

how to buy a cat carrier

There are many factors which come into action when choosing a cat carrier for your cat.

There are hundreds of carriers out there in the market. so, you need to know what you are actually buying. Here are some tips that’ll help you to get the right carrier for your cat.

What is the intention of the carrier?

Before buying the carrier, ask yourself the question “Why do you need the carrier for?”

If it is for regular visit to the vet, you can either get a soft-sided or hard-sided cat carrier.

You also have the option to get a trendy cat carrier backpack or a cat purse carrier.

If it is for traveling by plane, then you need to get a carrier that is approved by airplane regulations. These types of carriers are generally hard sided and made from heavy-duty plastic. They are also collapsible for easy storage.

These types of carriers tend to be costlier than regular cat carriers. They are bulkier than traditional cat carriers too.

If you want something trendy and don’t want to carry your cat by hand all day long, a cat carrier backpack will be perfect for you.

These backpacks are like normal backpacks but designed for carrying cats. There are additional pouches to keep your necessary items too!

Cat carrier backpacks are very trendy and fashionable. They are a great choice for short rides to vets.

If you are a cat mom and want to make other cat moms jealous, get a cat purse carrier. These purses are like normal ladies bags but you can carry your cat inside them.

These are perfect for short distance trip. However, don’t get them if you are planning for a long car ride.

Get the right size cat carrier

Many cat owners tend to make mistakes in this step. So, pay close attention.

To buy the right size carrier for your cat, you need to measure the length of your cat. First, make your cat sit on her hind legs while the front legs are extended.

Now, take a measuring tape and measure the length from the head to the tip of the tail. Add a couple of inches with it. This should be the right size carrier that your cat will need.

Don’t worry if you don’t find that particular size carrier in the market. Just get the closest one to that size.

Suppose, the measurement of the length of your cat from head to the tip of the tail is 9 inches. Now, add 2 inches to it.

So, you get 11 inches. Now, you should look for a carrier that is 11 inches in length. If you can’t find an 11-inch cat carrier, don’t worry. Get a 12 or 14-inch one.

The idea is here to make sure your cat has enough room inside the carrier to move around comfortably.

However, it can’t be so large that it might fall over from your shoulder when the cat moves inside the carrier.

The weight of your pet

Another important factor to consider when buying a carrier is your pet’s weight. Depending on the weight of your pet, you’ll have to decide what type of carrier will suit you best.

Cat purse carriers are perfect for cats up to 5 pounds of weight. This will ensure that you won’t get a shoulder pain by carrying your cat.

If your cat is more than 10 pounds, you shouldn’t get a cat purse carrier.

For cats weighing more than 10 pounds, it is better to get a regular size cat carrier. you can also get a car carrier backpack depending on how much weight you can carry comfortably.

Remember that, you also need to take into account the weight of the carrier in addition to the weight of the cat. Generally, a regular size cat carrier weighs about 2 to 4 pounds.

Some last tips

Always remember that the first job of a cat carrier is keeping your cat safe from all kinds of harms.

So, look for the safety features in a carrier. check if it can really provide security to your cat. Check the ventilation system of the carrier.

A good carrier should have enough windows or mesh panels for easy air circulation inside the carrier. This will keep your cat comfortable.

Also keep in mind that, cats can’t be put into a carrier for an extended period of time. You need to take them out occasionally and let them stretch legs.

Don’t be discouraged if you see your cat doesn’t want to get inside the carrier you just bought for her. It is a very normal behavior for a cat.

They don’t want to get into something that is unfamiliar to them. So, after buying the carrier, you need to train your cat to get friendly with it.

I have written a detailed article on this topic. Click here to read it.

So, these are my tips to choose a cat carrier for your cat. Of course, there are many other things to consider which really depends on the personality and type of your cat.

But if you follow these general guidelines, you should get a decent cat carrier for your feline friend.

Choose the right size carrier for your cat

right size cat carrier

I know I have written about this part previously, but this topic is so important that I want to give you more information about it in details.

So, I am dedicating a whole section of my article for it.

Bigger doesn’t always mean better

When it comes to cat carriers, bigger doesn’t always mean better. The size of carrier needs to be perfect for your cat. It shouldn’t be too small or very large.

Cats generally feel safe when they can feel their back against something. Otherwise, in a very large space, cats tend to get afraid and keep themselves in a corner.

So, if your cat carrier is too large, your cat will feel very scared and keep herself in a corner of the carrier. it is not good for your cat.

Also, when a cat shifts to only one corner the carrier, it becomes very hard to carry her. It may cause you shoulder pain too!

  • Only get a carrier that is approximately 2 inches larger than the length of your cat from head to the tip of the tail.
  • Another rule of thumb is, get a cat carrier that is one and half times larger than the length of your cat. Your cat should be able to stand up and move around inside the carrier.
  • Your cat should feel her back against the wall of the carrier.
  • You’ll know the carrier is too large if you find your cat scared and sitting in a corner.

Two cats in one carrier isn’t a good idea

If you have two cats, you might think it is better to have one big cat carrier so that you can carry both of them on the same carrier.

But, it is not a good idea. Here are the reasons:

  • In general case, most of the time, you’ll only have to take one cat at a time to the vets. So, there is no necessity for getting a carrier for two cats.
  • If there are two cats in a carrier, they might show aggression to each other. Being outside is a completely new experience for cats. You can’t predict how much this experience will affect the behavior of your cat. So, with two cats in a carrier, both of them may start fighting with each other or show serious aggression.

That’s why it is not a good idea to put two cats in a large carrier. instead, get two perfect-size carriers for each of your cats.

Yes, it may cost some more, but your cats will be safe and sound.

Too small cat carriers

Many cat owners often do the mistake of buying a carrier that is too small for their cats. If the carrier is too small, your cat won’t be able to move around inside the cat.

She will feel suffocated and uncomfortable, especially if it is a long journey. So, never buy a carrier that is too small for your cat.

  • Think smartly if you have a kitten. Kittens grow quickly and will surely outgrow the size of her carrier. So, get a carrier that is at least 1.5 times the length of your kitten. It will ensure your kitten doesn’t outgrow the carrier within months after buying.
  • It is better to buy a regular-sized cat carrier for kittens. Think of the length your kitten will have when she becomes adult and buy a carrier according to that.

Where to buy cat carriers?

The cat carrier is a very common item in most of the pet stores.

You can find it in almost any pet stores. Here are some places to look for cat carriers:

Check your local pet store

As I have said earlier cat carriers are a very common item, there is good possibility that your local pet store already has a good collection of cat carriers.

So, if you want to get something quick, then pay a visit to the local pet store. One thing to keep in mind is, local pet stores don’t always keep the best quality items. You may not also find brand items there.

Why not go to a pet chain shop?

Pet chain shops like Petco or PetSmart have an excellent collection of cat carriers. If there is any chain shop near your home, go and visit there.

There is a good possibility that you’ll find high-quality brand cat carriers there.

One thing to look for is, always research before going there to buy a carrier. the chain shop staffs are not very knowledgeable and they might hand you the wrong carrier. That’s why it is better if you have a clear idea of what you are looking for.

Shop at Amazon

If you are like me and doesn’t want to waste valuable times going to pet stores, then Amazon is the perfect choice for you.

Amazon is world’s largest e-commerce store and they have the very best cat carriers in their collection. The best thing is, you can get real reviews of previous buyers of each of the cat carrier and decide yourself if it is a decent carrier or not. The price is not more than what you would pay in a local pet store.

Moreover, it saves a ton of time and energy. You don’t need to go to the pet store and buy the product yourself. All you need to do is click on the checkout button and a decent carrier will be shipped directly to your home address. It is that simple! It is by far my favorite way to buy cat carriers.

Different types of cat carriers

Hard-sided cat carriers

Hard-sided cat carriers are great for everyday use. These types of cat carriers have a solid bottom and side.

There are ventilation panels along the side for easy air circulation. these carriers are also very easy to clean and don’t stench of odor.

There can be either a metal or plastic door on the front. I prefer the metal door as it provides more security and most airlines approve them. If you want to get a hard-sided cat carrier, make sure that the size is right for your cat.

  • Great for everyday use.
  • Very easy to carry your pet. Comfortable for cats too.
  • They are very easy to clean and maintain.
  • Provides good security to your cat.
  • Most airlines approve them.

Soft-sided cat carrier

Soft-sided carriers are more customizable. They come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and types.

So, if you want something trendy and eye-catching for carrying your cat, a soft-sided carrier can be a good option.

However, remember that soft sided carriers are not great for cats who get nervous or anxious outside home.

If your cat gets scared, she might rip off the carrier and jump out from it. I have also heard stories of cats sticking their paws between the material and the zipper and ripping the zipper out.

So, it is something you need to be careful about.

The good news is, most soft-sided cat carriers these days have a hook installed inside the carrier. you can attach the hook to your cat’s carrier. this will prevent any type of escape when you are traveling.

  • These types of cat carriers come in multiple colors, sizes, and varieties.
  • Easy to carry.
  • Not a good choice for anxious or nervous cats.
  • Comes with a removable bottom pad which is easy to clean. It also makes the carrier comfortable for your cat.

Cat Carrier Backpacks

Cat carrier backpacks are like traditional backpacks but designed to carry cat inside them. They are very trendy and fashionable.

Very easy to carry your cat with a backpack for short distance. Don’t use these if you want to go on a long journey with your cat.

  • Very trendy and fashionable. Comes in multiple styles, colors, and sizes.
  • Very easy to carry cats for short distance trips such as a trip to the vet.
  • Doesn’t cost much.
  • They won’t cause shoulder pain by carrying your cat all day long.
  • Not preferable for cats weighing more than 10 pounds.
  • Not recommended for long distance journey.

Cat carrier purses

Cat carrier purses are great for fashionable cat moms who want something eye-catching for their cats. These are regular purses but designed to carry pets.

Cat carrier purses can be a very fashionable choice but they are not suitable for cats weighing more than 5 pounds.

You also can’t use these types of carriers for a long journey. They are only suitable for short trips like visiting the vet.

  • Great choice in terms of a fashionable carrier. Comes in a wide range of styles and colors.
  • Durable and cheap
  • Can easily carry cats weighing less than 5 pounds.
  • Not suitable for long distance trip.

Rolling suitcase carriers

Rolling suitcase carriers are a little bit on the pricey end of the spectrum. But, they are great for carrying large cats.

These carriers are very roomy and comfortable for the cats. If you are visiting somewhere with your family and facing a hard time carrying luggage, then a rolling suitcase will be perfect for carrying your cat.

As they have wheels on the bottom, you can easily drag them without any effort.

Watch out for bumpy movements or rolling noises as they make cats nervous and scared.

Some other factors to consider when choosing the right cat carrier

Single or Multiple doors?

Cat carriers have two types of entry points: single door or multiple doors.

A single door is better for calm cats who don’t resist going into the carrier. but if you have a cat that is nervous and doesn’t want to get into the carrier, it is better to get a multiple door cat carrier.

As multiple door cat carriers have several entry points, you can put your cat either through the front door or through the top door.

Some cat owners find it easier to put the cat through the top door. It also makes easier for the vet to take your cat out of the carrier through the top door.


Screws offer an easier way to take off the top of the carrier to examine the cat. Make sure the screws are not rusted. Screws are also very easy to buy if lost.

Plastic pegs

Plastic pegs are another easy way to latch or unlatch the top of the carrier. However, they are rare and you’ll be in trouble if get lost.


Zippers are usually used in soft-sided carriers. They are very handy for opening or closing the door. However, zippers are not suitable for an anxious or nervous cat as she might work her way out through the zipper.

Plastic Knobs

Plastic knobs are another way for latching or unlatching a cat carrier. Plastic knobs are easy to use and quiet.

They don’t scare off your cat. Remember to align the carrier perfectly before latching or unlatching the carrier.

My Favorite Cat Carrier

So, I hope you have got a basic idea on how to buy a cat carrier for your cat. I have shared all my secret tips and tricks for choosing the right carrier for your cat.

In this section, I’ll tell you about my favorite cat carrier for all-time use! Of course, personal opinions vary from person to person.

But I think this cat carrier offers the most value for money! So, no more suspense, I am talking about PetLuv’s Happy Cat Premium Soft Sided Carrier.


  • It’s a premium quality pet carrier with Zipper locking system which ensures complete security of your cat. The carrier is perfect for visiting the vet, going on a long trip and for many other purposes. The best thing is, it has 4 times the interior space than a traditional cat carrier.
  • Comes in two sizes. So, you can comfortably choose the one that suits your cat’s size. Perfect for medium to large size cats and can bear up to 45 pounds of weight.
  • Comes with an adjustable padded shoulder strap which lets you carry your cat by the shoulder. So, you don’t have to only carry the carrier by hand. The handle grips are padded too for more comfortable carrying.
  • Ventilated mesh panels on four sides which ensure proper air circulation inside the carrier. It makes the carrier very comfortable for your cat. Also, your cat can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view through the mesh panels. The mesh panels are coated with hypoallergenic PVC. So, your cat is completely safe and secure within this carrier.
  • Includes a very soft fluffy pillow inside the carrier which makes it a great place for your cat to sleep.
  • Has four access panels to get your cat to the carrier including top loading.
  • Has seatbelt loops for securing the carrier with a car seat.
  • This carrier practically has everything you need in a travel-friendly carrier.
  • It’s not only a carrier, it is like a luxurious apartment for your cat.


  • Dimension is Length 24″, Height 16″, Depth 16″
  • Navy Blue in color
  • Weight is 8.8 pounds.

What I love about this carrier

  • The interior is 4 times larger than a traditional cat carrier. It ensures my cat is comfortable and has enough place to move around.
  • There are ventilation panels on four sides for proper airflow inside the carrier.
  • Multiple access ways including top loading system.
  • You can secure the carrier with a car seat using the seatbelt loop of the carrier.
  • Includes a fluffy pillow which makes the carrier more exciting for your cat.

What I don’t like about this carrier

  • I heard that some cat owners find the carrier a bit too heavy for their taste. Personally, I don’t have any issue with the weight of the carrier.
  • Comes in only one color.

So, if you are interested to know more about the carrier, click here to check out the current price on Amazon.

So, this is my beginner’s guide on how to buy a cat carrier. I hope, the guide helps you to choose the right cat carrier for your cat.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below! I will reply as soon as possible!

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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