Although most pet parents would love to bring their cats everywhere, traveling can make even the most curious feline feel like retreating. That's why shopping for the best cat carriers for your car is so important, because finding the right one can help make your pet feel more relaxed on the road, and keep them safe while you drive.
Cat carriers come in all different shapes and sizes, and depending on your cat's demeanor, some models may be a better fit than others. Soft-sided carriers are lightweight, easy to store, and usually an excellent choice for mellow kitties that don't mind the car too much.
Hard-sided carriers are another popular option, and tend to be more durable and protective than soft-sided ones are, and can be a good investment if your cat is more high-strung and needs more security on trips. And, if you're looking for a model that's top-in-class when it comes to safety, consider our best overall option, the Sleepypod Atom pet carrier, which is crash-tested, airline compliant for carry-on travel, and award-winning.
Because picking the best cat carriers for your car (and your cat) is essential if you want to travel anywhere with your pet in tow, let's get started. This list features some of the most highly rated and popular options on the market today, priced to fit any budget.
1. The Overall Best Cat Carrier For Cars
The Sleepypod atom in-cabin pet carrier is the best overall pick for driving because not only is this carrier crash-tested for safety in cars, it's also airline compliant so you can take it with you on any upcoming travel you have. While, yes, the price tag is a little on the higher side, its versatility, durable design, and mesh panels for extra ventilation make it a great investment for pet owners. One thing to note? This cat carrier is meant for cats under 12 pounds, so if your cat fares a little heavier than most, keep scrolling for a different option below.
2. A Budget-Friendly Soft Carrier
This affordable cat carrier is designed to be lightweight, easy to carry, and highly ventilated. It comes in multiple sizes (perfect for any cat and any car) and is ideal for an assortment of travel options, from longer trips by car to quick rides to the vet. Recommended for a maximum load of 16 pounds, this carrier comes with handles and an adjustable shoulder strap. It also features a machine-washable fleece bed, which gives pets a cozy sleeping space for when you're on-the-go.
3. The Best Hard-Sided Cat Carrier
This resilient, hard-sided carrier has an almost perfect five-star rating for good reasons: It's cheap, highly durable, and comes with two doors, so pets can pop in and out with ease. It comes in multiple sizes and is made with heavy-duty plastic, which helps make it easier to spot clean compared to soft-sided models. While it doesn't have the same breezy, lightweight feel as a soft-sided case, it still delivers great ventilation and visibility for pets, so they can get comfortable during trips. One reviewer wrote: "This is a great pet carrier! I have a 15 [pound] cat and she was very comfortable in it when I took her to the vet."
4. The Best For Multiple Cats
Similar to cat litter boxes, you should probably plan to buy separate cat carriers for each of your pets so they have room to get comfortable and don't feel overwhelmed by the other. That is, unless you have this portable cat cage by Necoichi, which is actually big enough to fit multiple kits and a travel litter box. In short, it's a must-have if you're taking your cats with you on a long cross-country road trip and can't afford to make extra stops. This comes with mesh covering, terrific ventilation, a carrying bag, a waterproof fleece mat, and seat belt straps, so you can secure it in place in your backseat. "Made a [six-hour] drive with [two] cats and it worked perfectly. My one cat likes to just sit in it for fun!"
5. The Best For Heavy Cats
For larger breeds (or chubby cats), a more supportive and stronger cat carrier like this carrier from PetLuv is a must buy. It's got a reputation among reviewers and cat experts for being exceptionally comfortable, and it's spacious enough to hold pets up to 45 pounds. It comes with four mesh access panels, as well as full-zippered closure and an incredibly plush pillow that'll get your feline purring up a storm. Another advantage is that this safety seatbelt loops, so you can secure it in place when you're prepping to hit the road, and it folds flat when not in use for superior storage.
6. The Largest For Roaming Around
Designed to be adjustable and made from claw-proof mesh, this soft-sided carrier secures directly to most car seats and will allow your cat to roam from one side of the backseat to the other, without causing unexpected mischief along the way. It also retracts in and comes with carrying handles, so it functions as both a play tube for cats and a carrier when you're getting out of the car. You can even use this carrier at one-third, or two-thirds the size. One fan says, "This tunnel has helped keep my car clean as litter doesn't go everywhere and the hair stays in too. And most important it has kept my cats safe. I had to slam on the breaks once and the tunnel didn't move at all."
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