Luging your cat to the vet isn’t one of the most significant aspects of owning a cat. The screaming terror of your poor innocent kitty that doesn’t know that they are just being taken care of.
Do cats prefer small or large carriers? That depends on the size of your cat. Rather than looking for something that is either small or large look for a carrier that fits your cat, there are downsides to picking something that does fit. They need to be big enough to accommodate movement by your cat, such as turning around and standing up.
It’s essential to get a carrier that fits them to help with what already will be a stressful event. Also, the carrier itself should have certain features that are necessary and will make your life easier.
Read further to understand the exact size your transport needs to be, aspects of a great carrier, types of carriers, and additional accessories that will help.
What size should your cat carrier be?
That honestly depends on the size of your cat. It sounds like a bright idea to get the biggest carrier available to give them plenty of room to move around in a stressful situation.
But that makes it hard to move the carrier around, and they will be jolted about while you are carrying it. It will cause more stress for both of you, and a stressful cat will make any tricky situation that much worse.
The carrier needs to big enough that if they want to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably.
It’s best to either know the size of your cat or bring them with you while purchasing to get a better gauge of how they will fit in the carrier instead of bringing something home that is too tight a fit.
If you need to get a carrier for a kitten, then try to choose one that will fit their adult size. If you know the size of their parents, then look for something that suits them if you see the breed look up the information online to get an estimate.
The distance of travel also plays into the size of the crate. If you are visiting a vet, then a common carrier will do. On longer trips, you will need more of a container that can accommodate a litter box, bed, and water and food trays.
A note. Do not get an extra-large carrier to carry multiple cats in the same one. Cats that have lived with each other for years peacefully will bare claws against one another while trapped in a carrier together.
While it might be awkward for you while lugging them to the vet along, but they need separate carriers.
Aspects of a great carrier
It’s hard to know what the essentials are for the carrier. Rolling carts, two doors, and what type of screws do I use. How your carrier is step is up to you, and how you think it will affect your cat, but below are must-haves in whatever carrier you get.
The carrier should hold the cat up without sagging in the middle, as some fabric carriers do. Sturdy changes depending on the size of your cat.
Also, consider the handle. Something easy for you to grasp and safely carry your cat will make a stark difference, especially if you have a larger kitty.
Water and Food Bowl
Some carriers will come with a water and food bowl attachment that will fit on the door of the carrier. If it doesn’t, readjust the overall size of the carrier to accommodate your cat and their bowls.
Top can come off easily
A removable lid is excellent for both for you and your vet. Depending on the temperament of your cat, it might be easier to get them into their crate if you can place them in and then put the top on.
While at the vet to make your cat feel better, they can lift the top of the cage.
If your feline is more skittish, then put the top on and gently get them through the door. It helps if you keep the carrier out for a while so that they can get a sniff of it and acclimate to its existence.
Cats can stress out at anything and will go into hyperventilating while in their carrier even for a ten-minute ride. Make sure the crate is well ventilated to get a lot of fresh air flow into their cage.
Also before you even take off point those air vents at the carrier to help them cool down.
A well-ventilated carrier will give your cat plenty of options to look around at the car and what’s going on out the window. If they are stressed outlook below for tips to make the trip more stress-free, however, if they are acting calm, let them look around.
Seat belt loops
Typically on the top of a plastic carrier, while a fabric one might have them on the sides. Usually, the carrier doesn’t quite fit on car seats. Therefore, you need something that will prevent them from sliding all over the place.
What type of carrier?
There are three types of carriers. As to which is the best that depends on your cat and what your needs are. You can either get a plastic carrier, soft carrier, or a crate.
There are pros and cons to all of these options and the best means the best for your situation.
These are the typical carriers that you will see at your local pet store. Typically bi-colored with a steel door and a removable top. The plastic carriers are great if you want a sturdy structure with proper ventilation.
Sometimes these come with a clip that will attach to the door with the food and water bowls. If it is not avalible buy an attachment or something that can lay on the bottom of the carrier.
These carriers are not extremely comfortable though, so if it doesn’t come with a bed, grab a towel to place at the bottom of the cage.
With the sturdiness comes the cumbersomeness, especially if you are on the shorter side, and the carrier is large.
If your cat gets car sickness or has accidents then just grab the plastic which will be so much easier to clean.
Plastic crates do have a lot of options such as screw type, multiple doors, and shape. The same standards apply to all kinds of synthetic carriers.
- This is an amazing plastic cat carrier: This carrier has two doors, and it is available in two sizes: AmazonBasics 19-Inch Two-Door Top-Load Pet Kennel – Get it here!
These are a lot more comfortable to the animal than the plastic carrier would be. Typically made of fabric with either cardboard or plastic backing on the bottom. Using mesh to provide ventilation.
Usually, there will be a top zipper or a zippable flap.
The main issue with the soft carrier is stability. If your cat is more substantial, then these will be too flimsy. It will change your carrier into a sack, and your cat will do everything to get out.
These are also not good for a cat that tends to be anxiety-ridden. This cat will need a more structural unit like the plastic carrier above.
Due to the cardboard or plastic backing, soft carriers are not easy to clean, if your cat does have an accident then use some soap and water to wipe it down.
- This is probably the best soft carrier you can get right now: This soft carrier is airline approved, it comes with bowls and you can even expand it! How cool is that? You need to see The Original Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier by Pet Peppy! Have a look at it here!
The type of carrier that you get depends on the length of the drive. The above two carriers are for short trips, not for long distances. If you are going a long distance, moving, or traveling, you need a crate.
Crates are bigger, typically made for dogs, giving your cat more room to move about during the long trip. They also have the room to place a bed and a litter box along with their food and water bowls.
Just put something like towels on the bottom of the cage to prevent anything from getting on the interior of your car and will make it comfier for their feet.
Of course, the drawback to the crate is room in your car. Since they are on the larger side, they do better with a medium-sized car. If you have a little two-door, there will be work ahead in your future to make the crate fit.
- This crate is great: This crate is cheap, comes in 6 different sizes, and it gets the job done perfectly: The AmazonBasics Single Door Folding Metal Cage Crate – Get it here!
What to bring to make it an enjoyable trip.
You might have the perfect crate; however, there are small things that you can do to make the trip even better for them.
If your carrier has a rigid plastic bottom, grab a towel to use as bedding. It will help them feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. For some cats traveling is new particular torture.
Taking my big cat anywhere leads to yelling the entire time to only act like a perfect gentleman before the vet, then more yelling on the way back.
Placing another towel on top of their carrier will give them that dark hidey-hole. You can also bring their favorite toy or treats to make the experience more enjoyable.
No matter how calm your kitty seems at home, you have no idea what their traveling temperament will be.
Traveling is new and strange to them. Even while calm at the beginning of the ride, your feline might see something out the window that wrecks their composure into a shrieking ball of scratches and nerves.
While in this state if uncage they don’t understand anything but finding safety so they will get anywhere in the car that they will feel protected, even under the peddles. To keep safe, keep them in their carrier or crate while they are in the car.
If you want them to be your driving companion gradually work up to a leash and harness attached to the back seat only after they are perfectly calm driving while in a crate.
Do cats prefer hard or soft carriers? That depends on your cat, size, and temperament. The bigger cats will not be able to use soft carriers because when you pick up the bag, it will bend in the middle. Assess your cat and the types of trips that you mean to take with your cat before choosing a carrier.
Can two cats travel in one carrier? No matter how large the carrier it is not advised to put multiple cats in one unit. Even if they do fit due to the stress, they might start to attack each other. The only time it’s advisable to multi-cat a carrier is for kittens, still, make sure they are not overcrowded.
How long can a cat stay in a carrier? If they are in a regular carrier with food and water bowls, they can remain for up to 6 hours. The time, of course, will depend on the cat and their temperament, if they are a nervous cat think about getting a lease to give them free time, for longer trips get a crate with a bed, litter box and food and water bowls.