It’s that time of year when your cat needs to go in for a vet checkup. There’s one problem though: your cat is skittish and nervous. How are you going to get your nervous friend to the vet without being traumatized?
This is not a rare occurrence for cat owners. Cats are known to be distrusting of new situations, especially skittish cats.
This can make it very hard to get them places, such as vet visits. Cat carriers can reduce your cat’s anxiety and the make the trip a very comfortable one for both of you.
How Do You Choose the Right Carrier?
When looking for a cat carrier, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are two types of carriers: hard and soft-shell.
An article from Banfield Pet Hospital recommends using a hard carrier to start out, as it is easier to manage.
Make sure the carrier has openings both in front and on top, or just on top. Most cats don’t like being pushed into any space.
Lifting and placing them in the carrier will be easier on them. Also be sure the carrier is easy to dismantle; skittish cats will very reluctant come into a new space willingly.
When introducing the carrier to your cat, leave it in a quiet spot with a soft towel and some treats or kibble. Let them inspect it as they please.
This YouTube video on cats and carriers goes into much more detail and has a lot of good tips to help train your cat to ride securely in a carrier.
Keep in mind, most smaller carriers only recommend pets up to 15 lbs. This can be troublesome for larger cat breeds.
5 Best Cat Carriers for Your Nervous Cat
Petmate Two Door Top Load Kennel
Petmate is a great brand that guarantees to keep your pet safe and secure while traveling. This carrier is built from sturdy plastic. Both sizes have a top-door for easier access.
The top door has an ergonomic carry handle and the front door is made of sturdy wire. The sides of the carrier are bolted with wing-nut screws instead of latches. While this doesn’t make it easy to dismantle, it does make it sturdier in travel as latches can pop open.
From the look of it, this carrier is suitable for cats up to 20 lbs. The largest size it comes in is 24.05 x 16.75 x 14.5 inches. This makes it pretty cozy, especially when you add a soft towel, blanket, or cat bed in it.
- Two-door, top-load carrier
- Made from a sturdy plastic
- Wing-nut screws in the sides make a sturdier carrier since latches can be popped loose
- 19in and 24in are cozy for most cats
- Meets most airline guidelines for pet carriers
- This carrier does not have a larger size for large cats
- Not recommended for cats over 20 lbs
- The side screws make it harder to dismantle in case your cat is skittish
- Some airlines don’t approve of the top-load carriers
2. RUFF Max Kennel
This carrier is the same size as the Petmate with a few changes. This is not a top load carrier. Unlike the Petmate carrier, there are quick release latches on the sides for easy dismantling. Bolts are included for long-distance or airline transit as well.
While this is a 24-inch carrier, the specs measure 17.25 x 9 x 24.5 inches, so it is smaller than the Petmate in width, but bigger in length. Some cats may find the smaller width cozier.
While you will have to check with airlines to make sure, this carrier seems to meet all the airline rules for pet carrier since it does not have a top load.
- Has quick latches for easy dismantling of difficult pets
- A Smaller width and bigger length than the Petmate carrier
- Meets all airline rules on pet carriers
- Comes in a size larger for bigger or heavier weight cats
- This is not a top load carrier
- It is smaller width than the Petmate
3. PetAmi Premium Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
This soft-sided travel carrier is an Amazon’s Choice for pet carriers. It lives up to the hype too. The PetAmi Travel Carrier is made from a durable polyester and designed for safety and convenience.
The safety features on this are pretty awesome. It has safety buckles and a strap to prevent your cat from escaping. Furthermore, you can buckle the carrier to a car seat or to your luggage so your cat is traveling safely at all times.
This carrier is guaranteed airline approved and there are features that allow it to be easily identified. It comes with an identification tag that you can put your cat’s name on and you can carry the bag onto the plane with you.
For skittish cats, it has two-sided access and a soft, sherpa lining for your kitty to rest and relax through the trip. It even comes with a collapsible bowl so your cat can stay hydrated.
The size of the carrier is 19.5 x 10.2 x 12 inches, so it is suitable for small and medium-sized cats. Unfortunately, this is the largest size they have, so they do not have a carrier that is meant specifically for large cats.
- Guaranteed Airline Approved Pet Carrier
- Built with safety and durability in mind; has safety buckles and straps to keep pet contained
- Has two-sided access for skittish cats and a sherpa lining bed for relaxation and comfort
- Has identification tag on the side
- Comes with a collapsible water bowl
- The Largest size is meant for small to medium cats only
- Does not have a larger size for large cat breeds
4. Mr. Peanut’s Low Profile Travel Tote
This is a really nice airline approved travel carrier. The company believes that their products should eco-friendly and cruelty-free.
They are an ethically-run business and every purchase made, a portion of it is donated to shelters and animal welfare.
The carrier has front and top-load access and built-in durable nylon materials. The zippers and locking clasp are built to last for years.
A soft, faux fleece bed is included and there are pockets to store treats, brushes, and other items your cat might need.
The carrier measures 18″ x 10.5″ x 11″ and is recommended for pets up to 11″ tall and 15 lbs. Large cats wouldn’t be able to fit.
The company does mention that airlines would rather have pets laying down for safety reasons, so your cat may not be able to stand much.
- Eco-friendly and ethical business
- A Portion of purchase goes to animal welfare and shelters
- Carrier is airline approve across major airlines
- Built with durable materials and a locking clasp
- Front and top-load access
- Lost and Found tag holder
- Seat belt attachment
- This is another carrier that is not recommended for large cats
- Does mention that while traveling, the cat may not be able to sit or stand up
5. PetLuv Soothing “Happy Cat” Premium Cat Carrier and Travel Crate
We saved what we think is the best for last. The PetLuv Cat Carrier and Travel Crate are actually built to reduce cat anxiety. This is probably the most versatile travel crate we’ve found.
This carrier as four access panels that your cat can use while at home or if it’s unwilling to come out in a new environment.
It also comes with a soft pillow bed it can nap on. When closed, you can choose between using the mesh windows for full ventilation or covering the windows completely to help your kitty calm down.
Safety was thought of as well. The window panels are made of a rubber mesh to prevent ripping. It has locking zippers to keep even the smartest kitties inside and a heavy-duty carry strap. Seat belt loops are attached so you can secure it in your car.
The steel frame is collapsible for easy storage and covered in a soft, durable polyester. The whole thing measures 24″ x 16″ x 16″, making this the roomiest crate we’ve found. You can fit even a large cat in here or four cats weighing under five pounds.
- Built to reduce anxiety
- Has complete access
- Mesh windows for full ventilation, sunroof, or covering to create a calming space
- Mesh is made from rubber to prevent ripping
- Locking zippers and seat belt loops to secure to your car
- Collapsible steel frame for easy storage
- Largest size can fit most medium and large cats or four small cats
- It’s “up in the air” as to whether it’s airline approved.