Which soft-sided carrier for cats is best?

While it can be challenging to travel with cats, the right carrier makes all the difference. Soft-sided carriers for cats are lighter and easy to store, and some cats find them more comfortable and inviting than hard-sided carriers. 

Choosing a carrier that’s the right size for your cat is vital, but you’ll also want to consider factors such as ventilation as well as the number of doors. If you’re looking for a roomy carrier with a great track record, the Petseek Extra-Large Cat Carrier is ideal. 

What to know before you buy a soft-sided carrier for cats

Size

A good cat carrier should be large enough for your cat to stand, sit and turn around in. However, it shouldn’t be so large that it’s difficult to carry. Ideally, the longest side of a carrier should be roughly one-and-a-half times the length of your cat, from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. If the length of the carrier is correct, the width and height are often just right, too. 

Doors

Soft cat carriers have zippered access points, or doors, throughout the carrier. Depending on the model, they can have doors on either end, on the side and on the top of the carrier. Most have a combination of these options. 

If your cat doesn’t like going in their carrier, the more access points, the better. It will give you options to help get your cat inside. Many find it easier to put cats into their carrier through the top door. 

What to look for in a quality soft-sided carrier for cats

Ventilation

Cat carriers need plenty of ventilation to allow for proper airflow, which will ensure your cat stays comfortable. Most soft-sided cat carriers have mesh windows for ventilation on at least three sides, but the more the better. 

Handles and carry straps

In addition to carry handles, many soft carriers have shoulder straps as well. Some cat parents find it more comfortable to carry their cat on their shoulder, especially over long distances. Padded straps and handles also increase comfort while carrying your cat. 

Airline-approved

If you need a carrier to take your cat on a flight, make sure you choose one that’s airline-approved. Also, check your airline’s rules on bringing a pet on board before you make a purchase. 

Collapsible

Some carriers have collapsible frames so they take up less storage space when not in use. In some cases, carriers are tricky to collapse and erect, which can be frustrating. 

How much you can expect to spend on a soft-sided carrier for cats

The most affordable soft-sided carriers for cats cost around $20-$30, while the largest and most durable cost as much as $60-$75. This may vary depending on additional features and brand names.

Soft-sided carrier for cats FAQ

Should I cover my cat’s carrier while traveling? 

A. Covering a carrier with a blanket or sheet blocks out unfamiliar sights and dampens sounds, which can help cats feel less nervous when traveling. However, it also impedes airflow somewhat, so don’t cover carriers on long journeys or very hot days. It’s best to use a cover made from a breathable material. 

How do I make my cat comfortable in a carrier? 

A. You can make cats more comfortable in their carriers by adding blankets, small beds or crate pads. Throwing a few treats or some catnip treats works well for some cats, but others are too stressed to take much notice of them. 

How long can a cat stay in a carrier? 

A. If you’re taking your cat on a long journey, you might be wondering how long they can comfortably stay in a carrier. It’s best not to exceed four to six hours without a break, though this isn’t always possible on long flights. Talk to your veterinarian to make sure they are healthy enough for travel.

What’s the best soft-sided carrier for cats to buy?

Top soft-sided carrier for cats

Pets-Best Petseek Extra Large Cat Carrier

Petseek Extra-Large Cat Carrier 

What you need to know: Thanks to its large size, this carrier is perfect for chunky cats or two felines who don’t mind sharing space.

What you’ll love: The steel frame feels strong and sturdy. It opens on three sides and has clips that go through the zippers to keep doors from opening. You can use the buckles and loops to attach it to a seatbelt or keep it in place during travel. 

What you should consider: There’s no support in the base, so it can sag when carrying a heavy cat. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top soft-sided carrier for cats for the money

Pets-Best Henkelion Soft-Sided Cat Carrier

Henkelion Soft-Sided Cat Carrier

What you need to know: With doors on the end, side and top, you have plenty of ways to get your cat inside. 

What you’ll love: It’s well-ventilated, featuring mesh panels on most sides. The side pocket is useful for holding any feline essentials. There’s a cozy machine-washable fleece mat inside and the shoulder strap has padding for extra comfort. 

What you should consider: It could be stronger overall — nervous cats could potentially claw and damage the material. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Pets-Best PetAmi Premium Airline Approved Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

PetAmi Premium Airline Approved Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

What you need to know: This airline-approved carrier fits most airlines’ requirements for in-cabin travel. 

What you’ll love: It’s well-ventilated and has a comfortable removable fleece pad to keep your cat comfy. The door zippers have safety buckles, so they can’t come undone. There’s a zippered pocket on one side and a small side zipper for access to feed, pet or give water to your cat. 

What you should consider: It has a wire frame, which doesn’t hold its shape, as well as steel frame options.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

 

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