If there’s one purchase every cat family needs to make even before bringing home their cat, it’s a cat carrier. These portable kennels make it easy to transport your cat safely, whether that’s for a trip to the vet, a move, or a vacation.
The least expensive type of cat carrier is the cardboard carrier. Basically a cardboard box with air holes and a handle, these inexpensive boxes are satisfactory for carrying home a new kitten or for that first trip to the veterinarian’s office.
For extended use, though, you’ll want to invest in one of the more permanent carriers. These fall into two categories: hard-sided and soft-sided carriers. Both come in a variety of styles, shapes, and colors as well as price ranges.
“The main deciding factor for which pet carrier to use will depend on what type of activity or transportation the pet parent is planning,” explains Keri Baynes, assistant product manager for Petmate, a company that makes both types of carriers.
“Plastic kennels are used when traveling in motor vehicles. They are meant to be secured in your vehicle with a seat belt to help to protect you and your pet in the event of an accident. Soft-sided carriers are more often used when a pet parent is transporting a pet by walking, therefore holding the carrier. The soft-sided kennels have shoulder straps to give the pet parent more options for comfort while carrying.”
A hard-sided cat carrier has the advantage of being extremely sturdy and easy to clean. Specially designed water cups can be attached to the wire doors of many models,handy for travel or emergency evacuations.
Generally more expensive than the hard-sided carriers are the soft-sided carriers. These are a good option for those with limited storage space since many soft-sided carriers can be folded when not in use. Often the favorite of pet lovers who travel with their cats, these carriers can be a good choice for those seeking comfort for both you and your cat.
According to Diane Dellefave, creator of the Mommy Bus, a stylish soft pet carrier, “Sometimes a trip to the vet can be a stressful experience for your cat, and a softer carrier can provide them with a level of comfort and safety that might be missing from a hard crate.”
Products like the Sleepypod line combine the rigidity of the hard-sided carrier with the comfort of a soft carrier, and can double as a cat bed. This type of carrier can appeal to your cat since he’ll identify it with comfort and home rather than just a trip to the vet’s office. The Sleepypod Air is specially designed for beneath the seat air travel and includes a special pocket for a warming pad.
Whichever type of cat carrier you select, be sure to add a small toy, treat, or even a spritz of catnip spray to show your cat that this is his new home away from home.