The Guide to Cat Carriers
A cat carrier is essential when you need to take your cat on journeys with you. This could be a quick trip to the vet, or perhaps you’re taking your cat to visit some relatives. Regardless, you need to ensure you find the best product for each situation. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we are going to cover everything you need to know about cat carriers, helping you decide which product is the best for your feline friend. We’ll analyse the different types of cat carriers, while also delivering a few extra tips to make life easier for you. So, without further ado, let’s jump into this guide!
Why is a Cat Carrier Essential for Every Cat Owner?
The main reason a cat owner needs a cat carrier is that cats can get very stressed when moving around. Especially if they are in noisy environments - like a vet’s office or a plane/train. Having their own little place to lie down will help them feel less stressed and makes it easier for them to sleep. You also protect your cat from the surroundings and ensure that it doesn’t escape and run away. There’s also the convenience factor to take into account; A cat carrier is easy for you to carry and safe for your cat.
Types of Cat Carriers
There are loads of different products on the market with different features. However, choosing the right cat carrier largely depends on your cat. For instance, you need to ensure that there’s enough space for your cat to feel comfortable. It should have enough room to curl, lie down, stand up, and move around slightly. Generally speaking, these are the most popular types of cat carriers you should consider:
Foldable Cat Carrier
A foldable cat carrier is usually hard, but it can fold away and be placed under your bed or in a cupboard with ease. This makes it very practical as you don’t have to worry about storing a large carrier in your home. Cats like this type of carrier because the rigid structure makes it easier for them to move around and get comfortable. Of course, be sure you get one that’s big enough for your cat as some can be very small.
Cat Carrier Back Packs
These products are perfect if you want to take your cat on a little walk with you. Your cat sits in a little carrier on your back or over your shoulder, so it’s easier for you to carry as well. This type of cat carrier is ideal if you’re taking them to the vet, but it lacks the space for longer journeys - like when you’re going on holiday. Cat carrier backpacks are also perfect for letting your feline friend see the outdoors without worrying about them running off and being too inquisitive!
Cat Carrier Hand Bag
These tend to be more stylish cat carriers that you can hold in your hand and keep your furry friend in. They are perhaps better suited to kittens and smaller cats, but they still provide ample room for a cat to feel comfortable. Typically, the designs feature a gap in the bag for your cat to poke its head through. This gives them fresh air and the ability to look around and see the world outside.
Soft Cat Carrier
A soft cat carrier is one that’s made from soft and comfortable materials. It’s designed to replicate your cat’s bed. Therefore, this can really help them relax and feel at ease when you’re transporting them somewhere. If you’re taking your cat to the vet - and they usually get nervous - this can help put them at ease.
Cat Carriers for Planes
You can find both soft and hard cat carriers for planes depending on your preference. The key difference between these carriers and the others is that they are airline approved cat carriers. As such, they fit the right dimensions specified by the airlines.
Getting your Cat into its Carrier
Buying a carrier for your cat is just one step in the process - you have to actually get them inside it as well! This can be easier said than done, and it does depend on your cat’s temperament. Most cats can be put inside a carrier by putting one hand on their chest and the other supporting their backside. From here, you ease them in headfirst, gently pushing on their bottom to encourage them into the carrier.
Always be sure you have a blanket inside so they don’t slip, and maybe a few treats and a toy can further encourage them to get inside. Be prepared to take a bit of time encouraging your cat in the carrier if it’s anxious or scared. But, if you fill the carrier with familiar scents and things they enjoy, it will make them feel more comfortable.
Cat Carriers for Anxious Cats
The best cat carrier for anxious cats is one with a lot of space. This is because it gives you more room to make them feel at home - and you may even be able to fit their bed inside. You should also pick a carrier that lets your cat see outside, while also giving them plenty of ventilation. If possible, finding a cat carrier that lets you open it from the top is also perfect. Again, you give your cat plenty of air without making them feel trapped.
Getting your cat out of its Carrier
Sometimes, your cat will be reluctant to come out of its carrier. Firstly, whenever you try to get your cat out, ensure that you are in a safe place. Put the carrier on the floor and open it up. One good way to coax them out is by offering a treat in your hand. Let them sniff it (and you) and they should slowly crawl out. From here, make them feel happy and safe by petting or grooming them for a bit.
If your cat simply won’t budge, you may have to carefully pick them up and lift them from the carrier. This is another reason why a cat carrier with an opening in the top is handy for more anxious cats.
Travelling with your Cat
The whole purpose of a cat carrier is to make it easier and safer for your cat to travel with you. Whether this means taking them in the car or on a plane, you need to understand how to make the experience as positive as you can for the cat.
Keeping a Cat Calm in the Car
Generally, there are three things that could help you calm your cat down when they’re in the car:
Use pheromone sprays to calm your cat and reduce anxiety - consider using a pheromone diffuser at home for the week prior to traveling.
Play with your cat before you leave and make them feel comfortable by giving them a toy in their carrier
Stay near your cat while in the car, giving them a familiar face and smell to be around
Taking your Cat on a Plane
Each airline has different requirements relating to the health and age of your cat, so check them before you fly. In Australia pets travel in the cargo hold and must be in an airline approved carrier.
You may also need paperwork and a certificate from your vet before you travel - these requirements are outlined on airline websites or pet transport specialists can also help you with information.
What to do if your Cat is too Big for its Carrier
You should never try to force a cat into a carrier that it cannot fit into. As your cat grows from a little kitten to a regular-sized cat, it may outgrow the initial carrier you bought for it. So, you may need to find a bigger cat carrier that’s suitable for your cat. Remember, look for one that’s around one and a half times the size of your feline friend!
How To Wash a Cat Carrier
Hard cat carriers are easier to clean than soft ones, and you can do so using a cleaning brush, some pet disinfectant and warm water. Scrub away at the outside and inside of the carrier using the brush and disinfectant to remove any dirt, odour and germs. Then, rinse with warm water and a sponge before drying the hard carrier with a towel or cloth.
The same process can be done for a soft cat carrier, but it will need to air dry because of the materials used. Realistically, it makes sense to give your carrier a clean after every trip.
To round everything off, it is essential that you find the best cat carrier for your cat. Consider how big your cat is, and don’t be afraid to try multiple carriers before you find one that they are comfortable with. Choose the right type depending on you and your cat’s needs, and always make sure they feel safe and comfy inside.
If you’d like more guides and advice on looking after your pets, check out our knowledge centre where you’ll find plenty of blogs like this.