The Best Cat Carrier

Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel

Our Top Pick for 2016: Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $27.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

When you have cats in your home, they are not just a pet to you and your family; they are a part of your family. When you go on vacation or you simply make a trip to the vet with your pet, you will want to make sure that you have a carrier that is safe and secure. You will need a cat carrier that is easy for you to carry as well as one that is able to be secured in a car to protect your furry family member in the event of an accident, but how do you know which cat carriers are best for you and your cat? Which ones are approved by airlines? To help you find the best cat carrier, we have come up with some of the features that are important to consider before making a purchase as well as three selections that we consider top picks. We have also included a budget friendly option for your consideration.

Table of contents

Compliant With Most Airlines
Steel And Plastic Construction
Stylish And Functional Pet Carrier
Unwind & Bind Feature
2-door Carrier Design
Guaranteed On Board And Airline Approved
Removable Fleece Travel Bed
Durable Ergonomic Carry Handle
Seatbelt / Luggage Strap
Padded Shoulder Strap
Safer Pet Transport
Mesh Panels For Ventilation
Ventilated Security Screens
Inner Dimensions: 21″ X 14.75″ X 13.25″
Safely Transports Your Pet

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel

Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $27.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur first pick is a cat carrier that is loved by many critics and consumers. 50 years ago Petmate created their first pet carrier, and since then they have been devoted to manufacturing quality products that are designed to enhance the lives of pets and their parents. The Petmate pet kennel is a cat carrier that sports a hard plastic design that was build with these same principles in mind. It is constructed from extremely durable plastic that is combined with steel doors to ensure that it lasts for years.

This carrier features a two door design that gives you the option of coaxing your cat in through the front door, or if it is easier for you and your cat, you can lower them into the carrier feet first through the top door. Since this carrier is comprised of hard plastic, the top and the bottom of the carrier are connected with a bolt and wing nut combination that will ensure that your cat does not escape during travel.

This model is designed with ventilation windows on all four sides of the unit, which means that your cat will have adequate airflow to keep them cool and calm as well as a place to look out and enjoy the view. Both the top door and the front door are fitted with metal locks that need to be pressed together in order to open the door, which ensures that your cat will not be able to unsecure the locks.

The carrier is available in 19 inches, which can hold an animal up to ten pounds. It is also available in a 24 inch size that can accommodate larger pets that weigh up to 15 pounds. Both of these sizes are designed to meet the travel regulations of most airlines, but it is important to verify that it complies with the airline you plan to travel with before your flight. In addition, this carrier is roomy enough to place a bed into the base of the unit, which will give your cat a more comfortable place to relax during a long trip.

The bottom of the carrier is only available in one color, which is a color called coffee grounds. The top is available in a few more variations, which are black, metallic pearl ash blue, metallic pearl tan, metallic pearl honey rose, and pearl white. That means that you can easily choose a carrier in a color that fits your cat’s personality as well as your style. In addition, this specific carrier includes a water dish that is great for long road trips where your feline friend could get thirsty.

When it comes to the reviews of this Petmate carrier, there are over 2,000 available on Amazon. Out of the total number of reviews available, 92 percent of the users who reviewed this unit gave it a rating of at least four stars. In fact, 79 percent of them deemed it worthy of a five star rating. Many of the reviews stated how spacious the interior is for larger cats.

Here is an example of a five star testimonial: “Bought this for our huge, 22.5 lb cat who’s about 2.5 feet long (without the tail). I was concerned that the smaller pet carrier we had would be too small for a one hour trip to the vet, so I bought this. The top-loading door made it easy to put our cat into the carrier, and he had enough room in it to stand up, turn completely around, and lay down.”

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): OxGord Airline Approved Pet Carriers with Fleece Bed

OxGord Airline Approved Pet Carriers with Fleece Bed

View it on Amazon for $24.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerOur silver pick, which is the OxGord pet carrier, is a unit that is designed with a soft exterior shell that is comprised of a durable and sturdy material. This carrier is designed with breathable fabric that allows air to blow through the material and keep your pet cool. In addition, there are mesh ventilation windows on all four sides of the carrier. This ensures that your pet can easily see out and get fresh air even when they may be a little worried during travel.

This option features a functionality that is called unwind and bind that allows you to comfort your pet easily without the worry that they will jump from the carrier into a dangerous situation. To ensure that escapes do not occur, the zippers on this carrier are designed to lock together, preventing the zippers from opening during travel. In addition, the OxGord cat carrier is designed with a safety strap that is designed to secure the carrier in place in a vehicle.

This model is designed with a comfortable shoulder strap as well as a set of carrying handles that give you two comfortable methods for carrying your feline friend. This specific carrier comes with a soft, fleece travel bed for your pet to enjoy. It is a removable bedding option, so it can easily be placed in any washing machine for cleaning purposes. In addition, there are a few side compartments that are designed to carry your pet’s toys, treats, and any other needs that they may have. You can also use these pockets for your travel documents if you desire.

Since the reason you are purchasing a new carrier for your cat is most likely travel, this unit is designed to be FAA approved by most airlines. It can be purchased in two different sizes, which are medium and large to accommodate the size of your pet. In addition, this carrier is available in ten different color options, which means that you have plenty of options to accessorize with your luggage if you wish. You can also find the perfect color to fit your cat’s personality if you like. It is available in crimson red, juicy hot pink, lavender purple, mineral blue, onyx black, rose wine, sapphire blue, shamrock green, spinach green, and sunshine yellow. In addition, to back the quality and the durability of this product, the manufacturer has included a money back guarantee with the purchase of this carrier.

When it comes to reviews, there are over 2,200 on Amazon alone. In fact, 77 percent of the reviews found there were given a positive four or five star rating. Many pet parents love the fact that the fleece bedding is included with the carrier as well as the fact that it has zippers that can be locked in place and secured. Here is an example of one five star review given on Amazon: “I ordered it for my 5-7 lb kitten to take her on a long plane ride move across the country. It was perfect for her and easy for me to carry around. She got used to it for a week before the trip by basically using it as her fort and nap place.”

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Sherpa Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier

Sherpa Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier

View it on Amazon for $32.49*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardOur bronze pick, which is the Sherpa deluxe pet carrier, is another soft frame designed unit that is designed to be comfortable and safe for your pets to travel in. It features a duffle bag style design that is fitted with mesh panels that will provide your cat with plenty of ventilation during their travels. It is designed to accommodate cats that weight up to 16 pounds. The carrier is fitted with a padded shoulder strap as well as a carry handle that is designed to be comfortable to carry. To make it easier to carry all of your feline friend’s toys, treats, and other essentials, there is a side pocket that has more than enough space to accommodate your needs.

This type features a top and a front entry, which means that you will have more than one way to get your cat in and out of the unit. There is an included faux lambskin liner to give your cat added comfort during their trip. This lining is able to be removed and washed when it becomes soiled. The zippers on the carrier are designed to lock together; this ensures that the zippers will stay closed, even if your cat is clawing at it to get out of the unit. In addition, there are roll down flaps on the sides of the carrier that will allow your cat to feel safer in an enclosed environment. It will give them the privacy that they require for them to lay down and relax instead of being tense and on edge while waiting at the airport.

This model is designed to be approved by all airlines, which means that it will fit their size requirements and regulations for a carry on carrier that can fit under your seat. This unit is actually part of the guaranteed on board program, which is designed to ensure that all small and medium Sherpa carriers designed for your pet are guaranteed entry onto any airplane. If you are denied entry onto an aircraft at any time, Sherpa will guarantee that you get your money back for the flight.

A seatbelt and luggage strap makes it easy to secure this carrier in the back seat of a vehicle or on the top of a suitcase. This cat carrier is designed to accommodate different sized animals, so it is available in a small, medium, and large size. In addition, there are also a few color variations that you can choose from. The options are black, grey, brown, plum, multi-colored, and delta black.

When it comes to reviews, there are almost 3,000 testimonials available on Amazon. 89 percent of those reviews have been given positive ratings; in fact, 75 percent of them have received a five star rating. Many of the pet parents who gave reviews have expressed how great it is to transport a cat on an airplane. They love that it is a low profile unit that will fit perfectly under your seat.

Here is an example of one five star review: “I was worried about being told at the gate that my carrier would not fit under my seat, or that it was too small for my cat or something would go wrong. I was pleasantly surprised, that even on a crowded flight, and with my being 6′ 3″ that I was still able to fit my carrier under the seat and have room for my feet. The carrier also was very well made, and when the side flaps are down, with only the mesh on the front open, people never could guess that I had a 12 pound cat in my bag!”

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier

AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier

View it on Amazon for $21.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe AmazonBasics pet carrier is our ballin’ on a budget pick. It is a very durable option that is designed with a sturdy frame that is capable of keeping its shape, even though the sides of the unit are constructed of mesh paneling. These panels are designed to allow your pet adequate ventilation while traveling as well as the option to look out the mesh sides to see where they are going.

This carrier features a front opening as well as a top opening to give you multiple options for placing your cat inside the carrier or getting them out of it when the time comes. There is an ergonomic shoulder strap that is designed to help you carry your cat, but there are also handles that are designed to carry the unit by hand. These handles connect to secure the unit to the back seat of the car with the seat belt to make sure that your furry friend is safe and secure during long road trips. In addition, this carrier features double zippers, so that you can secure them together.

Even though this carrier comes at a lower price point than the other options on our list, it does not sacrifice the comfort of your pet. In fact, this unit comes with fleece bedding that can easily be removed and washed. This cat carrier only comes in black, but it is available in three different sizes, which are small, medium, and large. In addition, the purchase of this cat carrier comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer.

When it comes to the reviews of this AmazonBasics cat carrier, there are quite a few on Amazon and other similar sites. 72 percent of all of the users who purchased this carrier and gave a review deemed it worthy of a positive four or five star rating. Here is an example of a five star testimonial: “The large carrier is a great size and shape for transporting my cat. Since I’m sometimes forced to take her on a long drive (4+ hours) she needed something comfortable. It also helps that there is a zipper on top, allowing me to open the cage slightly (but not enough to let her out) and calm her down.”

Pre-purchase considerations


You want to select a cat carrier that makes your cat feel secure. When deciding which carrier is the best for you and your cat, make sure that your furry friend will be able to stand up in the carrier. This gives them the chance to stand up and stretch their legs during a trip as well as the opportunity to turn around and reposition themselves whenever they need. If you plan on traveling by plane, make sure to verify that the carrier is accepted by the airline that you plan to travel with. You may also want to consider making sure that the carrier is big enough to accommodate a food and water dish as well as some toys to keep your cat entertained on a long road trip.


There are several styles of cat carriers that you can choose from. They range from a soft exterior to a hard plastic material, and there are even cardboard options to use for smaller kittens and one time uses. Here are some of the more common styles you’ll find available:

Soft Carriers – This style of carrier is nice for short trips to the vet. They are strong and durable, but some cats are able to push their way through the zipper opening, so make sure that your cat is securely in the carrier at all times, especially when it is new to them. These carriers often sport a shoulder strap, which makes it easier for you to carry to and from the car. Soft carriers tend to be smaller than other carriers, and they are harder to clean if your cat gets sick or goes to the bathroom while they are in the carrier.

Hard Plastic Carriers – This type of carrier is a safe and secure carrier that can come apart, which makes it easier to pick up a scared cat who may want to hide in the back of carrier. You can easily snap the top on and off as needed with most hard plastic cat carriers. This feature also means that you can easily clean the bottom of the carrier if your cat makes a mess. The one downside of this type of carrier is the fact that they are tedious to carry, especially when you need to carry your cat for long distances.

Suitcase Style Carriers – This is a type of cat carrier that is a great option for someone who cannot lift or carry heavy items. You simply roll the carrier on the ground like you would a piece of luggage, but be aware that riding over the pavement and gravel may be scary for a cat, especially the first few times riding in the carrier.

Travel Friendly

Many of us travel with our cats in one way or another, so it is important to make sure that the carrier you select is appropriate for traveling. First, if you travel by car a lot, then you will want a carrier that can easily be secured by the seatbelt. Many carriers have designated straps or latches where the seatbelt can be used to secure the carrier. The next consideration to make is whether or not you will be taking your cat on an airplane. If you do plan to travel in this manner, then it is important to make sure that the carrier you select is approved by the airline you travel with. Most airline regulations take the size of the carrier into consideration. The carrier will need to completely fit under your seat during any flight.

Secure Doors

Being shoved through a door head first can be frightening for a cat, so it is a good idea to get a carrier that has multiple entryways. A top opening carrier is a less stressful option for a cat that allows them to be placed into the cage feet first. Once your cat is inside the carrier, you will want to ensure that the latches and doors are secure. Some carriers have side snaps, screws, or plastic pegs to secure the doors, while others have zippers or latches to keep the doors closed. Make sure you select a type of door that your cat cannot break through; this will ensure that they remain safe while inside of a car or an airplane.


Make sure that there is a ventilation window on at least three sides of the cat carrier you purchase. You need to make sure that plenty of fresh air is available to your cat, especially if they are frightened and breathing faster than they would in normal conditions. The ventilation also is designed to make sure that it does not get too hot inside the carrier for your cat.

Additional Features

Some cat carriers include features that are designed to make your cat more comfortable, while others are designed to entertain them while they are inside the carrier. Maybe you want a carrier that includes bedding for taking long trips where you will want your cat to have a comfortable place to sleep. Perhaps you prefer a carrier that has a toy mouse dangling from the inside to keep your cat occupied on the way to the vet. Some carriers have options that allow you to unzip the sides and lay them out to provide your pet with more space. Other carriers have wheels that allow you to simply roll your cat where they need to go. If you travel a lot with your cat, then you may want a carrier with an attached water and food bowl. In addition, if you have limited space in your home, then you may want a cat carrier that is collapsible and easy to fold up and store.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Now that you have an idea of what features to look for, do some research on your own to find the perfect carrier for your feline companion. Once you select one that is both comfortable and safe for your cat to travel in, it is important to familiarize your cat with his or her new carrier. Do not only use the carrier to take them to the vet, because this will cause your cat to fear being placed inside the carrier. Make it comfortable with bedding, toys, and treats so that it becomes a place where they will feel safe.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Pet Solutions Reviewer, PetSolutions: Top Load Kennel Cab carrier for dogs, cats, and small pets, YouTube, January 2, 2012
  2. Review Petmate Two Door Top Load 24-Inch Pet Kennel, Metallic Pearl Ash Blue and Coffee Ground Bottom, Pet Hard Side Carriers
  3. Jason Cook, Oxgord Pet Carrier Soft Sided Review, YouTube, August 23, 2013
  4. OxGord Airline Approved Pet Carriers w/ Fleece Bed For Dog & Cat – Medium, Soft Sided Kennel – 2016 Newly Designed Model, Onyx Black, Your Loving Pets, 2016
  5. Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier Review, Pet Carrier Verdict
  6. Ellen Brundige, Review: My Favorite Airline-Approved Cat Carrier, HubPages, September 14, 2014
  7. AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier – Large, Your Loving Pets

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