How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be. Step-By-Step Guide To Choosing The Right Carrier For Your Cat

How big should a cat carrier be? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. If you’re like me, you want nothing but the best for your feline friend.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

Choosing the right carrier can be a bit overwhelming with so many options out there. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about cat carriers. So, let’s get started!

The right size for your cat carrier should be spacious enough for your cat to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Ideally, it should be about 1.5 times larger than your cat. This ensures they have enough space to move but not so much that they slide around during transport. It’s all about striking the right balance between comfort and safety.

Choosing the right size: How big should a cat carrier be?

When choosing the right carrier for your cat, it’s essential to prioritize their comfort and safety. The right cat carrier should be spacious enough for your cat to stand, turn around, and lie down without feeling cramped.

Ideally, the carrier should be about 1.5x larger than your cat. This ensures that they have enough space to move but not so much that they slide around during transport. You might wonder why not just get an extra large carrier? Well, a carrier that is too big can cause your cat to slide around, which can be stressful and unsafe during a journey.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

On the other hand, a carrier that’s too small can make your cat feel claustrophobic and anxious. It’s a delicate balance. Think about how you’d feel if you were placed in a tight space without the ability to move freely.

Your furry friend deserves a carrier where they can feel secure but not restricted. Remember, the goal is to make the journey, whether it’s a trip to the veterinarian or a long-distance move, as less stressful as possible for your feline companion.

What are the different types of cat carriers to choose from?

When it comes to cat carriers, there are primarily two types: soft carrier and hard carrier.

Soft carriers are typically made of fabric and are lightweight. They often come with a shoulder strap, making them convenient for short trips. Many cat owners prefer soft carriers because they can be folded and stored easily when not in use. However, they might not offer as much protection as hard carriers in case of an accident.

Hard carriers, on the other hand, are made of hard plastic or wire. They are sturdy and provide excellent protection for your cat. These carriers are ideal for long-distance travels or visits to the vet. They’re also easy to clean, which is a bonus if your cat has an accident.

  • Soft Carrier Pros: Lightweight, easy to store, comfortable for the cat.
  • Soft Carrier Cons: Less protective, can be harder to clean.
  • Hard Carrier Pros: Sturdy, protective, easy to clean.
  • Hard Carrier Cons: Heavier, takes up more space.
How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

Big or small: How do you measure your cat for the right carrier size?

Measuring your cat for the right carrier size is crucial to ensure their comfort and safety during travel. Here’s a simple method to determine the best size:

  1. Length: Measure your cat from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. The carrier should be at least 1.5 times this length.
  2. Height: Have your cat sit down, and measure from the floor to the top of their head. The carrier should be tall enough for your cat to sit without their ears touching the top of the carrier.
  3. Width: Measure your cat’s shoulder width. The carrier should be at least twice this width to allow your cat to turn around comfortably.
LengthTip of nose to base of tail
HeightFloor to top of head (while sitting)
WidthShoulder width

Step-by-step guide to introducing your cat to the new carrier.

Introducing your cat to the carrier can be a challenge, especially if they’re not used to it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make the process smoother:

  1. Place the Carrier in a Familiar Area: Start by placing the carrier in a place where your cat spends a lot of time. This will allow them to get used to its presence.
  2. Add Familiar Scents: Place a blanket or towel that your cat often sleeps on inside the carrier. Familiar scents can make the carrier feel more inviting.
  3. Treats and Toys: Entice your cat to explore the carrier by placing their favorite treats or toys inside.
  4. Practice: Once your cat seems comfortable, practice closing the door for short periods. Gradually increase the time as your cat becomes more accustomed.
  5. Short Trips: Before the actual journey, take your cat on short trips inside the carrier to get them used to the motion.

Remember, patience is key. It might take some time, but with consistent effort, your cat will associate the carrier with positive experiences.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

Why is the right size carrier crucial for your cat’s comfort?

The right size carrier is not just about convenience; it’s about ensuring your cat’s well-being. A carrier that’s too small can cause your cat to feel claustrophobic, leading to increased stress and anxiety. On the other hand, a carrier that is too big can be equally problematic.

Without proper support, your cat might slide or tumble inside, especially during sudden stops or turns, which can lead to injuries.

Moreover, the right size carrier ensures proper ventilation. A cramped carrier can get stuffy, making it hard for your cat to breathe, especially during long journeys. Conversely, a carrier that’s too spacious might not retain enough warmth, making your furry friend feel cold.

What are the pros and cons of soft vs. hard carriers?

Soft carriers are often the go-to choice for many cat owners due to their lightweight nature. They’re especially handy for short trips, say, to a friend’s house or a nearby vet. The soft material can make your cat feel more at home, and they often come with mesh windows that provide good ventilation. However, they might not stand up well to a cat that likes to scratch or chew. Plus, in the event of an accident, they offer less protection than hard carriers.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

Hard carriers, typically made from hard plastic, are the heavy-duty option. They’re robust, durable, and offer excellent protection for your kitty. Whether you’re traveling long-distance or just heading to the vet, a hard carrier ensures your cat’s safety. They’re also much easier to clean than soft carriers. The downside? They can be bulkier and heavier, making them less convenient for quick trips.

How can you make the carrier feel safe for your cat?

A carrier is an unfamiliar space for many cats, and they might feel anxious or scared initially. To make the carrier feel safe, start by placing it in a familiar environment. Let your cat explore it at their own pace. You can add a blanket or towel that your cat frequently uses inside the carrier. This familiar scent can make the space feel more comforting.

Another tip is to feed your cat inside the carrier. Start with treats and gradually move to regular meals. This positive association can make your cat more accepting of the carrier. Lastly, avoid forcing your cat into the carrier. This can lead to a negative association, making future trips more challenging.

What are the essentials to keep inside the carrier?

When traveling, especially long distances, it’s crucial to ensure your cat’s comfort inside the carrier. First and foremost, a towel or blanket at the bottom of the carrier can provide added comfort and prevent your cat from sliding in the carrier. If the journey is long, consider adding small litter box inside, especially if the carrier is large enough.

For hydration and feeding, cat travel bowls are a must. They’re designed to fit inside carriers and are spill-proof. Lastly, a favorite toy or two can keep your cat entertained and provide a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar environment.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

How to transport your cat for long distances?

Transporting your cat for long distances can be a daunting task. The key is preparation. Ensure the carrier is of the right size and is comfortable for your cat. If you’re traveling by car, secure the carrier using seat belts to prevent it from moving around. Take regular breaks to let your cat stretch and use the litter box if needed.

Hydration is crucial. Ensure you have cat travel bowls filled with water and refill them as needed. If the journey is exceptionally long, consider consulting your veterinarian for additional tips and advice.

Tips for taking your cat to the vet in a carrier.

Taking your cat to the vet can be a stressful experience for both you and your feline friend. The unfamiliar environment, coupled with the anxiety of the visit, can make your cat uneasy. Using a carrier can make the trip safer and more comfortable.

Ensure the carrier is clean and has a towel or blanket at the bottom. This can provide comfort and prevent your cat from sliding around. If your cat is particularly anxious, consider using a calming spray or consult your vet for other calming solutions. Always handle the carrier with care, ensuring it’s stable and not swinging around.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

Is It Safe for Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds Like Exotic Shorthairs to Travel in a Cat Carrier?

When it comes to exotic shorthair cats and allergies, traveling in a cat carrier is generally safe. However, it’s crucial to ensure proper ventilation, cleanliness, and comfort during the journey. Taking necessary precautions, such as using hypoallergenic bedding and providing a stress-free environment, can help minimize any potential allergic reactions while traveling with your beloved exotic shorthair.

What to do if your cat becomes anxious inside the carrier?

It’s not uncommon for cats to become anxious inside a carrier. If your cat becomes restless or starts meowing excessively, it’s essential to remain calm. Yelling or getting frustrated can further stress your cat.

First, ensure the carrier is of the right size. A cramped space can make your cat feel trapped. Adding a familiar blanket or towel can provide comfort. If the anxiety persists, consider consulting your veterinarian. They might recommend calming sprays or other solutions to make the experience less stressful for your cat.

Why is my cat so resistant to entering the carrier?

Cats are creatures of habit, and anything unfamiliar can make them anxious. The carrier represents a change from their routine, leading to resistance. With patience and positive reinforcement, you can make the carrier a more welcoming space for your cat.

Can I use the same carrier for kittens and adult cats?

While you can use the same carrier, ensure it’s the right size for your cat’s current size. A kitten might feel lost in a large carrier, while an adult cat might feel cramped in a small one.

How often should I clean the carrier?

It’s essential to clean the carrier after every use, especially if there’s been an accident. Plastic carriers are easy to clean, while soft carriers might require more effort.

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be


Reflecting on our earlier discussion, choosing the right size for a cat carrier is not just about measurements; it’s about understanding your feline’s unique needs. From my extensive experience, I can’t stress enough the importance of ensuring your cat should be able to move, turn, and lay down comfortably in the carrier.

Always opt for a carrier that is 1.5 times the size of your cat. It’s a general rule that works wonders. Whether you travel with your cat frequently or just go to the vet occasionally, the best cat carrier is one that makes your cat feel safe and comfortable.

Look for features like a thick towel in the bottom or a carrier with a towel to prevent your kitten from sliding around in the carrier.

If you’re in doubt whether your cat would prefer hard plastic carriers or a softer kind of carrier, remember that cats like spaces that make them feel secure. A carrier that can accommodate food and water bowls is a bonus for longer trips.

And if you have more than one cat, ensure each has its own space. It’s always better to choose a carrier that’s a tad big rather than one that’s too small. Remember, the goal is to make every journey, whether big or small, as stress-free as possible for your beloved pet.

So, make sure the carrier you choose aligns with your cat’s needs. And if you ever find yourself in a dilemma about choosing the right carrier for your pet, always prioritize comfort and safety. I hope these insights help you make an informed decision.

For more tips and advice on ensuring the best for your feline friend, don’t hesitate to explore our other blog posts. Your cat deserves nothing but the best, and with the right knowledge, you can provide just that!

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