Struggling to choose the perfect cat carrier? Size, material and design are all important considerations.
A cat carrier is essential for any journey in your car, or indeed, any journey outside of the house with your cat. It's essential to restrain your cat whilst travelling, and a secure cat carrier should prevent escape, provide a safe space and be comfortable for your cat.
It seems straightforward but there are many poorly-designed carriers around, and very few combine all the most desirable characteristics. Here are a few of the things to consider when choosing the perfect cat carrier:
Cat carrier size
Most people buy a carrier when their cat is a kitten, but often forget that he will become considerably larger. And if it is to be used to carry two cats, it will have to be larger still. We would recommend about 34cm wide, 38cm tall, and 48cm deep (13.5 x 15 x 19in) as a good size.
Cat carrier material
Traditional wicker cat carriers can be insecure and almost impossible to clean effectively. This is important, since they are often used to transport sick cats to the vet, and even more important if they are to be loaned out on occasion. Cardboard carriers can also be risky as a strong cat will be able to break out of one, especially once the cardboard has been softened with the help of cat urine!
Plastic-coated wire is fine, particularly for the cat that does not like the sensation of being confined, although some very aggressive cats will strike out through the gaps in the wire, and they will leak if the cat soils. Rigid, heavy-duty polypropylene plastic is the most suitable material for cat carriers, as it is durable and easy to keep clean. Obviously, the perfect carrier will need plenty of ventilation holes.
The door of the cat carrier needs to be secure, yet easy to open when the need arises. It also must be strong so that the cat can't push his way through it - stainless steel is probably the ideal material. The handle needs to be easy to grasp, and in a position so that the hand holding it cannot be scratched. Even more importantly, the handle should not be attached to a part of the lid that might pull the lid open if it is not properly closed.
Cat carrier security clips
The type of clip and design of a cat carrier is important, as many cats will not come out of their carriers voluntarily, and it is much easier (and often less painful!) to be able to rapidly dismantle the carrier by removing the upper half. There are some carriers where this process is relatively simple (such as the Catit Cabrio above), but re-assembling it requires two hours and a degree in industrial engineering! Secure clips with a quick-release mechanism can very simply be used to hold the two halves of a polypropylene carrier together.