As a cat owner, having a cat carrier is a necessity for travelling with your cat or taking it to the vet. A cat carrier keeps your cat safe and comfortable whilst you transport it. In the UK it is the law to have your pet restrained whilst you are driving and a cat carrier is one of the safest options you have.
In this guide we review the best cat carriers in the UK, explore the key features you should consider and run through our top tips for using a cat carrier.
What you should look for when buying a cat carrier
When buying a cat carrier, the main points you should consider are:
- Size – Make sure to pick a carrier suitable for the size and weight of your cat. Consider an expandable cat carrier if you will use it regularly in the car.
- Soft or Hard – Hard carriers are more durable, but soft can be easier to manoeuvre and more comfortable for your cat.
- Do you plan to fly with it? If so, make sure to get an airline approved carrier
- Is your cat nervous? If so, consider how easy it is to get your cat into the carrier and the different access points you have without opening the door.
- Features – Look for added features like food bowls and cleaning gutters that will be more comfortable for your cat during travel.
Best Cat Carrier Reviews
With so many to choose from, we have researched and reviewed the top cat carriers in the UK.
1. Catit Design Cat Cabrio Carrier
If you’re looking for a hard carrier there is no need to look further than the Catit Cabrio Carrier. We have used this cat carrier with our cats for years, and in our opinion it is the best by far. The carrier is airline approved and tops our list on design and functions making it our best hard cat carrier.
The carrier has a unique design that allows you to open both the roof and the door of the carrier to make it easily accessible when placing your cat inside (as shown in our images below). The door on the carrier has two cat bowls built into it which you can easily slide in and out without having to open the door of the carrier (image 4,5 and 6 below).
The base of the carrier is skid resistant and has a gutter which collects any accidents that happen whilst you travel (as shown in image 4). When driving, the carrier is easily secured using a standard car seat belt through the handle on the top of the carrier. The carrier has an integrated handle making it sturdy to carry and easy to keep balanced, whilst you can clip on a strap to carry it over your shoulder. There is a clear window in the door of the carrier that makes it great for cats to see what is happening without looking through a caged front.
We are yet to find a carrier that is as easy to use, spacious and comfortable for our cats. The cherry on the top is the price – it is excellent value for money and it comes in a range of colours (orange, pink, red, turquoise, grey and blue grey) to suit all tastes. It is suitable for cats up to 11.3kg in weight, and 35cm in height.
- Interchangeable food bowls that can be replaced without opening the door
- Grilled door and open vents that offer complete ventilation at all times.
- Top opening hatch that makes life simpler when putting your pet in the carrier and when taking them out
- Shoulder strap for easy carrying
- Skid-resistant textured floor
- Designed to be secured in your vehicle with a standard seatbelt
- It measures 51cm Long x 33cm Wide x 35cm High
2. Siivton Pet Carrier for Cat
The Siivton pet carrier is a great option if you’re looking for a spacious expandable carrier. The carrier itself comes with two entries (front and roof) and plenty of mesh windows for ventilation and for your cat to look out of. This carrier is our favourite soft carrier and also the best large cat carrier on the market.
Whilst zipped up, this carrier is a compact and easy to transport. When expanded (simply unzip the sides), this becomes one of the biggest carriers on the market. When travelling in the car, this carrier can be expanded and attached to the car (using a seat belt or leash) to give your cat a comfortable space to relax whilst on the move.
The carrier is suitable for cats weighing up to 14 pounds, or 18 inches in length and 10 inches in height. You can carry this carrier over your shoulder or using the holdall handle. It comes with a fleece pad that is removable and machine washable to keep your cat snug whilst travelling.
The carry is airline approved and can be attached to a rollable suitcase to make it a great carrier when travelling.
- Best cat carrier for large cats
- Airline approved
- Suitable for cats weighing up to 14 pounds
- Measures 18 inches x 11 inches x 11 inches in size (38x30x11 inches when expanded)
- Tough structural support
3. DADYPET Pet Carrier
The DADYPET pet carrier is another great option if you’re looking for a fabric cat carrier. It is slightly smaller than the Siivton carrier, but it is lightweight and can be carried as a holdall / handbag or a single shoulder bag making it versatile and comfortable to carry.
This soft cat carrier has an expandable side, that when open will increase the size of the bag by 65%. The removable fleece pet bed is machine washable and made to a high standard. The bag has great ventilation and is made of quality Oxford material.
The carrier has two handy pockets on the front to store any treats or essentials whilst traveling with your cat. The carrier fits perfectly on a car seat, or under an airline seat making it a great option for a frequent traveller.
- Removable fleece mat to keep your cat warm and comfortable
- Suitable for pets up to 39cm long and 22.8cm tall
- Suitable for cats weighing up to 15 pounds
- It measures 44.5cm Long x 44.5cm Wide x 28cm High when expanded
4. Morpilot Pet Carrier Bag
The Morpilot portable cat carrier is a great option for a simple but effective soft cat carrier. The bag is soft, but keeps its structure through a support board in the base. The bag itself is made of durable polyester and fine mesh, with a soft fluffy machine washable cushion in the base to keep your cat warm and comfortable.
The carrier comes in two sizes, medium and large, which are suitable for cats up to 20lbs. It measures 34cm high x 31cm wide x 44cm long, and comes with a collapsible food bowl that can be attached to the bag whilst you are travelling.
The main thing we like about this carrier is that it has great ventilation, and also that it has two entry points. You can either insert your cat through the door at the front or the flap on the top. It is great quality, has excellent reviews, and is a great value option for a simple carrier to use for transporting your cat to and from the vet.
- It measures 34cm high x 31cm wide x 44cm long
- Front and Roof entry
- Comes with a soft fluffy cushion
- Strap can be attached in two position for side carrying
5. Curver Cat Carrier
The Curver cat carrier has a unique design with a top opening flap. The carrier resembles a basket and is made of plastic that makes it an excellent option for destructive cats. The carrier is well ventilated, and has a solid base making it practical if your cat has an accident on your travels.
The carrier has a high quality build quality and is comfortable to carry. The carrier has a small feeding flap that you can open to give your cats treats without giving them access to escape.
We love this carrier for the simple access flap at the top. It is a great alternative to the traditional hard cat carriers, and has a high quality build quality.
- Unique design with a large entrance flap and smaller access flaps
- Excellent ventilation
- Practical for destructive cats or cat accidents
- Solid base with no holes
- It measures 53cm Long x 37cm Wide x 33cm High
6. PET MAGASIN Hard Cover Collapsible Cat Carrier
This cat carrier is a great option if you need a space saver. The carrier collapses into a small package that can fit into most draws, shelves or cupboards. The top and bottom can be detached for easy cleaning and storage.
The carrier itself has a hard base and roof, whilst the sides are foldable. The door is made of a mesh and the sides are all well ventilated for your cat. The carrier is lightweight (it weighs approximately 1kg) making it a great option for walking with.
The carrier is suitable for medium sized cats, and with an added blanket, is perfectly snug for travel.
- It measures 17 inches Long x 13 inches High x 14 inches Wide
- It has a hard base suitable for collecting any accidents your cat may have
- Collapsible carrier (the sides fold down to create a compact package
- A padded mat in the base for comfort
7. Kerbl Transport Box Expedion
The Kerbl Transport Box is our best cheap cat carrier. As the cheapest on the list, this no frills cat carrier does a great job for transporting your cat to and from the vets. Coming in three colours and two sizes the carrier is flexible to fit most cats.
The carrier is made of high grade plastic making it sturdy and durable. The carrier has plenty of ventilation holes, and the grated door has gaps large enough to feed your cat treats as you travel. The base of the carrier is solid, making it very practical for containing any accidents your cat may have. The door is closed with plastic clips – but be careful as these can snap if too much force is applied.
It comes with an attachment to be used with safety belts in your car. Overall this carrier offers great value for money.
- Suitable for medium sized cats
- Has a solid plastic base to collect any accidents your cat may have
- It measures 45cm Long x 30cm Wide x 30cm Long
Is a hard or soft cat carrier better?
This largely comes down to the temperament of your cat. If you have a nervous or anxious cat a hard carrier is often better to withstand any potential scratching or clawing. A more placid cat will likely prefer a soft carrier (including expandable ones) that are comfortable and more spacious than hard carriers.
We find the best carriers for nervous or difficult cats are hard carriers, like the Catit carrier that we recommend in our reviews.
Can I put two cats in one carrier?
We wouldn’t recommend putting two cats in a single carrier. When travelling, your carrier will move around and become unbalanced, where cats may bump into each other. Not recommended – when travelling they will move around and may become unbalanced – We advise buying two
How long can my cat stay in a carrier?
Cats can stay in carriers for quite a few hours. If you are planning to keep your cat in a carrier for anything longer than a couple of hours, you should schedule breaks to allow them to stretch their legs and top up on food and drink.
If going on longer journeys we tend to leave our cats in a cat harness, and simply clip on a lead to take them out of the carrier for exercise and food. We find this a lot kinder than keeping our cat in the carrier whilst we top up their food.
Should you cover a cat carrier?
It is fine to cover your cat carrier. You may find that some anxious or nervous cats will prefer to have the carrier covered as they feel safer.
If you are unsure, you can try covering your carrier to see how your cat reacts.
What are the cat carrier guidelines for airline travel?
Guidelines vary from airline to airline so it is best to check with them before booking.
In general, airlines specify that your cat and carrier (combined) must weigh less than a specified weight (normally between 6-9kg). Before buying, get your cat weighed (or use your most recent weight) to find the maximum weight your carrier can weigh. Most carriers are lightweight (some less than 1kg) so finding a light carrier should be easy.
If you are planning to take a cat carrier on a flight with you, most airlines specify that the carrier must:
- Have a waterproof base
- Have suitable ventilation to ensure your cat gets fresh air flow
- It must be fully secured – ideally by zips
- It must fully enclose your pet – you are not allowed to have any part of your cat outside of the carrier.
For your comfort, you should look for a carrier that would fit comfortably under a normal airline seat, but normally airlines don’t have specific size requirements.
Tips for using a carrier with a nervous cat
Using a cat carrier with a nervous or difficult cat can be stressful and distressing for cat owners. Over the years we have had our fair share of difficult cats, and have shared some of our top tips below to help you.
- If you have a nervous cat, we prefer to use a hard cat carrier to prevent them from escaping and to keep them secure.
- When your carrier arrives – place it next to your cats favourite sleep spot, or near to where they eat their food. Let your cat inspect it for a few days before you need to use it
- Add used blankets or bedding to the carrier to help comfort them
- If your cat reacts well to catnip, use it to help calm your cat whilst they are in it
- If your cat won’t get into the carrier on its own, pick up your cat and place them into the carrier very swiftly and close it quickly.
- Once in, don’t open the carrier again until your cat needs to come out. It may be crying or distressed, but once opened, your cat will try to escape.
- Utilise cat carriers that have unique entry options – it can be easier to place your cat into a roof window rather than into a traditional door
Our top travel tips for cleaning up spills and accidents
If you are travelling with your cat, it will be inevitable that your cat will have an accident or sickness. To help you when this happens, you should ensure:
- You take wet wipes to help you clean up any accidents
- Take plenty of bags or nappy sacks to put any rubbish
- Use puppy pads to line the base of your carrier to help mop up any liquids
- Carry a small carrier bag full of cat litter that can help to soak up liquids
- Take some spare blankets as backup if their bed gets wet
- Take plenty of treats! We often leave these in the handy pockets on the side of our carrier.