Choosing the Right Carrier for a Nervous Cat
If traveling with your cat falls under the category of “worst idea imaginable,” it might be time to invest in a new cat carrier.
Now, nothing will have your cat jumping eagerly at the door, begging for a car ride, but choosing one of the best cat carriers for nervous cats can make any cat-accompanied trip much more enjoyable.
Don’t believe me? Reading this article might change your mind!
1. Best Overall for Nervous Cats: Amazon Basics Two Door Top Load Hard Sided Pet Travel Carrier
Two-doors, with a top entry option to making loading easier.
This cat carrier from Amazon Basics is just that-basic. Which when it comes to nervous cats, sometimes the simpler things are, the better.
This hard-sided carrier is meant to stand up to scratchers and clawers, and the front metal door will keep errant paws from causing trouble.
This carrier comes in two sizes, a 19″ and a 23″ length so that you can accommodate any size kitty. The larger carrier is convenient for placing a comfortable bed, while the smaller size may help your fraidy cat feel more confined and secure.
For cats that are more nervous with loading in a carrier, the Amazon Basics features two doors, one at the front and one on top so that you and your cat can choose which one is more comfortable.
The top door also opens to either the left or the right, again adding convenience. This carrier comes apart in the middle so that the top can be lifted off in case you have a nervous cat that doesn’t want to come out once they go in.
But don’t worry, it secures with latches and screws when you don’t want it to come apart.
Always be sure to securely latch the top door as it also serves as the carrying handle and can come open when you lift it if you’re not careful. This is especially a problem when carrying multiple kitties or cats on the heavier side.
- Easy to Use
- Two-door access
- Top door may come open when lifted
- Not as comfortable as a soft-sided carrier
2. Easiest Storage: SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier
Can accommodate pets up to 25 pounds.
This unique carrier from SportPet features a triangular shape, rather than the more common rectangle. This shape is what makes a hard-sided cat carrier foldable for more convenient storage.
The shape also makes it easier to fit on the floor of your car. While it might seem like a triangular carrier wouldn’t be as comfortable for your kitty, this one is large enough for a smaller cat to stand or sit up as well as sprawl out. This carrier can hold cats up to 25 pounds!
The SportPet Designs Foldable Cat Carrier only has one door, but that door takes up nearly all of the carrier’s side, making it large enough to load even nervous cats conveniently. There is also plenty of holes for ventilation or for your cat to see out. The plastic sides are durable to stand up to any rough and tumble as well as persistent claws.
Since this carrier can fold for storage, always be sure that the sides and door are secured before trusting your kitty inside. A cat escape issue can occur if this carrier isn’t correctly latched when reassembled.
- Easy storage
- Unique shape for more convenient stowing
- Durable plastic for easy cleanup
- Needs reassembling if folded
- Cats can escape if walls aren’t properly latched
3. Most Versatile: PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier
Adjustable seatbelt loops, locking zippers, and reinforced seams makes it a good carrier for traveling by car.”]
For cats whose nervousness makes them difficult to load, the PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Carrier offers four access options. All four sides double as doors should you need them to coax your nervous kitty in or out.
These four doors are made of rubber mesh so that this carrier feels more open for those claustrophobic or curious felines. It also has roll-down solid curtains should your cat want some privacy.
This is a soft-sided carrier, making it convenient to fold and store, as well as comfortable to carry. It comes in many different sizes, some even with wheels. The different size options will allow you to outfit your kitty with a comfortable bed to make them feel more at home.
The doors open with zippers that can be locked to block any clever escape attempts. It also comes with seatbelt loops to securely fasten your cat into any car seat to prevent rolling and tumbling while on the road.
Since this is a soft-sided carrier, it’s not meant for destructive travelers. Kitties on an escape mission should be able to tear through the rubber mesh and get away. It works best for kitties who are more afraid of the entry than actually being in the carrier.
- Provides lots of visibility or privacy
- Easy access for quick loading
- Convenient storage
- Material can be scratched or clawed
- More expensive
4. Most Private: Prefer Pets Hideaway Duffel
Privacy covers can roll down for extra privacy.
Side pocket is convenient to hold small items like snacks, medication, waste bags, etc.
If comfort, or lack thereof, is the reason for your cat’s nervousness about travel, look at the Prefer Pets Hideaway Duffel. This duffel is easy to carry, provides plenty of seclusion, and even blocks some noise.
The mesh top and sides allow for extra ventilation or can be covered with lined, roll-down curtains to block out the world.
This carrier has three doors, one at the top and one on each end, to provide quick loading and unloading access. There is a harness clip inside should you want the added security of fastening your kitty inside of the carrier.
There is also a large storage pocket located on the outside of this carrier to store treats, catnip, or other travel necessities to keep your kitty calm.
This is a soft-sided carrier, making it a risk for destructive cats. It also doesn’t have zipper locks to keep the doors securely fastened, and some persistent cats can push through the doors by unzipping the zippers. You can place your own lock on the zippers, though. It just doesn’t come equipped with them.
- Provides seclusion and privacy
- Easy to carry
- Can be unzipped
- Mesh can be clawed or scratched
5. Most Durable: Petmate Sky Kennel
Carrier meets most airline cargo specifications for easy and safe travel, but you should always confirm this with individual airlines.
Petmate Sky Kennels are designed for airline travel, so this one should solve your durability issues if your cat’s escape plan includes digging themselves to freedom.
It also features a metal door that serves as structural reinforcement, which may be necessary when traveling by plane. This door is large, making the loading game a bit less tricky.
This cat carrier also has metal screens on the sides that serve as vents or windows for those curious travelers. However, there is still ample enough room for those cats that prefer to hide behind the solid parts of the walls.
The Petmate Sky Kennel comes in a variety of sizes to get the perfect fit for whatever size your cat, or cats, may be. Larger sizes may be more comfortable and easier to load your cat into. However, smaller sizes may be easier to carry around.
When choosing a size, the measurements listed on the chart are for the outside dimensions. Keep in mind that the inside dimensions will be slightly smaller, so when in doubt, go for the bigger one. The larger sizes tend to be heavy as well, so be careful when using the carrying handle as it can break when lifting heavier kitties.
- Ready for airline travel
- Many sizes to choose from
- Sturdy and durable
- Not as comfortable as other carriers
- More expensive than other carriers
Best Cat Carrier for Nervous Cats Buying Guide
If you have a nervous kitty, having a comfortable and secure cat carrier is a must. When choosing that perfect carrier, there are several things to consider.
What Makes Cats Nervous When Traveling?
To find the best carrier for your nervous cat, you first need to understand what makes them nervous. For some kitties, their nervousness comes from being pushed into a cramped, dark, plastic box.
And who could blame them?
For kitties that dread the loading procedure, look for a cat carrier with multiple door options, especially a top door.
This allows you to set your cat down into the carrier rather than trying to push them in. Having larger and more ventilation “windows” may also help the cat carrier appear more open and shed some light on the interior, easing some cat’s apprehension.
For other cats, the nervousness isn’t in the loading; it’s in confinement. Maybe they don’t like the rough and tumble of being jostled around. Or they don’t appreciate four walls closing in on them.
This may cause them to scratch, claw, wail, or look for another means of escape. For kitties that scratch or claw, look into a hard-sided cat carrier. While they might not be as plush and comfy, they’re more durable and able to withstand some nervous slashing.
If, instead, your kitty seeks more comfort, look into a soft-sided carrier that can easily be toted. Adding a soft bed and windows/openings that can open or close (depending on whether your cat wants to look out or would prefer to be unseen), is an excellent option for comfort.
The Safety of a Cat Carrier for Nervous Cats
Your next big concern when choosing a cat carrier for your bundle of feline nerves is safety.
Safety is always a priority when traveling with your furry friend, but especially so with nervous cats. They are more likely to devise and execute escape plans. If your cat is a scratcher, you will want to get something that can withstand cat claws.
You may also want something with lockable doors. Whether they close with zippers or springs and pins, the ability to lock the doors will prove invaluable if you have a feline Houdini. You’d be surprised what a persistent kitty can do.
Many can push zippers open and pop the metal spring, especially if it isn’t closed correctly. Some cat carriers may come with locks or secondary buckles already in place, while others may provide the ability without the actual lock. Whichever the case, always backup the closing device of your cat carrier.
Whether you’re planning to fly or spending long periods in a car, the durability and sturdiness of a cat carrier may become important.
There may be a lot of jostling, packing, and stacking when you travel by airplane, so make sure your carrier can hold up. You also may want to make sure it has some stability if in a car accident.
If you choose a soft cat carrier, go with one that can be buckled in with a seatbelt. You may also choose a carrier that allows your cat’s harness to be fastened to the inside. This will prevent your kitty from busting out whether they can get the door open or not.
Other Features of Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats
Once you have your safety and loading capabilities chosen, it’s time to pick out the perks. After all, if you’re more comfortable when traveling, your cat will be as well.
You need to pick a cat carrier that will be big enough to be comfortable for your cat, but it can be awkward and heavy for you to carry. If that’s the case, consider a cat carrier with wheels. Or for soft-sided cat carriers, one with a shoulder strap. The more conveniently and comfortably you can carry your cat, the more at ease they will be.
You can also look into a cat carrier with pockets for storage of necessities like treats and leashes. Finally, look at your storage situation when the carrier’s not in use. If you’re worried about where you’ll store it for the rest of the year, think about a model that folds or can be taken apart easily.
Traveling with any cat is usually no picnic, but traveling with a nervous cat can be downright unpleasant. Choosing the best carrier for your nervous cat buddy is essential. It can help make traveling more comfortable and safer for your cat and make the loading process much easier for you.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.