The 6 Best Cat Carriers for Long Car Trips

We take reviews seriously. This article has product links we may be compensated for as an affiliate, at no extra cost to you.

The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed & Carrier is the best cat carrier for long car trips because it’s secure yet comfortable, inspires calmness in my cat, and make me feel confident driving with it.

Best Overall
Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed & Carrier
  • Crash tested and certified by the Center for Pet Safety
  • Dedicated seat belt loops
  • Unique and tasteful look
  • High end build quality
  • Top entry for easy access
  • Use as a cat bed, carrier, and cat seat

My cat is lukewarm to travel because she flew from her breeder to me as a kitten. So I know all about looking for the perfect carriers that will not stress out your cat.

Photo via Rob Marquardt (CC BY 2.0)

But the best one for my cat may not be the best for you, which is why I selected other great models from other categories. Then at the end, a complete buyer’s guide.

There are the products we review in this article:

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed & Carrier

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed & Carrier

  • Carrier Type: Soft sided carrier
  • Why It Works for Cars: Crash tested + certified, seat belt attachment, airy and comfortable
  • Nylon, Polyester construction
Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier

Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier

  • Carrier Type: Soft sided
  • Why It Works for Cars: Seat belt attachment, high visibility & ventilation
  • Polyester, Mesh, Fleece, Synthetic Fabric construction
Petsfit 2 Sides Expandable Carrier

Petsfit 2 Sides Expandable Carrier

  • Carrier Type: Soft sided
  • Why It Works for Cars: Expands in back seat, zips up when transporting
  • Polyester, Oxford cloth construction
SPORT PET Car Kennel

SPORT PET Car Kennel

  • Carrier Type: Soft sided carrier, Kennel
  • Why It Works for Cars: Roomy, metal entry gates, headrest attachment
  • Plastic, metal, fabric construction
One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter

One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter

  • Carrier Type: Soft carrier, Kennel
  • Why It Works for Cars: Roomy, seat belt attachment, flexible configuration
  • Polyester construction
Petmate Two Door Top Load

Petmate Two Door Top Load

  • Carrier Type: Hard sided
  • Why It Works for Cars: Extra secure, easy to clean, wire mesh door
  • Plastic, Stainless Steel, Metal construction

The Best Cat Carrier for Long Car Trips (Soft)

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed & Carrier
  • Crash tested and certified by the Center for Pet Safety
  • Dedicated seat belt loops
  • Unique and tasteful look
  • High end build quality
  • Top entry for easy access
  • Use as a cat bed, carrier, and cat seat

Our overall soft winner and best cat carrier for long car trips is this versatile model that checks every box and looks great too.

Cats develop aversions to carriers because they are carriers, only associated with vet visits and other unpleasantness. The Sleepypod functions as your cat’s regular bed, their carrier when it’s zipped up, and their car seat when secured to seatbelt loops.

But this flexibility is not the reason it’s the winner. So why is it the winner? In a word – safety.

This carrier is designed to provide optimum safety and comfort using crash test research! Few other carriers or companies do this. Sleepypod actually crash tests its carriers (static material tensile testing and dynamic crash testing) at NHTSA contracted facilities.

But beyond being a safe carrier, the Sleepypod features durable construction and an easy top-entry design. The outside is made from luggage-grade nylon, which makes it easy to clean and maintain.

With a removable, yet secure, mesh dome, your pet will feel cozy without losing ventilation. Zip the domed cover off at home to help your cat acclimate itself to the carrier before a long trip. This is one carrier/bed you leave out all year.

The inside features plush bedding. It’s removable and machine-washable, so you can provide your cat with a comfortable spot at home or on the go. It also features a water-repellant cover in case of travel accidents.

For car trips, the Sleepypod carrier can be secured to the seat using hook and loop points that pair with your car’s seat belt.

And once you get to the destination, simply grab the padded carry handle, and safely transport your cat out of the car to a secure environment.

Overall a fantastic and safest carrier on this list with one obvious negative – the price.

The Sleepypod is available in 6 fresh colors and mini and medium sizes.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 10/10
  • Comfort 10/10
  • Accessibility 10/10
  • Style 10/10
  • Price 6/10
  • Overall Rating 9.2

What We Liked:

  • Crash tested
  • Dedicated seat belt attachments
  • High quality materials inside and out
  • 2 sizes to fit any sized cat
  • Water-resistant liner
  • Easy carrying handle and adjustable shoulder strap

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Not suited for air travel

Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Pet Carrier
  • Stylish, comfortable, and practical cat "dufflebag"
  • Secures to your car's seat belt, with locking zippers
  • Big, well-ventilated mesh windows provide good visibility

Our runner up is this ultra stylish, comfortable, and practical cat dufflebag.

The Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Pet Carrier meets airline requirements, and more importantly, can secure to your car’s seat belt. So it’s perfect for international flights or a long drive to the city.

This is a lightweight option that also keeps its structure. Its design has a spring wire frame that makes the body of the carrier pliable yet firm. And when holding the carrier, you don’t feel like its shape is going to collapse, even with cats the size of Maine Coons!

Your cat can enter from the side or simply be dropped in from top. For security, the zippers in those places lock. But, your cat is always close to you through the large, well-ventilated mesh windows that provide good visibility.

In addition to being ergonomic, this carrier is easy to move around with help from a non-slip carrying strap that rests nicely on the shoulder.

You can easily reach into the little storage pocket on the side to grab your cat documents or gear with one one hand.

Lastly, you can also pull out the interior faux-lambskin liner and pop it in the washing machine. It comes available in many tasteful colors and small, medium, and large sizes.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 7/10
  • Comfort 10/10
  • Accessibility 10/10
  • Style 9/10
  • Price 9/10
  • Overall Rating 9

What We Liked:

  • Stylish
  • Top and side entry
  • Lightweight
  • Seat belt strap secures to seat
  • Maintains its shape while being pliable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Odors may linger in material

Also Great Carrier for Long Distance Travel (Soft)

Petsfit 2 Sides Expandable Carrier
  • For those unsure how much visibility and privacy your cat wants
  • Has unique side pockets that can fold out and expand the space
  • High-quality locking zippers with two shoulder straps for ergonomics

The Petsfit 2 Sides Expandable Carrier is a quality, feature-packed carrier that is best for cat parents unsure of how much visibility and privacy your cat wants.

As our third best cat carrier for long car trips, this soft model has unique side pockets that stick out like little mesh balconies, that allow you to customize the way you use this carrier.

When you’re walking to or from your cat with your cat, everything can stay zipped up and private. However, you can fold out the expanded mesh compartments once you are in the comfort of your vehicle and give your cat a taste of the road.

This carrier also earns points for its really firm and soft exterior made from Oxford cloth. The Oxford material actually gives this carrier a really preppy, sporty look that’s unique among pet carriers.

I also like the security of high-quality locking zippers, and that there are two handles shoulder strap for good ergonomics. It’s also got entrances on the top and front so entry is stress-free for Kitty.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 7/10
  • Comfort 10/10
  • Accessibility 10/10
  • Style 8/10
  • Price 8/10
  • Overall Rating 9

What We Liked:

  • Customizable and expandable depending on circumstance
  • Shoulder strap and handles
  • Stylish.
  • Top and front entry
  • Self-locking zippers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • No attachment for seat belt

Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel (Backseat Style)

SPORT PET Car Kennel
  • For cats fine with car rides and wanting real comfort
  • Rectangle design create a travel tube across your entire backseat
  • Has secure metal entry gates, but fabric inside is not clawproof

If your cat is fine with car rides and you want maximum comfort for them in the backseat, the SPORT PET Car Kennel is for you.

And it’s perfect for cars: using a unique rectangle tube design, this carrier easily secures to the rear seat to create a travel tube across the entire backseat area.

It attaches to the head rest and can be looped in with seatbelts for overall safety!

While this carrier system is made from secure, claw-proof fabric, it’s not meant to take abuse from difficult cats. Entry gates are metal, however and pretty much escape proof. The fabric is very well vented and cozy.

With the large size, this is also one of the best cat carrier for long distance travel with a litter box! Just add some blankets, a travel litter box, and your cat is set for a cross-country move (with ample breaks of course).

When the trip is over, the SPORT PET Car Kennel collapses accordion-style into a compact square for storage.

Note that you will need to use a separate carrier to transport Fluffy from your home to this kennel. This product’s bottom is quite soft and not load bearing, it’s only to be used in the car.

This kennel comes in a large 45-inch or smaller 31-inch carrier option.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 7/10
  • Comfort 10/10
  • Accessibility 8/10
  • Style 8/10
  • Price 8/10
  • Overall Rating 8.2

What We Liked:

  • Extra safe, attachment to the back seat headrests and seat belt
  • Metal mesh entry gates
  • Super roomy and lightweight
  • Very breathable
  • Folds easily for compact storage
  • 2 sizes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can’t be used as a regular soft carrier to and from your car

Best Cat Carrier for Two Cats on Long Car Trips

One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter
  • Let your cats recharge alone or have companionship on a long trip
  • Complete transportation system with built-in seatbelt attachments
  • Well ventilated and has multiple entrances

Personally, I consider it cruel to squeeze two cats (or more) into a single carrier on long road trips. Not only would space be an issue, it probably would cause mental distress because cats are not social animals all the time.

Luckily, we have options like this beautiful double-pet model, our best cat carrier for two cats on long car trips! This ensure that your cats can enjoy a little company on the road without feeling claustrophobic.

Unlike to the above PET SPORT Kennel, this is more than a carrier, it’s complete transportation system. You can transport your cats from your house to the car using the top handle. You then secure it via built-in straps to seatbelts and it’s ready to go.

Functionally, the One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter is well ventilated, offers multiple entrances, and includes washable mats. Your cats will be plenty comfortable and visible via the breathable mesh.

And during the trip, you can turn the two compartments into one large area for some cat social time by unzipping the central zipper. Let them be with each other for a bit, and if needed, you can zip it back up again for alone time.

After the trip, the kennel easily folds up into a carrying case. Or just leave it up and out, since many cats will prefer being in it, and it works as a spacious kitty condo as well!

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 9/10
  • Comfort 10/10
  • Accessibility 10/10
  • Style 10/10
  • Price 7/10
  • Overall Rating 9.2

What We Liked:

  • Secures to the length of your back seat
  • Removable divider wall for social time and private time, 3 configurations
  • Very lightweight for the size
  • Makes a great cat condo
  • Comes with removable pads

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Cost

Best Cat Carrier for Long Car Trips (Hard)

Petmate Two Door Top Load
  • Affordable hard sided carrier for cats who might bite and scratch
  • Extra secure with a steel mesh entry door
  • Sides and back ventilated but obscured for privacy

The Petmate Two Door Top Load carrier is the overall best cat carrier for long road trips in the hard category due to its easy to use nature, affordability, and security.

True to the top load in its name, you pop the top door and simply drop in your kitty if the front gate a no-go. That way you don’t force and push her in.

That door, by the way, squeezes open using a really ergonomic setup with the latch and handle. It’s also made of steel mesh to withstand scratches and bites.

This carrier is made of hard plastic, and you secure the top and bottom halves together with screws for extra durability.

I also like the way this carrier provides a nice mix of ventilation and coverage. If your cat likes privacy, they’ll dig the way the sides and back are covered. That means that your cat can look out the front “window” without feeling frazzled by exposure at all sides.

This crate-style carrier comes in 2 sizes and is sturdy enough cats up to 20 pounds, but can seem a little too snug if your cat is extra fluffy.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 10/10
  • Comfort 7/10
  • Accessibility 8/10
  • Style 8/10
  • Price 10/10
  • Overall Rating 8.6

What We Liked:

  • Top loading
  • Wire mesh door and secure hard plastic construction
  • Made in the USA
  • Fun and vibrant colors
  • Easy to open, close and latch.
  • Compact

What We Didn’t Like:

  • For small to medium sized cats only
  • Need to add blanket or mat for hard floor

Best Cat Carrier for Long Car Trips (Runner Up Hard)

Amazon Basics 2-Door Top Load Cat Carrier
  • Affordable & popular hard carrier, inspired by the Petmate
  • Extra safe with a metal entry, top and bottom secured with latches and/or screws
  • Convenient top entry opens to left or right

This is a great hard carrier that provides a practical, affordable experience (if not a little familiar). The Amazon 2 Door Top Load is obviously inspired by the Petmate Top Load, and performs just like it.

This carrier has doors and latches that are super easy to open, close, and secure. You can even open the top one-handed. Which handed? Doesn’t matter because the top entry opens two ways!

The top handle feels secure vs other carriers.

This carrier is more vented than others hard carriers, with little windows in every direction. Another big bonus of this carrier is that the top and door is removed easily to leave you with a cute cat bed for use at your destination.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Car Safety 10/10
  • Comfort 7/10
  • Accessibility 8/10
  • Style 8/10
  • Price 10/10
  • Overall Rating 8.6

What We Liked:

  • Sturdy and build-quality
  • Steel wire 2-way opening door
  • Easy open latch
  • Tons of ventilation
  • Comfortable handle

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Need to add blanket or mat for hard floor

Looking for the Best Cat Carrier for Long Distance Car Travel with a Litter Box?

The best cat carrier for long distance car travel with a litter box available on the market is the Necoichi Portable Stress Free Cat Carrier, it comes with a foldable pop-up litter box.

It is large and comfortable enough for cross country trips, with mesh sides to promote airflow, and has a waterproof liner in case of accidents! You can secure it to seatbelts for safety too.

The included litter box is a good size with high sides and works for normal sized cats. After use, it folds up small and snaps tight.

After you are done traveling, you have the option of folding it up and putting it away.

Add a Disposable Litter Box for Large Cats

For large cats, I recommend buying Kitty’s Wonderbox Disposable Litter Box.

They are bigger than the included pop-up litter boxes, and they’ll fit in roomy cat transportation tube like the Petego Pet Tube Kennel or One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter.

The PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier – What Do I Think?

The PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier is an extremely popular soft collapsible carrier and it deserves its reputation!

We love this carrier because of the frame’s quality construction, flexible privacy features, and thoughtful elements like locking zippers and a thick shoulder strap for you.

Its four large windows offer three different privacy configurations. You can roll up the windows completely, leaving your cat open air.

Or leave the mesh screen down to let them see the environment. And if your cat’s excitable or in a place where privacy is required, roll down the flaps so the carrier is fully closed.

An included plush pillow inside carrier calms any cat, and you can even secure it to seat belt loops for car travel. After finished with the trip, fold the carrier and put it away!

What Are the Best Cat Carriers for Car Travel?

All of my picks above can be the best cat carrier for car travel for your cat. I’m really partial to the Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe because of everything I wrote above.

Long car trips can be more challenging than short ones, so of course any of my best picks can work!

How to Travel Long Distances with Cats in a Car

Photo via

On the road, it’s wise to stop every two hours to give your cat a break. Take them outside on a leash, if they are trained to do so and let them stretch their legs!

A good journey with your cat begins even before the carrier. It starts with your mindfulness of your pet’s needs. It’s important to remember that a good cat carrier isn’t a substitute for proper cat-friendly traveling practices.

A car should also offer comfortable temperatures with opportunities for ventilation. Do use a window shade if you’ll be driving in direct sunlight for long hours.

Road Trip With Your Cat – Choosing the Best Cat Carrier for Long Car Trips

Now let’s talk about selecting the best car carriers for long car trips. What is the safest one for your cat? It’s highly dependent on your cat and you, so don’t skip this part.

The Best Cat Carrier for Long Car Trips – Hard or Soft?

The temperament of your road kitty indicates whether the best cat carrier for long car trips is hard or soft. My Maine Coon is pretty chill once inside the carrier, so a soft one will do.

Soft carriers are definitely more comfortable for your cat and can do things like fold flat, carry documents, and be easier to secure to car seats.

Visibility tends to be better with too, since you can see through mesh. This goes both ways – you want to be able to make sure your cat is looking good with just a quick glance when you’re driving.

For difficult cats who bites or scratches his carrier, then a hard plastic one takes abuse better and is ultimately more secure. The best hard models have plenty of ventilation and have multiple entrances for easy access.

Hard carriers are easy to clean if your car has accident. And in case of a driving accident, a hard carrier would probably be safer, but there’s no real way to definitively tell.

Size of Best Cat Carriers for Long Distance Travel

You know how cats love a snug, tight space when relaxing at home? They also prefer that same type of security on the road. Don’t get a carrier so large that your cat slides around whenever the car made a sharp turn or pivot.

The best cat carrier for long distance travel is about 1.5 times the size of your cat. Just make sure there’s enough room for your cat to spread out and turn around fully. Sometime, you want room to fit water and food in there too.

Buckle Up

You buckle up, right? Your cat should too. The safest cat carriers on long distance travel can be secured to seat belts via straps or similar mechanism.

If that’s not a feature in your pick, just make sure that your carrier is firmly placed in the back seat. Don’t put your cat at risk by letting their carrier slide around loosely in the front seat or car floor.


You also need to make sure that your carrier has enough ventilation. Cars are stuffy enough as it is without being inside a carrier. This is one area where soft carriers have hard carriers beat.

Though many hard carriers now have vents on all sides now except the floor. Hard carriers with a top entrance also let in more air and light from the ceiling too, kind of like a cat skylight.

But do keep in mind not all cats want this extra light sensory input. So if your cat is excitable and you’re in an intense place, you can place a towel on the carrier to block visibility to keep them calm.

How Do I Keep My Cat Calm When Traveling?

During this whole process, have you ever asked yourself, how do I keep my cat calm when traveling? Traveling can be stressful for humans but imagine it from a cat’s perspective.

Your cat probably does not understand why you are going somewhere or how long it will take. Depending on their personality, you might need to find some creative ways to keep them calm and unbothered by the stress of traveling.

You can be traveling by plane, car, or train, and it will be a scary and uncertain situation for a cat. They may hear loud noises, be bumped around, and must stay in a confined space for a length of time.

Take care to make the experience as free of stress as possible with these easy, commonsense tips.

1. Find the Right Carrier

Pick out a carrier that makes sense for your cat’s personality and the type of travel. Will your cat prefer a soft or hard carrier? A very anxious cat might claw or bite at a soft-sided carrier. If your cat needs more security then a classic, hard-sided model might be the right cat carrier for car travel.

2. No Breakfast

The day you are set to travel, it is recommended to not provide your cat with their normal breakfast. Nausea and vomiting are caused by anxiety and stress and can be exacerbated by a heavy breakfast.

Give them a nice meal when you get to your destination.

3. Use Pheromones

Calming pheromone treatments are an easy, natural option to help keep a cat calm. There are both sprays and calming collars that release pheromones that mimic your cat’s natural pheromones.

4. Maintain a Comfortable Temperature

If traveling by car, remember to always maintain a nice temperature inside.

If you have gone to the trouble of getting your cat to feel safe and at home in their carrier, you do not want them overheating or becoming too cold. They will begin to associate the carrier with an uncomfortable situation.

5. Secure the Carrier

Do not place the carrier in a precarious spot. If traveling in a car, place it securely on the floor or on a seat where it cannot slide. You do not want your cat to receive injuries due to sudden stops.

6. Pay Attention to Your Driving

Drive slowly and smoothly to prevent bumping your cat around in their carrier. The less tumultuous the trip, the happier your cat will be by the end.

7. Try a Thundershirt or Weighted Blanket

Thundershirts or weighted blankets can help manifest the release of endorphins. These items can replicate the feeling an animal gets when they receive a hug from its owner.

If your cat is very touch-oriented, a Thundershirt might be an excellent choice to keep them calm when they cannot be sitting with you.

8. Stay Close to Your Cat

If possible, pick a spot to place your cat’s carrier where they can always see you. You do not want them to feel alone in an unfamiliar setting. Sometimes cats may begin to exhibit separation anxiety when placed in uncertain situations.

9. Talk to Your Cat

When your cat starts talking to you, respond! Many cats start to get vocal when they get anxious, so your job is to mitigate the source of the anxiety.

Talking to my cat, Chelle, when we are traveling helps let her know that I am still there. She recognizes the sound of my voice, which is soothing to her.

Is There Anything I Can Give My Cat To Keep Her Calm?

If you are worried about a long trip or feel that your cat needs something to physically calm them down, consider some type of sedative.


A proper sedative is a kind of medication you need to request from a veterinarian. Your cat’s veterinarian may offer sedatives to you if you let them know that you are traveling with your pet. If they feel like a sedative is not a safe option, they will make sure to let you know.

Natural Sedatives

If you do not want to mess around with veterinarian-prescribed sedatives, consider a natural form. Plants and herbs like catnip, valerian, passion flower, chamomile, and ginger all have a calming effect on cats. Always do a test run at home to make sure the natural alternatives aren’t toxic or actually turn your cat hyper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest cat carrier for car travel?

The safest cat carriers will always have a few of these essential features. If a carrier does not have them, then consider another one.


If safety is your main concern, a hard-sided carrier is the ideal. While a soft-sided carrier might be more comfortable and lighter, it does not offer the same protection.

Hard sides indicate a sturdier, more durable construction. There is typically little to no fabric used, which means it will not wear easily. Fabric is also more prone to damage from claws and sharp, little teeth. A hard-sided carrier will last longer.

Less fabric means less zippers, too. Zippers can break or stick, making it difficult to get a cat in or out. =A hard shell in a hard carrier is also safer in case of a car accident.

Hard carriers are more escape proof, which means your cat cannot bite or claw their way out of them. At the same time, there are usually more than one door, so getting your furry friend in or out is easier, especially if they are squirming.

Designed with Safety in Mind

Look for important safety features when shopping around at cat carriers. The best cat carriers for car travel on the market will include these essential features.

A well-designed carrier will come with seat belt loops. These loops can be used to secure the carrier to the seat. In case of an accident or sudden stop, the carrier will stay in place.

Metallic mesh gates are a great addition, especially for a comfortable carrier. Mesh allows for ventilation and breathability for your cat. Plus, mesh gates that have secure closures.

A leash attachment makes it easier to travel in the car with a cat. You can open the carrier door at stops without worrying about them running off.

Also check for crash testing. Some cat carriers are designed to perform very well during stressful situations. For example, the Sleepypod carrier went through multiple tests. It boasts many accidents that resulted in no injuries where their carrier was used.

Appropriate Size

A cat carrier used during car travel is typically slightly larger than one you would buy for another purpose. A large size is necessary if you anticipate having your cat spend plenty of time in it.

However, make sure it is not so big that your cat slides around. Depending on the size of your cat, they should feel snug but able to turn and move.


Good ventilation will keep your cat happy and healthy. If your carrier is not well-ventilated, you can risk injury to your animal during long trips. Sometimes the carriers with the best ventilation also help your cats feel more secure, because they can see their surroundings.

If you are concerned about comfort, consider the benefits of hard or soft-sided carriers. Hard-sided carriers offer more stability, but can be uncomfortable for long trips.

Many soft-sided carriers are designed to be sturdy and safe. Pay attention to the base when purchasing a soft carrier. The base should not be flimsy or bulge under the weight of your cat.

How do you take a cat on a long car trip?

Taking your pet with you for a road trip is always about the preparations you make. So, here are tips on what to do before and during the journey:

Before The Journey

  • Get the right carrier. A perfect cat carrier for the car is spacious yet snug, well ventilated, and safe and secure.
  • Make sure your cat is well acquainted with the carrier and it’s somewhere they don’t mind spending time. Leave it out in the house, do not just take it out whenever it’s time for a car trip, this associates a negative experience with the carrier.
  • Another important step to transporting a cat in a car is to prep the car. Get your cat familiar with the car and it’s smells, sounds, and temperature.
  • Pack a travel litter box and a bag of clean litter.
  • Don’t feed breakfast on the day of the trip
  • Don’t forget the water and treat!

During The Journey

  • Avoid making multiple stops.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car.
  • If the journey is long, secure a leash to your cat’s collar to the carrier and you can let them out for water, a snack, or to use the litter box.
  • Place the cat carrier on the floor or back seats away from the airbag’s path in case of an accident.
  • Always have the carrier secured with either a safety belt or nestled somewhere that will prevent moving around.
  • Ensure wherever you place the carrier, it should experience a good airflow.

These tips are not only for long road trips alone but also for short trips like a 2 hour car ride with cat. Also, it would be best to make your pet carrier comfortable and cozy by placing their favorite toy, blanket, or safety item in there.

Will your cat prefer a hard or soft carrier? It depends. Are they prone to getting sick or have an accident? If this is your cat, a hard carrier is definitely the way to go as it’s simple to clean up. Refraining from feeding breakfast should help here, it’s why we do it!

How do you transport a cat on a long car ride?

First, cats should never be placed in a front seat. It’s essential to have a comfortable, safe cat carrier with enough room for your cat to relax and sleep in the back seat. The best cat carriers for long distance travel must have ventilation!

Purchase any of the best cat carriers for long car trips above. Allowing your cat to become familiar with a carrier ahead of a trip is a good idea. Generally, you’ll want to give your cat a chance to sleep and relax in the new carrier at your house. Always stop if your cat appears distressed.

Do cats travel well in cars?

Yes, most cats are content to travel in cars as long as the temperature and settings are comfortable. However, it’s really a matter of your cat’s personality and past experiences.

Select cats just hate traveling no matter what cat carrier for long distance travel you choose, and you may need to use calming agents like Feliway.

Remember that cats need regular access to all of the same comforts of home in terms of food, water, human attention, and litter boxes.

How long can a cat ride in a car?

You may have no choice other than to take your cat along on a long road trip if you’re moving across states. Technically, there is no limit to how long a road trip with a cat can be as long as you drive in chunks.

However, it is generally advised that you stop every two to three hours to check on your cat’s comfort or use their litter box. Don’t allow your cat to go for long stretches without water. The best cat carriers for long car trips always have your cats comfort in mind.

Cats on road trips – what could go wrong?

It isn’t wise to assume that every journey with your pets will always end up as you had planned, so it’s important that you be well versed in animal first aid whenever you are traveling with our little feline friends.

Also, if your cat is taking any medication, it’s best if you remember to pack them and always have your vet’s number on speed dial in case of an emergency that you can’t handle.

How to travel long distance with two or multiple cats?

When traveling with two or multiple cats, you must ensure that the carrier you own can be separated or is partitioned. Cats are not all social all the time, so the option to create private time is a gift!

Also, ensure that the carrier can handle the cats’ weight and should have sufficient space and be well ventilated.

Having your cat as a travel companion can be lots of fun, but it will entirely depend on your preparations. Before planning a road trip for you and your pet, always consult with your vet.

What is the best way to transport a cat in a car?

A cat carrier is the only way to go when taking your cat to the groomers, vet visits, camping, somewhere to play, or any other place where you will be away from home for an extended period.

1. Introducing the Carrier to Your Cat

If your cat is not used to a carrier, it may take some time for them to get used to it. You may need to provide your cat with some time in a carrier for a few days before you take them with you on trips and car rides.

The first step is introducing your cat to the carrier. You can do this by placing familiar belongings, treats, or toys in the carrier and giving your cat a chance to explore and play there.

Ensure they have enough space inside the carrier so they don’t feel cramped or confined while familiarizing themselves with it.

Your carrier should allow enough room for your cat to lie down, turn around, and stand. However, it should not be too big as it will help prevent your cat from sliding around. Make sure the carrier has safety features like seat belt loops and a leash attachment.

2. Make Sure Your Cat is Comfortable In The Carrier

One way to help your cat feel comfortable in their carrier is by heating it before you place them inside. Be sure to regulate your car’s heating or air conditioning system appropriately.

During cold seasons, you may need to keep the car’s temperature set right so the cat can stay warmer in their carrier. Being too warm can also be stressful for cats, which can cause panting and breathing issues.

Keep the car’s temperature level where your cat will feel comfortable. Consider the radio and your sound system as well, keep it low or off as loud music or sounds can stress out your cat even more.

3. Pheromone Sprays

As you transport your cat, they might become nervous or agitated. To prevent this from happening, consider the use of pheromone products.

This will help your cat feel relaxed and more comfortable with its carrier. You can either spray the inside of the carrier and give it time to rest before letting your cat in, or spraying a towel and draping it over the top or openings of the carrier.

4. Treats!

There’s no better time to reward Fluffy with extra delicious treats. Letting them associate good things with the carrier and for good, calm behavior during the car ride.

5. Safety First

Avoid speeding. This applies in general but especially when traveling with your cat in a car. Additionally, never leave your cat alone in the car while you leave.

Can you transport a cat in a car without a carrier?

No, you should not transport your cat in a car without a carrier. Whether you choose a hard plastic or a soft-sided carrier, the key point is keeping your cat safe during the drive.

Many of the carriers available have safety loops to secure the carrier to the seat, much like a seat belt.

Are there alternatives to carriers?

The best and safest option for keeping your cat comfortable is using a carrier. While many people try to improvise and make other devices such as cardboard boxes, these are ultimately not safe and escape proof.

Escape artist cats can wiggle out while going to your house to the car, or even inside the car, causing distracted driving which can turn into a cad situation.

Do cats prefer soft or hard carriers?

Picking between a soft and hard carrier might not be cut and dry. Keeping their cat happy is a big job for many cat owners.

Some cats are laidback and go with the flow, but other cats are more difficult. Consider your pet’s well-being when deciding between a soft and a hard carrier.

Soft CarrierA non-rigid, lightweight carrier usually made from nylon. Mesh is often used for the doors or ventilation.
Hard CarrierSometimes known as a hard-sided carrier, has rigid sides and often one or more doors made of metal or mesh. The sides are made of tough, thick plastic.

Benefits of Soft Carriers

  • They are more comfortable for cats. Making sure your cat is cozy and comfortable is huge part of taking your cat on a long car trip (or plane ride).
  • The soft sides and bottom are frequently padded and are very breathable.
  • Commonly made of nylon, soft carriers are extremely lightweight, which makes them portable. Carrying your cat to and from the car is easy. The soft sides are also flexible enough to be collapsible and storable when not in use.
  • Soft carriers also come in many unique designs. You can find tote bag carriers, nifty backpacks, or even body slings.

Disadvantages of Soft Carriers

  • Unfortunately, the benefits of the lightweight nylon material can be a disadvantage if you have an aggressive kitty.
  • Claws and teeth can cause damage over time to soft carriers. Soft carriers can also be damaged from messes. You cannot easily clean the material of a soft carrier, and bad odors can linger.
  • Soft carriers do not offer the same protection as hard carriers. Your cat will feel every bump through the soft sides.

Benefits of Hard Carriers

  • The tough plastic of a hard carrier is both sturdier and more secure. Transporting your cat in one of these carriers allows you peace of mind in case of accidents or falls.
  • The mesh grate doors, typically made of metal, cannot be bitten through, or torn. Your cat will not escape when you take your eyes off the carrier for a moment.
  • Hard carriers are more difficult to damage, whether from claws or messes. The plastic sides and bottom can be wiped down with a sanitary wipe and they will not retain odors. 

Disadvantages of Hard Carriers

  • Hard carriers can seem unwelcoming. You might need to add a blanket or bed to ensure your cat’s comfort. The hard, sturdy sides make it bulky and difficult to carry.
  • Unlike soft carriers, you cannot collapse the sides to store them in your home. You must have a space ready to store it when it is not in use. 
  • You also will not find a lot of variation in the design of hard carriers. Most hard carriers have a very basic design and perhaps some fun colors.

Are Soft or Hard Cat Carriers Better? It Depends!

Choose a carrier type based on your needs and you cannot go wrong. Will the trip be a short one around town or a more involved one involving flying? If flying, always check and double check your airline’s requirements for pets onboard.

Think about the temperament of your cat, too. A cat who is stressed during any type of travel might be better in a hard carrier, which they cannot bite or claw through.

But some cats need to feel cozy and comforted when being transported outside the home, which calls for a soft carrier. Using a carrier Fluffy likes and is familiar with can keep your cat calm while traveling.

The length of a trip is also important. A cat prone to accidents should either be provided a tiny litter box or be placed in a hard carrier that is easy to clean.

Storing a bulky carrier is not ideal for all pet owners. If you have the space, you do not have to worry about buying a hard carrier. But for cat owners with limited storage, go for a collapsible soft carrier.

How helpful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shop Today's Specials on Carriers & Travel!

From Our #1 Ranked Online Pet Store

  • 365 day returns
  • 24/7 support
  • Discounts on new customers, Autoship, 1-3 day delivery & more!

Shop Today's Specials on Carriers & Travel!

From Our #1 Ranked Online Pet Store

  • 365 day returns
  • 24/7 support
  • Ongoing discounts for new customers, Autoship, 1-3 day delivery & more!