Who doesn’t like taking their fur babies on vacation with them? Our cats are another part of our family, and just like anyone else, we struggle with the thought of leaving them behind.
Of course, the cat carrier is really the only way to get them from point A to point B. Cats aren’t naturally as inclined to tolerate carriers as dogs are, but some cats are especially difficult.
If you can’t seem to get your cat into a carrier, you need to find the best cat carrier for difficult cats.
Cat Carrier Buyer’s Guide
So you have a stubborn cat, and you can’t seem to get them into a carrier (without a big struggle). One of the best things you can do is make sure you’re getting the right carrier.
Of course, to do that, first you need to know what to look for. Here’s what you should consider before you assume that shiny new carrier is going to fit the bill:
This should be an obvious thing to look for, but a lot of cat owners don’t look as closely as they should.
Keep in mind that different brands will have different sizes and weights that they consider small, medium, and large. One brand’s large might be another’s medium.
Always check the weight and size recommendations.
- Top vs. front loading
Does it matter whether the carrier opens at the top or on the front? It can make a big difference to both you and your cat.
While front loading carriers were the standard for a long time, it can be a struggle to get your cat inside (especially because it requires some convincing and bribing on your part).
With a top loading carrier, you simply open the top, gently place your cat inside, and take them out once you reach your destination.
There are a couple of factors to look at when you’re making sure your cat’s carrier is secure. We recommend a metal grill over a plastic grill, because you don’t run the risk of the grill cracking or breaking during travel.
Not only that, metal grills are often much better secured, and typically have lock springs.
Look at all the locks and securing mechanisms that come with the carrier, and make sure they won’t pop open on accident.
- Soft vs hard carriers
Cat carriers can come in hard shells, often made of plastic, or soft shells, made of a durable fabric or mesh. There’s nothing wrong with either of them.
However, what you choose should also depend on how and where you plan on traveling. Soft shell carriers are better when you’ll have the cat with you, and keep them with you.
If you’re taking them on a plane, and won’t have them alongside you, a hard case provides much better security, and safety for your pet, especially if luggage shifts around them.
- Extra features
Like any other piece of pet gear, these days, cat carriers have a ton of extra features you can opt for. If you need a carrier to take your cat on walks or hikes with you, you might look for a backpack style carrier with carrying straps.
Or if your cat feels better when they have a good view, you can find a carrier with big viewing windows for them to look out of.
Do you need to take your cat on a road trip? The good news is, plenty of cat carriers also come with a special area to secure the cat into the seat with a seatbelt.
Best Carriers for Difficult Cats
Now that you know what to look for, you need a place to start. Read on for the list of the best carriers for difficult cats, and see which is best for you and your cat.
Best for storage: SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier
We all know about the dreaded clunky cat carrier from the past. They were big, tough to store, and generally, a big pain.
So what about a carrier that gives you the stability of older carriers, but with a revamped design and a solution for easy, compact storage?
If that sounds like a dream, then this SportPet foldable cat carrier is exactly what you’re looking for.
It’s sturdy, so you can rest assured your pet stays safe even if you should encounter any impacts. Even better, it’s suitable for bigger cats, and has a weight capacity of up to 25 pounds.
However, the dimensions make it ideal for medium sized cats. There’s enough room for comfort, but not so much that they get insecure.
- 25 lb weight capacity
- Easy folding design
- Strong and impact resistant
- Large door on side
- Works with compatible waterproof bed
Best for multiple cats: Siivton Expandable Cat Carrier
One difficult cat can make finding a carrier tough. When you have two cats? If you’re searching on your own that’s a big time investment. Lucky for you, we found this Siivton cat carrier (which also happens to be airline approved).
It’s soft sided, and the sides all easily unzip to expand and give your cat (or cats) plenty of space.
All four expanding sides give you plenty of options to give your cats some stretching room.
This is one of the most dynamic cat carriers we’ve seen, and you can hold it as a handheld carrier, or sling it over your shoulder.
If that wasn’t enough, you can also strap it into your car with a seatbelt, and without making your cats uncomfortable.
- Includes machine washable fleece bed
- Expands on all four sides
- Ideal for multiple cats
- Excellent ventilation
- Carry as handheld, over should, or in the car
Best on a budget: Necoichi Portable Ultra Light Cat Carrier
You don’t always have to spend a lot to get a lot of quality, and this carrier proves it. This is easily one of the most affordable cat carriers we’ve come across, and it’s durable enough for most types of travel too.
The fabric is also easier to clean than a lot of cloth cat carriers, so you have minimal maintenance, even if your cat makes a mess or sheds a lot.
Curious cats love the wide mesh windows, so they can keep an eye on what’s going on too.
They don’t even need to stand up to get the views, they can lay down and watch out. It’s suitable for most average sized cats, and holds up to 17 pounds.
- Budget friendly
- Collapses for compact storage
- Lightweight but sturdy
- Holds up to 17 lbs
Best combo deal: Pet Fit For Life Collapsible Cat Cage
Difficult cats can throw anything your way, and an urgent trip to the litter box is just one of them. If it seems like your cat picks the worst times to need a potty break, this cat carrier is your solution.
It comes with a ton of different extras and features. Basically, you have everything you need to successfully, and comfortably, take your cat on any trip with you, whether long or short.
This PetFit carrier comes with a lined litter box that’s perfect for travel, a collapsible bowl for food or drink, and even stakes to secure it if you’re an outdoorsy type.
Of course, your cat will probably like the wand toy best, but they’ll be happy and comfortable inside the carrier.
- Includes litter box, velour bed, collapsible bowl, towl, and stakes
- Mesh windows for good views and ventilation
- Spacious enough for two cats
- Ideal for camping and securing outside
Best for anxious cats: Pet Magasin Hard Cover Collapsible Cat Carrier
One of the best ways to help an anxious cat get into a carrier is by making it easy to get them in. This is where top entry carriers come in. We love how easy to use this carrier is (and of course, how easy it is to get the cat in).
Whereas some carriers can take several minutes of persuasion to get your cat in, this one takes a three step process.
First, unzip the carrier. Then, gently scoop up your cat and deposit them in the carrier. Third, very quickly (but also carefully), zip up the top of the carrier.
That’s all there is to it. No bribing, struggling (or at least very little), and a lot less stress.
- Easy top entry
- Collapses and unzips at top and bottom
- Padded, non-slip floor
- Sized for most average cats
Our Top Pick
We love all the carriers we reviewed, but our cats definitely preferred some above others. Our top pick was also our cats’ favorite.
The Siivton expandable carrier is breathable, sturdy, and perfectly sized, whether you have one cat or two. When you have some time to relax, expand the sides and let your cat walk around.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to carry it, which also makes it even better to take on different kinds of trips. The seatbelt function is just the cherry on top.