How Big Should a Cat Carrier Be?

Pet carriers really are great tools to have if you are a cat owner. When it comes down to it, cats are pretty rambunctious, independent, and they don’t follow orders too well.

They are not like dogs that you can just stick in the car and go for a drive. Cats need to be in good cat carriers, and this is true whether you are going on a long drive or taking your cat on a plane.

However, one thing which many people seem to have trouble with is buying the right size of cat carrier for their needs, which is what we are here to help you figure out today. So, how big should a cat carrier be?

Are there other features or factors to look for when selecting a cat carrier?

Does Cat Carrier Size Matter?

Yes, the size of the cat carrier you get does matter, and it matters quite a lot. Now, what is obvious is that there is such a thing as a cat carrier that is too small. Yes, you want your cat to have enough room on the inside of the carrier to be fairly comfortable.

At the very least, the cat should be able to stand up without banging its head on the top of the carrier.

Moreover, the cat should have enough room to at least turn around comfortably. Remember, this is a cat carrier, not a prison cell being used as punishment, so the cat should have a decent amount of room.

However, is there such a thing as a cat carrier that is too large? Yes, of course a cat carrier can be too large. In terms of the cat itself, a cat carrier that is too large may not be ideal, especially when it comes to car travel.

The reason for this is because you will end up having your cat bounce around the interior, banging off the walls, if the carrier is too large.

Next, in terms of your own sanity and muscle power, simply put, a cat carrier that is far too large is going to be hard to transport, especially if you have one of the heavier solid shell cat carriers.

So yes, size does absolutely matter in terms of your cat and the cat carrier. Either too large or too small are not good.

How Large Should the Cat Carrier Be?

As mentioned above, a cat carrier should be large enough to comfortably house a cat so it can stand up and turn around, but not so large that it is hard for you to carry or leaves the cat with too much room on the inside.

Something else you want to keep in mind is that putting more than one cat in a single carrier is also not a good idea.

Cats can get nervous and testy inside of cat carriers, and this can end up in fights and other problems between multiple cats.

So, if you are thinking of getting a pet crate or carrier that can fit all of your cats at once, this should be avoided, and instead, you should get multiple carriers, all of which are just large enough to fit each cat with relative comfort.

Car Travel vs. Airplane Travel For Your Cat

Another point that you need to keep in mind is that there is a difference between cat carriers for airplane travel and those for car travel, or to put it in other words, certain cat carriers are better for one form of transportation over another. In terms of car travel, you could go for a hard shell carrier.

Hard shell carriers are good for car travel because they have hard walls, and therefore, in the event of an accident, or even just if you hit the brakes a bit too hard, there is at least a layer of protection between the cat and the windshield or doors.

Moreover, hard shell carriers tend to be a bit easier to secure to car seats or to put in the rear. Furthermore, when it comes to car travel, you can probably afford to have a pretty decent size carrier.

On the other hand, if it is airline travel we are talking about, you want to go with something smaller. Keep in mind that room on airplanes is limited, so a large cat carrier is not going to do.

Also, airlines, specifically the TSA, have some strict rules regarding this kind of thing, especially in terms of the size and build.

When it comes down to it, the only real option you have here is a small and soft-walled cat carrier. It should be a soft carrier either way for airplane travel, as they tend to be a bit more comfortable and easy to carry.

However, if the cat has to travel in the cargo hold, you will want a hard shell airline approved carrier.

Other Cat Carrier Features to Look For

There are a few other things besides the size of the cat carrier that you want to look for, so let’s go over the most important considerations right now.

  • Make sure that if you have a soft shell cat carrier, that it comes with a good base, something to keep the floor from collapsing, as well as some sort of design to keep the walls from collapsing
  • Whether you get a hard or soft shell cat carrier, make sure that it has some kind of soft bedding so your cat can be comfortable for the duration of the journey
  • No matter what the carrier is like, it should always have plenty of mesh or slits for ventilation and light. You can’t keep your cat in an airtight and dark box
  • A good cat carrier should always come with some sort of handles and straps for easy carrying


There you have it — more or less everything you need to know about the size of cat carrier you should get and why it is important.  Check out this article here.