What Size Carrier for a Cat Do I Need?

Perhaps the first and the most important thing you should have before owning a cat (or any pet) is a pet carrier. After all, it is the first accessory they will use from the time you take them from the cattery to your home.

When choosing a cat carrier size, make sure your pet has enough space to stand with 1-2 inches of head room. If your cat is fully grown, an easy way to choose a carrier for your cat is find carriers that will fit one and a half times their size.

Solid picks for both hard and soft carrier options

What Size Crate for a Cat?

How do you know the right carrier to choose? Should you be getting a big carrier or do you want one that fits the cat snug?

There are a few things to consider with your cat carrier, but more than anything else, you should make sure you get the right size. One that will leave him comfortable during your travel.

Why Do You Need a Cat Carrier?

Cat carriers are an investment that is not just limited to cat owners who love to travel. At some point during your cat’s life, you will have to drive him to the vet, to the park, or to a friend’s house. The carrier will provide your cat that level of security while also making it less stressful for you, too.

Driving or traveling a cat without a carrier can be dangerous for both you and your cat. Cats can get nervous and climb anywhere they can put their claws.

They have a way of crawling under your pedals or on your steering wheel. They might scratch, bite, or distract you and make it hard to drive.

Look at the situation from your cat’s perspective. Cats like comfy, cozy, and being isolated. Ever wonder why they hide out in paper bags and cardboard boxes?

Why Size Matters: Proper Space for Your Cat

Buying a cat carrier may give you the impression that bigger is better. It is not always the case. It is the same with a cat carrier that is too small. Choosing the right-sized carrier isn’t very hard, just allow time to choose the right size.

A carrier too large for your cat gives the feeling of isolation and anxiousness. Not to mention the chances of them being thrown against the sides of the carrier during transport. A small carrier, on the other hand, may not give the comfort they need and want since they may not be able to stretch freely.

It should be easy for cats to stand, sit, and turn around inside their carrier. As a general rule, the cat carrier should be one and a half the size of your cat. A cat carrier that’s extra large will leave them trying to balance as they slide from one side to another uncomfortably.

It’s important to consider a regular-sized one that you think will be appropriate until they reach their adult size. You can also take into account a cat carrier size that includes food and water bowls area, especially if you will be traveling long distances without stopping.

Choosing the Right Size Carrier for Your Cat

Check that the cat carrier is the perfect fit by looking at your cat while inside the cat carrier. Can she stand up without hunkering and hitting the top? Is it hard for her to turn around with ease? If she can, and you are only planning to use it on trips to the vet, then the carrier has enough space.

However, if you are looking for a cat carrier that you can use for long drives with your cat, then there are a few more things you have to consider than just the cat being able to stand up and turn around.

Include Space for Long Travel Extras

For long travels with a cat, you have to take into consideration that there is enough place not just for the cat but for a litter tray, a food bowl, and a water bowl. There are cat carriers that come integrated with these, and if that is more convenient for you, the space is still large enough for the cat.

If the budget won’t allow, a cat carrier that can accommodate your cat and his things will suffice. Since they aren’t a big fan of traveling and live by habit, leaving their comfort zone will make a cat feel very afraid.

Oversized cat carriers will give you a far corner for your cat to hide. The cat veiling too far is because cats love to feel their back against the wall for that sense of security. Imagine how distant that corner would be from the entry point for a large cat carrier.

How Do You Measure a Cat for a Carrier?

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of a cat carrier. If you want to make sure you are finding the right size, you can measure your cat’s length and height (how tall). Here’s how to get the proper measurements.

How to Measure Cat Length

Get the dimensions from the top of its nose to the tip of its tail using a measuring tape. Once you have that, add 4 inches to the measurement you took. For instance, your cat’s nose to tail length is 12 inches – add 4 inches. It will give you a size of 16 inches. This measurement should give you the right range for the best carrier for your cat.

Measure the Cat’s Height

Height-wise, you have to get the measurements from the ground to the top of the head. Check that you add 4 inches to the size you have, and it should give you the right height for the carrier you need for your cat.

You may not be able to find a cat carrier that is according to the size you ended up with but, you can get the one that is closest to the dimensions you have. Be sure to examine the interior aspects while checking out the carrier.

If you are still confused with getting the right size for your cat carrier, there are travel crate size calculator that can help you figure out the right dimensions. Jetpets have their online crate size calculator that will guide you with the minimum size carrier you need.

The size calculator will ask you for:

  • The dimensions from the top of the nose to the root of the tail
  • The ground to the highest point of the animal (usually the head)
  • The ground to the elbow joint, and the width of the widest point of the animal

You also have to consider the facial structure of your cat, whether they are snub nose or not. Traveling local or internationally may require specific cat carriers too. You will get the least size of the cat carrier you need for your tabby after keying in these details.

Can You Carrier-Pool Cats?

It is not a good idea to have two cats in the space of a single carrier. They may fight, tough play, and may end up injuring each other. Ideally, you should get separate carriers if you have multiple cats. If you do need to carry both in a single carrier, then get the biggest crate possible.

Tip: you can look at a dog crate for multiple cats to fit well (since cat options are normally smaller size carriers).

What If You Have A Small Kitten?

While it has been said that the cat should be able to stand up and turn around freely inside the cat carrier and how it should be at least 1.5 times the length of your cat, it is different for kittens.

Baby cats have a significant amount of growth rate. Therefore, when you get a carrier that is 1.5 times larger than your kitten, do not be surprised when after a couple of months, she has outgrown the cat carrier. Eventually, you will have to buy another one.

How to Size a Carrier for a Kitty

If you need a cat carrier for your little kitty, there is an easy way to figure this out.  Find out how big she will turn out to be when she becomes an adult. Weigh up on her current size, the amount of time until she reaches the adult stage, and her breed. Talk to a cat expert if you need help estimating how big your cat will grow.

Once you figured out the probable size of your kitten when she becomes an adult, then you can apply the same measurements rule of multiplying her by 1.5. That’s the right carrier size.

It can help to praise your cat with treats when they step into a carrier on their own.

Traveling By Plane

If you and your cat take a trip by plane, be sure to adhere to IATA’s (International Air Transport Association) sized carrier requirements.

Airports do not allow pets to fly unless they are in an approved carrier.

They have a specific size for every pet, and the pet carrier for your cat should have enough space.

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Consider IATA-approved carriers based on the specific construction materials, like:

  • Hard rigid plastic, wood, fiberglass or metal
  • Ventilation on three sides for domestic travel, four sides for international travel
  • No part of the pet – nose, toes, or tail should protrude out of top or side of the carrier
  • Attachments should be secured with metal bolts and nuts

Final Words

Leaving their comfort zone makes a cat feel terrified the moment their gone. Therefore, choosing the right carrier can eliminate any stresses during travel. Cats will think of the cat carrier as their second home or their home away from home. One where they can snuggle up during the ride no matter how far you are going and make way for a nap or two.

The size cat carriers play a significant role in how comfortable a trip can be. Ensure your cat is familiar and cozy, and you will both have an easy, enjoyable trip.