Whether your pet cat is a house denizen, a neighborhood roamer or a chill in the garden type trips to the vet are unavoidable. At some point, your feline friend is due to a meeting with cold hands, scary noises and strange smells. It’s your job to make the journey as comfy as possible. Even cool cats are rattled by vet visits, so comfort and calm are important.
One of the best things you can do for your pet is to provide a high-quality carrier. Choosing one of our best cat carriers is a good starting point! The next question is, how big should a cat carrier be? Well, there’s no hard and fast rule. Cats come in many sizes, of course. Your choice other carrier should, therefore, be based on its specific dimensions. Don’t use a carrier intended for another pet unless it’s a similar size.
This guide to making safe journeys with cats (to the vet or elsewhere) will help you pick the right cat carrier size.
A Few General Rules about cat carriers
We strongly recommend measuring your cat before choosing a carrier. However, there are other clues to look for if you don’t have these details. For instance, the carrier must be roomy enough to allow your cat to turn around inside. It should be able to raise its head without scraping the top or sides.
Picking the right size carrier can be tricky. It should definitely be bigger than the cat (to give it lots of breathing space), but it shouldn’t be overly large. Carriers that are unnecessarily oversized will cause a cat to slide around inside. Plus, being able to back up against one or two of its sides make a cat feel more secure.
The Right Way to Take Measurements
If you have the opportunity, take five minutes to properly measure your cat. While they’re standing, measure from nose tip to tail end. Add four inches to this figure. Now, you’ve got the length of an appropriately sized cat carrier. It should leave plenty of space for fidgeting, writhing, relaxing or whatever else your pet needs.
To determine how high your carrier should be, measure from paws to the top of the head. Make sure you’re measuring right from the floor up. Again, add four inches to the figure. Now, you’ve got a comfortable height for the carrier. It should leave plenty of room for your furry feline to stand and stretch
Always Read the Inside Dimensions of the cat carrier
When browsing for cat carriers, be sure to check dimensions refer to the inside of the container. Most products will have two sets of measurements, for inside and out. The exterior dimensions are important if you’re concerned about fitting the carrier in a car, cupboard or other restricted space.
They don’t make much of a difference to your cat though. So, pay particular attention to any interior measurements. In some rare cases, manufacturers give misleading information (especially if they want carriers to be deemed suitable for travel excursions). It’s unlikely you’ll have a problem, but we advise measuring the carrier yourself before putting the cat inside.
Consider the Type of Cat Trip
You might be heading to somewhere much nicer than the vet. Lots of people take their pets on staycations. Others take them to beauty and therapy treatments. You may need a carrier to take your pet out of the country. Whatever your plans, be sure of any rules and requirements before you leave.
If you’re traveling overseas, for example, there will likely be strict rules about the type and size of cat carrier allowed onboard. Most airlines prohibit large carriers from travelling in the cabin. So, you may have to leave your pet in the hold. It’s worth finding out if this is the case before you buy a carrier. Make sure it’s appropriate for the journey.
The Tricky Tale of Two Cats
It is a common mistake to assume multiple cats can safely travel in one carrier. Just because they both fit inside, it doesn’t the journey will be comfy. Ideally, each cat should travel in its own container. If this is not possible, keep the trip short and the carrier extra-large.
There are several problems with using one carrier for two cats. For one thing, you may need to travel with only one of the pets. Now, you’re stuck with an oversized carrier and a cat that is sliding around inside.
If you’re heading to the vet, think about how stressful the experience often is for a cat. They might not appreciate being locked in a box with another animal, even if it’s a brother, mother or long-term pal. The last thing you want is a stressed feline starting a fight because they’re scared and just want to be alone.
Don’t worry if it takes a few tries to get a carrier your cat feels happy in. Most stores have a returns policy. Take the container home, introduce it to your pet and observe their interactions with it. If the carrier isn’t a good fit, return it the store. Use your cat’s measurements to find something more suitable.