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8 Best Cat Carriers for Long-Distance Travel in 2021


A good carrier for a long-distance journey should have a number of characteristics: it should be durable and lightweight at the same time, its size should be comfortable for your cat’s breed and it should fit your cat’s temperament. During my research, I picked and tested 8 cat carriers. Each of them has its own parameters that are optimal for a specific use case. Enjoy!

We do love to spend as much time with cats as possible. However, they are not the best companions when we want to take them for a ride. Unlike dogs who are fond of traveling, these fluffy friends show all their hatred towards most of the trips you plan.

Sounds sad, right? Still, if you make the ride as comfortable and calm as it can be, your cat may change its mind and even enjoy going out with you and sleeping in a backseat. Cat carriers for long-distance car and plane travel are the best way to make your pet happy during any trip. They are very spacious, ventilated and have a very soft bottom. The best ones will make your cat feel at home.

No more worries about scratching, biting and droppings all around the floor. Your cat won’t feel nervous at all when you choose the right model. I’ve examined a lot of cat carriers and picked eight best ones that specifically fit the long-distance travesl. Read the description attentively and pay attention to all the features to find out which product is your perfect choice.

Things to consider for long-distance travel

1) Make a rehearsal

Yep, your first trip won’t go well at once. So you should better prepare for it. Take a few short trips with your fluffy friend, and it won’t get so stressed when you will travel over a longer distance.

2) Go to a vet

You must be sure your cat is healthy enough for a long ride. Consult your vet to learn more about the diet peculiarities and some meds that he can prescribe to make your cat feel less nervous. If there are any signs that your pet doesn’t feel well enough, the travel must be cancelled.

3) Buy a lot of toys

Your cat must feel like at home when traveling in a carrier. Buy new toys and add some of her favorite ones before a ride. The cat will feel relaxed and happy, and you won’t be looking in the rearview window each time your cat meows or behaves strangely.

4) Get your cat microchipped

It is the best way to identify your little friend when it gets lost. Of course, we hope it won’t happen during your trip. But you will feel much more relaxed when you know that you can easily identify your cat’s location even in an unknown city.

5) Look at the bigger picture

There’s a whole range of dog car travel accessories for dogs that can be used for your feline friend as well. Pet car barriers are a great option to separate a cat from a driver and door/seat protectors will prevent your car’s interrior from being littered with fur/saliva and scratched.


8 Top Cat Carriers for Long-Distance Travel in 2021

This cat carrier is both stylish and cat-friendly. It is airline approved and can be comfortably located under the seats of most planes.

It has top ventilation and breathable mesh sides which provide enough air during a long trip. Moreover, you can easily check what your cat is doing just by looking through a mesh window.

Mr. Peanut’s Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier is lightweight and waterproof so it won’t be too hard for you to carry your cat.

It is also one of the safest carriers produced because of its self-lock zippers. There is no chance that your cat will escape.


  • convenient handle
  • removable name tag
  • self-lock zipper
  • waterproof material
  • airline approved


  • the soft-sided wall can easily wrinkle
  • won’t fit for very big cats
  • Product Dimensions: 18 in x 10.5 in x 11 in
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Color: charcoal ash/deja blue/platinum gray/purple/rosa red

The Pet Mate Sky Kennel is a hard-sided carrier and it provides extra safety for your cat.

Wire vents and tiedown halls guarantee a safe and comfortable trip for you and your pet.

This sturdy carrier is perfect for playful rebellious kitties who like to escape. It is easier to run away through the hole in the fabric. However, no cat can escape the plastic carrier equipped with non-corrodible wing-nuts.

Your cat will love this travel house. It has 360-degree ventilation and 4-way vault door for additional security. Such a kennel provides less visibility. However, this can be a positive side for cats which get stressed by watching people passing by. This feature makes it one of the best cat carriers for long-distance car travel, especially when you are driving along the highway.

The Pet Mate Sky Kennel comes in 6 different sizes, so you can be sure there is the appropriate model for your cat. Smaller sizes are also equipped with a carrying handle for easy transporting.

If you want an extra safe and durable carrier for your pet, this is one of the best variants.


  • 360-degree ventilation
  • fits all cat sizes
  • clip-on-bowls are included in the original set
  • extra strong steel wire


  • no additional padding
  • quite heavy
  • provides less visibility
  • Product Dimensions: 28 in x 20.5 in x 21.5 in
  • Shipping Weight: 11 pounds
  • Color: gray

The AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier is made of high-quality material. Its maximum load weight is recording 22 pounds.

This carrier is perfectly designed for large and heavy cats. However, it comes in 3 different sizes, so this model will fit for cats of all proportions.

The carrier is very easy to transport as it is equipped with two connecting carrying handles and an adjustable shoulder strap for hands-free transporting. The bottom is made of soft machine-washable fleece. Your cat will love its new sleeping place.

The spring wireframe meets all airline requirements, so your fluffy buddy can accompany you during any flight.

The AmazonBasics Pet Travel Carrier has both front and top openings. So it will be very easy for you to place your cat inside the kennel.

Mesh ventilation provides enough airflow. However, it can be stressful for some cats to sit in the carrier with four-sided windows.


  • comes in 3 sizes
  • loop handles for balanced carrying
  • mesh ventilation
  • soft machine washable bottom
  • fleece bed and shoulder strap are included in the original set


  • four-sided windows can cause stress
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 in x 10.2 in x 11.2 in
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Color: black

The One for Pets Fabric Portable Pet Kennel can be used both for indoor and outdoor activities. It can be a great cosy cat shelter inside your house with its removable sheepskin hammock.

The carrier has a mesh window with a roll-up shade. It is also equipped with a pocket on the side. It is great for playful cats because you can put some toys inside when getting ready for the trip. Besides, there will be enough space for water and treats as well.

The One for Pets Fabric Portable Pet Kennel can be folded down flat, so you won’t need much space to store it at home. The carrier is ventilated well because it has both top and side entries.

If you have two cats, then it is the best cat carrier for long-distance travel for your pets. It has a double size model set that simply zips together.

Moreover, this carrier has a stylish modern design and comes in 2 subtle colors: gray and brown.


  • easy storage
  • perfect for 2 cats
  • equipped with side pockets
  • mesh window
  • good ventilation


  • not as transparent as other soft-sided carriers
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 in x 2 in x 20.5 in
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Color: gray/brown

This kennel has a cosy design and many cool built-in features.

It is equipped with locking zippers and reinforced seams, so your cat won’t escape.

The Petluv “Happy Cat” Premium Pet Carrier folds flat, so you can store it even in a glove compartment.

The carrier is equipped with an amazing “Fluffy-Fluff” sleep pillow contoured with a faux lambskin liner. Your cat will love to take a nap on it. The locking mesh doors are made of hypoallergenic PVC and provide great airflow.

The Petluv Premium Pet Carrier has 4 access panels, so it will be very easy for you to place your fluffy to the kennel.

This model is equipped with adjustable shoulder straps so you will carry your cat with less effort. It also includes a machine washable plushy bed.

The adjustable seatbelt loops make it easy to secure the kennel in your car. So it is one of the best cat carriers for long car travels.


  • has a seatbelt
  • easy to fold and store
  • the cosy pillow comes in the original set
  • hypoallergenic PVC mesh doors
  • robust construction
  • adjustable seatbelt loops


  • maybe too transparent for nervous cats
  • Product Dimensions: 24 in x 16 in x 16 in
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 pounds
  • Color: navy blue

This product combines the best features of both hard and soft carriers. It makes it one of the best and most unique cat carriers for long-distance car and plane travel.

The construction has a hard top and a hard base while the sides of the carrier are soft. So this model can be both safe for your cat and easy-to-store at once. You can fold down the sides and turn the large carrier into a small package.

The carrier is equipped with a padded mat which makes the bottom of the carrier a very comfortable place for your pet.

You can easily put this kennel on any surface as it has a non-slip bottom.

The Pet Magasin Hard Cover Collapsible Cat Carrier is made of high-quality materials and the sides are beat down with breathable mesh.

YKK zippers guarantee that your fluffy friend won’t escape.

The sides and mesh are well-ventilated. However, this carrier is not as transparent as other soft and hard models.

This kennel is both lightweight and sturdy as it is made of a mix of hard and soft materials.


  • a sturdy place for a cat to sit
  • non-slip bottom
  • great price
  • YKK zippers
  • well-ventilated


  • not as transparent as other models
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 in x 13.8 in x 13 in
  • Shipping Weight: 2.12 pounds
  • Color: military gray

This carrier is equipped with a spring wire frame, so you can easily place it under any seat.

It has a durable nylon construction and mesh panels. The carrier is well-ventilated and has 2 entries: the front and the top one. So you will strive less to put your cat inside the kennel.

This model comes in 3 different sizes, so you can be sure there is the right one for your cat.

Moreover, the carrier is equipped with a no-slip and luggage straps which make the travel very comfortable.

The faux lambskin wool liner is machine washable. It is included in the set.

The Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier is equipped with a rear zippered pocket for toys, water and other travel stuff you may need.

The manufacturers advise selecting this carrier based not only on its size but on your cat’s measurements too.

There is a description on Amazon showing small, medium and large carriers size.


  • durable
  • well-ventilated
  • machine washable wool liner
  • 2 ventilated entries


  • too transparent for nervous cats
  • the zipper pocket may get stuck sometimes
  • Product Dimensions: 17 in x 11 in x 10.5 in
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Color: black

The Airline Approved Travel Transport Soft Pet Carrier has a puncture-resistant polyester shell. It is a durable material which is perfect for long-distance travels.

Your cat will feel relaxed on a faux fleece pad. The bottom is removable and machine washable.

If you are planning long-distance air travel, this carrier is one of the best choices you can make. It is TSA approved and meets all the requirements. The kennel is equipped with 4-sided mesh panels that provide 100% ventilation. It is one of the most important rules on all airlines.

This model is lightweight and easy to carry thanks to the handy handles.

The Airline Approved Travel Transport Soft Pet Carrier has a thoughtful construction with its flexible plastic supports. They provide safety by holding the carrier’s shape. It guarantees that the top of the kennel won’t fall on your pet and will be fixed properly.

There is a zippered window which allows you to access your cat without directly removing it from the carrier.


  • puncture-resistant polyester shell
  • lightweight
  • handy handles
  • thoughtful construction
  • 2 side pockets


  • too transparent for cats with a nervous breakdown
  • Product Dimensions: 18 in x 10 in x 13 in
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Color: black

How to choose the best cat carrier for long-distance travel?

Step 1 – Cat’s Temperament

First of all, you should take into account the temperament of your cat. The more nervous your cat is, the more spacious cat carrier you need. You should also remember that stressed cats need more test trips to get used to a cat carrier and the backseat of your car. 

Moreover, if your cat has a bad temper you need to fix the kennel with additional belts. So you should check if they are included in the original set of the carrier you chose.

Step 2 – Features

Secondly, you need to take into account all the features of the carrier. Size, number of doors, expandability, visibility and material are of great importance when you choose the best kennel for your fluffy friend. For instance, hard-sided carriers are good for calm cats while soft-sided ones are the best variant for nervous fluffies.

Step 3 – What’s included

You should check what’s inside the original set. Top best cat carriers for long-distance car and plane travels have a litter box included in the original set. It is the most important feature in the setting because long-distance travels can’t go well without a cat’s toilet. It will be cool if the manufacturer also added some handles and toys in the set. So try to read the full description of the product before buying it. Also we have a separate guide with cat carriers equipped with a litter box.


How do you travel long distances with a cat? 

  • Introduce your cat to its new carrier

Make a couple of test trips, and the cat will get used to its new home.

  • See your veterinarian

Consult the doc and ask for some meds if your cat gets too nervous during long-distance trips.

  • Make the backseat comfortable

Surround the carrier with your pet’s favorite toys and fix it with seatbelts.

How long can my cat stay in a carrier? 

If your trip is under 6 hours, then it is okay for a cat to stay in the carrier during the trip.

However, if your travel takes more than a couple of hours, then you need to let your cat go out and limber up a little bit. 

Cats can hold their pee up to 17 hours, but it is better not to wait for more than 10 hours. Let your cat go to the toilet and have some rest every 6-7 hours of your trip.

How do you transport a cat in a car during long-distance travel? 

First of all, make sure the carrier is fixed properly by the seatbelts. Place a lot of toys near the kennel to make your cat feel relaxed. You can also put some boxes around the carrier for better safety. Place a litter box inside the kennel. It will help in case your cat gets stressed and wants to go to the toilet suddenly.

Should I cover my cat’s carrier when traveling? 

If your cat gets very nervous when hearing a lot of new sounds and watching the road, you should better cover the carrier. However, you should make sure there is enough ventilation beforehand. Choose a lightweight fabric to cover the carrier, so more air will come in, and your cat will feel safe.

Which litter is optimal for long-distance traveling?

The cat litter should be dust-free, hypoallergenic and lightweight. I advice you to check out the CatSpot litter and Yesterday’s News cat litter review.

In a word

Cat carriers for long-distance travel are the best way to travel with your cat. Of course, your cat may need some time to get used to it. Still, you can be sure it will feel like at home in it over time.

Some cat owners complain that their pets get very stressed when they put them into a cat carrier. It usually means that they didn’t prepare their fluffy friends for their new home. 

Cat carriers for long-distance travel are so cosy that you can use them both as the inside and outside kennel for your cat. They have soft wool or faux lambskin bottom and provide good ventilation.

The most important thing is to take into account all the features of the carrier before buying it.

Is it airline approved? Is it soft or hard? Can it be folded down when traveling on a plane? 

The more things you take into account beforehand the more convenient your trip will be.

Cats don’t like to change their way of life, so the carrier must be very cosy for them. 

Buy the model which corresponds to your needs, make a few test rides and get ready for the first real trip with your fluffy buddy!

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