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10 Best Cat Carriers for Long-Distance Travel in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

cat in a black cat carrierTraveling with your cat can be a difficult task, and the longer the trip, the harder it can be for both of you. The best way to ensure a trip is as comfortable as possible for your cat is by providing a good carrier that is intended for distance travel. This can allow your cat comfort, space, and shelter, helping them feel more secure and less stressed during the experience. If you’re flying with your cat, you’ll be limited to airline-approved carriers only, but vehicle travel gives you more options. These reviews cover the 10 best cat carriers for long distance travel, no matter how far you have to go. This will help you find the perfect carrier to keep your cat safe and comfortable during your trip. hepper single cat paw divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier
  • Provides lots of space
  • Multiple access points
  • Secures to a car’s seat via two straps
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient pocket
  • Breathable mesh sides
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    EliteField Expandable Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag EliteField Expandable Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag
  • Waterproof
  • Washable pad
  • Expandable sides
  • Best for Kittens
    Pet Fit for Life Popup Cat Carrier Pet Fit for Life Popup Cat Carrier
  • Privacy screens
  • Integrated loops
  • Flexible steel frame
  • Pet Gear Signature Car Seat & Carrier Bag Pet Gear Signature Car Seat & Carrier Bag
  • Rear storage pouches
  • Secures to a car’s seat
  • Washable fleece cover
  • The 10 Best Cat Carriers for Long Distance Travel – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier – Best Overall

    K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier

    Weight limit: 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 40 pounds
    Washable pad: Yes
    Airline approved: No
    For the best overall cat carrier for your long-distance trip, the K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier is the best pick. It’s available in three sizes with weight limits up to 40 pounds and it includes a machine washable pad for maximum comfort. This carrier opens on the front, side, and top for easy access to get your cat in and out. This carrier has a strap that secures around a car’s headrest and a strap on the back that allows it to be buckled into place for safety. The shape of the carrier provides more space than traditional cat carriers and the mesh sides and top allow your cat to keep an eye on things while you travel. The included pad has a tendency to slip around, so it may need to be secured to keep it from slipping during the trip.
    Pros
    • Three sizes available
    • Included pad is washable
    • Multiple access points to get your cat in and out
    • Secures to a car’s seat via two straps
    • Provides lots of space
    • Mesh sides make it breathable and creates visibility for your cat
    Cons
    • Included pad may slip

    2. Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag – Best Value

    Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Weight limit: 10 pounds, 15 pounds
    Washable pad: No
    Airline approved: Yes
    The best cat carrier for your long-distance trip for the money is the Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag. This carrier is available in two sizes for cats up to 10 pounds and 15 pounds. It is airline approved and allows you access from the front and the top. It has mesh walls to provide good airflow and visibility for your cat and a soft, padded bottom for comfort. It has a carry handle and shoulder strap, as well as a pocket that allows you to bring your cat’s essentials with you. Some cats may be able to unzip this carrier if they’re committed, so you may have to latch the zipper for safety.
    Pros
    • Best value
    • Two sizes available
    • Multiple access points to get your cat in and out
    • Mesh sides make it breathable and creates visibility for your cat
    • Carry handle and shoulder strap make it easy to use
    • Pocket allows you to bring your cat’s essentials
    Cons
    • May need to be latched to keep a cat from unzipping it

    3. EliteField Expandable Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag – Premium Choice

    EliteField Expandable Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Weight limit: 15 pounds, 20 pounds
    Washable pad: Yes
    Airline approved: Yes
    [/su_table] If you’ve got extra to spend on your cat’s long-distance carrier, the premium pick is the EliteField Expandable Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag. This carrier is available in two sizes up to 20 pounds and three colors. It includes a washable pad and expandable sides, allowing you to give your cat extra space to move around while you’re in the airport or at a rest stop. It’s waterproof and has carry handles and a shoulder strap. It also includes mesh panels for air flow and multiple openings for easy access to your cat. This is another carrier that may be unzipped by your cat from the inside, so investing in some type of latch or lock is safest.
    Pros
    • Two sizes available
    • Three colors available
    • Included pad is washable
    • Expandable sides with breathable mesh
    • Carry handle and shoulder strap make it easy to use
    • Waterproof
    • Multiple access points to get your cat in and out
    Cons
    • May need to be latched to keep a cat from unzipping it
    • Premium price

    4. Pet Fit for Life Popup Cat Carrier – Best for Kittens

    Pet Fit for Life Popup Cat Carrier

    Weight limit: 20 pounds
    Washable pad: Yes
    Airline approved: No
    If you have a kitten that isn’t used to being in a carrier, the Pet Fit for Life Popup Cat Carrier is the top pick. This cute gingham print carrier is only available in one size, but it is large enough to give your kitten plenty of space to move. It has multiple openings and mesh sides for breathability. It also has privacy coverings that can be rolled up and down, allowing you to give your kitten extra privacy and security when needed. It has a flexible steel frame to prevent collapse and four integrated loops that allow you to secure it into place outdoors. It also has a washable bed pad for maximum comfort. It includes a free collapsible bowl and cat teaser toy. This is larger than most carriers, so it may take up too much space during travel.
    Pros
    • Multiple access points to get your cat in and out
    • Mesh sides make it breathable and creates visibility for your cat
    • Privacy screens give extra security
    • Flexible steel frame prevents collapse
    • Integrated loops allow it to be secured outdoors
    • Included pad is washable
    • Includes free bowl and toy
    Cons
    • Only available in one size
    • May take up too much space

    5. Pet Gear Signature Car Seat & Carrier Bag

    Pet Gear Signature Car Seat & Carrier Bag

    Weight limit: 20 pounds
    Washable pad: Yes
    Airline approved: No
    The Pet Gear Signature Car Seat & Carrier Bag includes a removable pad with washable fleece cover. It has multiple openings and front and top mesh windows for maximum breathability. This carrier can be secured in your car via the seatbelt, and it has an interior tether to keep your pet safe and secure. It has rear storage pouches and carry handles. This carrier is only available in one size for pets up to 20 pounds. The firm part of the base is made from hard cardboard, so if your kitty is prone to peeing in its kennel, this isn’t a good option. The pad is less padded than some, so it may not be as comfortable as some other options.
    Pros
    • Included pad has a washable fleece cover
    • Multiple access points to get your cat in and out
    • Mesh sides make it breathable and creates visibility for your cat
    • Secures to a car’s seat and has interior tether
    • Rear storage pouches
    • Carry handles make it easy to use
    Cons
    • Only one size available
    • Cardboard base isn’t water resistant
    • Not as padded as some other options

    Related Read: 5 Best Cat Car Carriers With a Litter Box


    6. Cool Runners Pet Tube Soft Kennel Car Crate

    Cool Runners Pet Tube Soft Kennel Car Crate

    Weight limit: 20 pounds
    Washable pad: No
    Airline approved: No
    The Cool Runners Pet Tube Soft Kennel Car Crate is a unique option for vehicle travel. This carrier is essentially a large cat tunnel that zips closed, allowing your cat to have 47 inches of space to move around. It is not padded or washable, but it is waterproof and does collapse into a very manageable size. This is one of the few carrier options that allows you to keep more than one cat in the same carrier. It features adjustable straps that allow you to use the car’s headrests to secure it, as well as mesh sides for maximum airflow. It only opens on one end and takes up quite a bit of space.
    Pros
    • Largest option
    • Waterproof
    • Collapses into a manageable size
    • Allows you to have more than one cat in the carrier
    • Adjustable straps allow you to secure it to the car’s headrests
    • Mesh sides make it breathable and creates visibility for your cat
    Cons
    • Not padded or washable
    • Only available in one size
    • Only opens on one end

    7. KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Dog & Cat Carrier

    KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Dog & Cat Carrier

    Weight limit: 18 pounds
    Washable pad: No
    Airline approved: Yes
    The KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Dog & Cat Carrier is a good option for airline travel. It can be used as a carrier, backpack, or rolling bag, and it is airline approved. This carrier is available in three color options, but it is only available in one size. It only opens in one spot, but it has three mesh panels to allow for breathability. This isn’t the best option for vehicle travel since it doesn’t provide a lot of space, but it is a great option for airplanes. Although it is typically airline approved, some people have reported it being too large to comfortably fit on the airplane.
    Pros
    • Can be used three ways
    • Three color options available
    • Usually a good option for airline travel
    • Mesh sides make it breathable and creates visibility for your cat
    Cons
    • Only available in one size
    • Only opens in one place
    • Doesn’t provide much space for vehicle travel
    • May not comfortably fit on all airplane

    8. Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel

    Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel

    Weight limit: Unlisted
    Washable pad: No
    Airline approved: Yes
    The Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Dog & Cat Kennel is available in two sizes and two colors. It is a hard-sided kennel that can be opened from the front and the top. The top and front have metal grating and the sides have cutouts for airflow. The weight limit for this product is not listed, but the manufacturer does provide recommendations on the size of pet that can fit based on the pet’s length and height. Although airline approved, it may not be the correct size for airline cabin travel. It doesn’t include a pad, but it is made to be very secure. Hard-sided kennels can be difficult to manage and carry.
    Pros
    • Two sizes available
    • Two colors available
    • Opens from the front and the top
    • Grating and cutouts make it breathable and create visibility for your cat
    Cons
    • Weight limit isn’t listed
    • May not be the correct size for airline cabin travel
    • No pad included
    • May be too bulky and difficult to manage

    9. EliteField Deluxe Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    EliteField Deluxe Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Weight limit: 15 pounds, 20 pounds
    Washable pad: Yes
    Airline approved: Yes
    The EliteField Deluxe Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is available in two sizes and six colors. It includes a cardboard bottom with a washable cover. It has a built-in leash to keep your cat secure inside of the bag. It has a pocket to keep your cat’s items together and a carry handle and shoulder strap. It has mesh netting in the front and sides, but it does have less mesh than most other options. It also only opens in one place. This is not a good option for long-distance vehicle travel because it allows your cat minimal space to move around.
    Pros
    • Two sizes available
    • Six colors available
    • Built-in leash keeps your cat secure
    • Carry handle and shoulder strap make it easy to use
    Cons
    • Cardboard base isn’t water resistant
    • Less mesh than most other carriers
    • Doesn’t provide much space to move around
    • Only opens in one place

    10. Pet Fit for Life Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack

    Pet Fit for Life Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack

    Weight limit: 20 pounds
    Washable pad: No
    Airline approved: No
    The Pet Fit for Life Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack has a clear plexiglass front that allows your kitty to safely see into the outside world. It also has an unfolding back, allowing you to open up extra space for your cat when you aren’t wearing the pack. It has ventilation holes and a soft pad for comfort. It’s only available in one size and color and is not airline approved. It comes with a free cat teaser toy to keep your cat entertained during the trip. The fabric is made from nylon, making for easy cleanup if needed. The included pad is not removable or washable. It has less ventilation space than most other options.
    Pros
    • Clear plexiglass front allows your cat to see the outside world
    • Unfolding back allows for extra space
    • Soft pad is included
    Cons
    • Only one size available
    • Not airline approved
    • Included pad is not removable or washable
    • Less ventilation than most other options

    Related Read: 10 Best Cat Carriers – Reviews & Top Picks

    hepper cat paw divider

    Buyer’s Guide

    Choosing the Right Cat Carrier for Your Long-Distance Travel Needs

    The size of your cat isn’t the only important aspect of carrier selection when it comes to long-distance travel. With long-distance travel, you need to take your cat’s comfort and preferences into mind. You’ll also need to consider what your travel plans include. If you’ll be traveling through airports or making a non-stop driving trip, you’ll need a carrier that is exceptionally safe and secure to keep your cat from sliding around and to prevent the possibility of your cat breaking out of the carrier during the trip. A carrier with enough space to allow you to add food, water, or a litter box if needed is also a good idea. If you’ll be able to stop at the end of the day and stay in a hotel or somewhere else with a secure space, then giving your cat plenty of space during travel is less important. hepper cat paw divider

    Conclusion

    The best overall cat carrier for long-distance travel is the K&H Pet Products Travel Safety Pet Carrier, which provides space and breathability with plenty of safety and security. If you’re on a tight budget, then the airline approved Petmate Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Carrier Bag. For kittens, the best pick is the Pet Fit for Life Popup Cat Carrier, which will give your kitten space and a sense of safety and security thanks to the window screens. These reviews cover the 10 best cat carriers for long-distance travel, so use these to help you identify what your cat needs and choose the best carrier to meet those needs.