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10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats – 2022 Reviews & Top Picks

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

cat in a cat carrier bag

Comforting your anxious kitty during transportation can be difficult. Not all cats take well to being in a carrier, whether it’s a quick trip to the vet or a cross-country move. Choosing the right carrier to transport and comfort your nervous cat will help make any trip easier for both of you. Some cats are jumpier when nervous, while other cats become more fearfully aggressive and difficult to manage. No matter what type of nervous your cat is, there is a carrier from these reviews to suit your cat’s needs.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Frisco Top Load Plastic Kennel Frisco Top Load Plastic Kennel
  • Front and top openings
  • Made from sturdy plastic
  • 95% pre-consumer recycled plastic content
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Elitefield Soft-Sided Cat Carrier Bag Elitefield Soft-Sided Cat Carrier Bag
  • Waterproof fabric
  • Removable plush bed
  • Mesh netting allows for maximum airflow
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Pet Gear View Travel Stroller Pet Gear View Travel Stroller
  • Has a hard frame
  • Internal clip keeps your cat secure
  • Includes booster seat frame for cars
  • Best for Kittens
    Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Carrier Bag Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Carrier Bag
  • Three storage pockets
  • Made from waterproof nylon
  • Internal tether keeps your kitten safe during travel
  • Elitefield Expandable Cat Carrier Bag Elitefield Expandable Cat Carrier Bag
  • Lightweight and waterproof
  • Sides expand for more space
  • Includes removable pillow and base insert
  • The 10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats

    1. Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Kennel – Best Overall

    Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Kennel

    Size: 4” x 12.3” x 10”, 24.05” x 16.8” x 14.5”
    Color: Blue, pink
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Hard-sided

    The best overall cat carrier for your nervous cat safe and comfortable is the Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Kennel. This hard-sided kennel is made from 95% pre-consumer recycled plastic content, making this an eco-friendly choice. It’s available in two sizes and colors and features a front and top opening and carry handle. The two openings allow you to pick which entry will be easier and less stressful for your cat. It’s easy to assemble and closes securely at every spot to keep your cat safely in the carrier, while still allowing easy access if needed via the two doors, which also makes this the best cat carrier for difficult cats. There’s also an interior moat that allows your cat to stay dry if it has an accident in the kennel.

    Make sure you choose an appropriately sized kennel for your cat because the smaller sized kennel is too small for most cats over 8 – 10 pounds.

    Pros
    • Made from sturdy plastic
    • 95% pre-consumer recycled plastic content
    • Two sizes available
    • Two colors available
    • Front and top openings
    • Easy to assemble
    • Best option for difficult cats
    • Interior moat to collect liquids
    Cons
    • Small size is too small for most adult cats

    2. Elitefield Soft-Sided Cat Carrier Bag – Best Value

    Elitefield Soft-Sided Cat Carrier Bag

    Size: 17” x 9” x 12”, 19” x 10” x 13”
    Color: Black, pink, purple, sky blue, charcoal, sapphire blue
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Soft-sided

    The best cat carrier for your nervous cat for the money Elitefield Soft-Sided Cat Carrier Bag, which is available in two sizes and six colors. This soft-sided carrier is made from durable, waterproof fabric and features a plush bed that is removable. It has mesh netting on the front and sides for maximum airflow. This also allows your kitty to see what’s happening while still having the security of an enclosed space. There’s a storage pocket, seatbelt loop, and strap for attaching the bag to luggage for travel. The coziness of this carrier makes it the best cat carrier for scared cats.

    This carrier only offers front entry, so it may be difficult to get some cats into.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • Two sizes available
    • Six colors available
    • Waterproof fabric
    • Removable plush bed
    • Mesh netting allows for maximum airflow
    • Multiple extra features
    • Best option for scared cats
    Cons
    • Only has one entry

    3. Pet Gear View 360 Travel System Stroller – Premium Choice

    Pet Gear View 360 Travel System Stroller

    Size: 20” x 12” x 18.5”
    Color: Black, pink floral, silver pearl, grey animal
    Airline Approved: No
    Type: Soft-sided with hard frame

    The premium pick for cat carriers for nervous cats is the Pet Gear View 360 Travel System Stroller, which features a soft-sided basket with a hard frame. The basket can be used with the included stroller or on its own and comes in four different color options. It includes a washable pad and has mesh windows for airflow and visibility. It also includes a booster seat frame and can be buckled into a car’s seat. There’s an internal clip, allowing you to tether your cat inside the basket to keep it safe and secure. The stroller offers a smooth ride, which may be soothing to your nervous cat. This carrier is top entry only and is quite bulky, so it isn’t the best option for all circumstances.

    Pros
    • Has a hard frame
    • Includes a stroller frame
    • Four color options
    • Includes a washable pad
    • Mesh windows allow for airflow and visibility
    • Includes booster seat frame for cars
    • Internal clip keeps your cat secure
    • Smooth ride may be soothing to nervous cats
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • Only has one entry
    • Bulkier than most carriers

    4. Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Carrier Bag – Best for Kittens

    Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Carrier Bag

    Size: 16” x 11” x 10”
    Color: Dark blue, smoke grey
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Soft-sided

    The Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Carrier Bag is the best pick of carrier for a nervous kitten. It’s a soft-sided carrier with mesh windows and both front and side openings. It includes a shoulder strap and padded handle for your comfort. This carrier is small enough to keep the smallest of kittens feeling enclosed and secure. It has three storage pockets and a cozy pillow. The non-mesh parts of this carrier are made from waterproof nylon that’s easy to clean.

    There is an internal tether to keep your kitten safe in the carrier during travel. This carrier is great for kittens, but only has a 10-pound weight limit, making it a poor option for adult cats. Some users report finding the zippers to be somewhat sticky, making it difficult to open and close.

    Pros
    • Mesh windows provide airflow
    • Front and side openings
    • Shoulder strap and padded handle
    • Three storage pockets
    • Removable pillow
    • Made from waterproof nylon
    • Internal tether keeps your kitten safe during travel
    Cons
    • Too small for most adult cats
    • Zippers may stick

    5. Elitefield Expandable Soft Cat Carrier Bag

    Elitefield Expandable Soft Cat Carrier

    Size: 17” x 11” x 11”, 20” x 12” x 11”
    Color: Black, grey, navy
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Soft-sided

    The Elitefield Expandable Soft Cat Carrier Bag is a great option for travel, especially with long layovers in airports. The sides of this bag unzip to allow your cat more space to move around without risking your cat escaping. It’s available in two sizes and three colors and has a shoulder strap and padded handle. This carrier is lightweight and waterproof and includes a removable bed and cardboard base for added structure. It has mesh windows for great airflow and visibility during travel.

    The expanded sides may not be comforting all nervous cats, so this won’t be the best option for cats that feel safest in smaller spaces. Multiple users have found the zippers to be prone to breaking, so it’s important to check them frequently.

    Pros
    • Sides expand for more space
    • Two sizes available
    • Three colors available
    • Shoulder strap and padded handle
    • Lightweight and waterproof
    • Includes removable pillow and base insert
    • Mesh windows provide airflow
    Cons
    • Expanded sides aren’t ideal for all nervous cats
    • Zippers may break easily

    Related Read: 10 Best Cat Carriers for Long-Distance Travel – Reviews and Top Picks


    6. Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier Bag

    Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier Bag

    Size: 24” x 17” x 0.5”, 27” x 19” x 0.5”, 30.5” x 20” x 0.5”
    Color: Light blue, lavender, cobalt blue
    Airline Approved: No
    Type: Soft bag

    The Cat-in-the-bag E-Z-Zip Cat Carrier Bag is a unique carrier option for your nervous cat. This carrier consists of a bag for your cat’s body with a head hole, allowing your kitty to see everything that’s happening while retaining the comforting feeling of being contained. It’s available in three sizes and colors and has a carry handle that can also be used as a shoulder strap and seatbelt loop. It’s made from 100% cotton and has a zipper down one side, making it easy to get your cat into the bag. It also has small zippers to allow foot access for nail trims.

    Some people report having difficulty getting their cat’s head through the head hole, and this type of carrier isn’t a good option for nervous cats that need a full enclosure to feel safe. If your cat is difficult to handle, this carrier bag is not the best option.

    Pros
    • Allows your cat’s head to be free while their body is secure
    • Three sizes available
    • Three colors available
    • Carry handle can also be a shoulder strap and seatbelt loop
    • 100% cotton
    • Zipper down the side may make it easier to get your cat in
    • Small zippers allow foot access
    Cons
    • May be difficult to get some cats into this bag
    • May be difficult to get your cat’s head through the head hole
    • Not ideal for cats that need to feel enclosed to feel secure

    7. Catit Cabrio Multi-Functional Cat Kennel

    Catit Cabrio Multi-Functional Cat Kennel

    Size: 20” x 13” x 13.8”
    Color: Blue grey, turquoise
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Hard-sided

    The Catit Cabrio Multi-Functional Cat Kennel is a hard-sided kennel made from sturdy materials. It’s available in two color options and has doors on the front and the top for ease of access. The top opening actually opens the entire top half of the carrier 180˚. The front is transparent, allowing you to keep an eye on your cat. There are holes throughout for airflow, but the enclosed design of the carrier will help your cat feel secure. The carrying handle doubles as a seatbelt loop for car travel. Food and water bowls are included and can be accessed without opening the carrier doors. This carrier can be confusing and difficult to put together and if not put together correctly, this carrier is likely to fall apart with the weight of a cat inside. Due to the complexity of closing the top of this carrier, it may be difficult to close properly if your cat is working to escape the carrier.

    Pros
    • Made from sturdy plastic
    • Two colors available
    • Top opens 180˚
    • Transparent front allows for visibility
    • Carrying handle doubles as a seatbelt loop
    • Included food and water bowls can be accessed without opening the door
    Cons
    • Confusing and difficult to put together
    • May fall apart with cat inside if not properly assembled
    • May be difficult to close the top portion if cat is trying to escape

    8. PetAmi Premium Backpack Cat Carrier

    PetAmi Premium Backpack Cat Carrier

    Size: 16” x 11.5” x 9”
    Color: Grey, heather charcoal, heather grey, light blue, red, royal blue, purple, pink
    Airline Approved: No
    Type: Backpack

    The PetAmi Premium Backpack Cat Carrier is a soft-sided backpack with mesh windows on all four sides for maximum airflow. It’s available in eight colors and it has a solid base for security and a Sherpa lining for comfort. This backpack includes waist and chest straps to keep you comfortable while wearing it. It also has thick shoulder straps for equal weight distribution and comfort. It includes a collapsible bowl for food or water during your travels. This backpack is recommended for cats 12 pounds and smaller, making this a poor option for large cats. Since this is a backpack, you won’t be able to keep an eye on your cat while carrying the bag, which may increase some nervousness in your cat.

    Pros
    • Mesh windows on all four sides to maximize airflow
    • Eight colors available
    • Solid base and Sherpa lining
    • Waist and chest straps and thick shoulder straps maximize your comfort
    • Collapsible bowl included
    Cons
    • Not ideal for large cats
    • Doesn’t allow you to view your cat while carrying the bag

    9. Etna Happy Camper Cat Carrier Bag

    Etna Happy Camper Cat Carrier Bag

    Size: 24” x 12” x 12.5”
    Color: Patterned
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Soft-sided

    The Etna Happy Camper Cat Carrier Bag is made to look like a 70s camper van. It’s large enough for cats up to 20 pounds and features a water-resistant nylon shell and mesh windows. It has a carrying handle and a removable shoulder strap. It has two zippered doors, although they are both front entry doors instead of offering a side or top entry option. This carrier folds flat for storage when not in use. This carrier is listed as airline approved, but it is quite large and may not be approved by most commercial airlines for cabin use. The mesh windows are smaller than the mesh windows on most soft-sided carriers, so it’s not the best option for high airflow, although the enclosed, dark nature of this carrier may be good for some nervous cats.

    Pros
    • Cute appearance
    • Large enough for cats up to 20 pounds
    • Water resistant nylon
    • Carrying handle and removable shoulder strap
    • Two zippered doors
    Cons
    • Both doors are front entry
    • May be too large for most airline’s cabin requirements
    • Mesh windows are smaller than most other soft-sided carriers

    10. Van Ness Calm Carrier E-Z Load Cat Kennel

    Van Ness Calm Carrier E-Z Load Sliding Drawer Cat Kennel

    Size: 20” x 14” x 13”
    Color: Grey and blue
    Airline Approved: Yes
    Type: Hard-sided

    The Van Ness Calm Carrier E-Z Load Sliding Drawer Cat Kennel is a hard-sided kennel that features a slide out base to make it easy to get your kitty in and out, reducing anxiety. It has flow-through ventilation on all four sides and is made from sturdy, impact-resistant plastic. This carrier can hold cats up to 20 pounds. When the drawer is pulled out, the door can be a little flimsy, which can be a little difficult to manage. It’s important to make sure the drawer is fully lined up when sliding it back in to ensure it’s safe and secure. It can slip off track and be difficult to get into place sometimes.

    Pros
    • Slide out drawer for easy access
    • Flow-through ventilation on all four sides
    • Impact-resistant plastic
    • Large enough for cats up to 20 pounds
    Cons
    • Door is loose when drawer is pulled out
    • Not secure if drawer is not properly in place
    • Drawer may slip off track sometimes

    Related Read: 7 Best Cat Carrier for Car Travel – Reviews and Top Picks

    Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Carrier for Nervous Cats

    Choosing the Right Carrier for Your Nervous Cat

    Knowing how to choose the right carrier for your nervous cat means understanding what makes your cat nervous and what helps your cat feel safe. If your cat feels safest when they have the ability to see everything that’s going on, then a carrier with lots of options for visualization is your best option. This includes the Cat-in-the-bag product and any bag with lots of mesh windows. For cats that feel safest when they are in a dark, enclosed space, a more enclosed carrier is ideal. There should be plenty of airflow while still keeping things calm and cozy for your cat.

    a tabby cat in a hard case cat carrier bag

    What Else Should You Consider When Choosing a Carrier?

    Material

    The material of your cat’s carrier should be safe and appropriate for the intended use. For example, animals that travel in airline cargo holds must be in hard-sided carriers. A soft-sided carrier will create a sense of coziness, but it may not be the best option if your cat is prone to having accidents in its carrier.

    Size

    Your carrier should be size appropriate for the size of your cat. Some carriers can only support kittens and small cats and won’t be safe for large cats. Your carrier should safely support the weight of your cat while also allowing your cat to move around. However, when traveling, your cat shouldn’t have enough space in the carrier that they are sliding around.

    Purpose

    What’s the intended use for your cat’s carrier? There are specific requirements when it comes to airline travel, but how else are you planning to use the carrier if not for air travel? For example, if you’re traveling with your cat in a tightly packed car, a hard-sided carrier may be best to ensure your kitty doesn’t get crowded by other items. Soft-sided carriers are a good option for short-term trips or airline cabin travel.

    Conclusion

    Choosing the right carrier for your nervous cat doesn’t have to be difficult. These reviews are intended to serve as a guide to help you find the perfect product. If you’re on a tight budget, the Elitefield Soft-Sided Cat Carrier Bag is a great option that is made to high quality standards. For a kitten, the best option is the Jespet Soft-Sided Sport Carrier Bag, which is made for small pets. The best overall carrier for nervous cats, though, is the Frisco Two Door Top Load Plastic Kennel, which is sturdy and user-friendly while keeping your cat safe and secure.

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