How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be?

How Big Should A Cat Carrier Be

A cat’s carrier should be one and a half times the size of the cat. It should be large enough to allow easy movement and turning for your cat, allowing it to raise its head without scratching the top and sides of the crate. If the carrier is too big, the cat will have a hard time trying to balance without sliding from one side to the other. A carrier that is too small will not be comfortable.

If you are looking for the perfect size carrier for your cat, then keep reading.

How big should a cat carrier be?

As a general rule, you can tell if a carrier is the right size for your cat by checking its height and length. If your cat can stand up without bending and turn around in the carrier, then this is the right size for short trips.

However, if you are looking for a carrier to use for long distance travel with your cat, there are a couple of other factors to consider. Make sure the carrier has space for a food and water bowl. Even though the carrier should be large enough to have space for your pet to turn around comfortably, it should not be so large that the cat is bouncing around in it.

The best way to figure out what size carrier to get is to measure your cat. Measure the length of your cat from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail using a measuring tape. Add four inches to the dimensions. The final dimensions are the right length for the carrier you need. Then measure the height of your cat from the ground to the top of its head, again adding four inches. The final measurement is the best height for the carrier you need.

There might not be a carrier with the exact same measurements, but you should try getting one that has dimensions as close as possible to your measurements.

Also check the carrier’s maximum weight capacity to ensure that it can take the load.

If you end up buying a slightly bigger carrier than intended, fill it with blankets and towels to lessen the space inside.

Types of cat carriers

1. Cardboard

Most cardboard carriers are the same size and do not allow for the cat to comfortably turn around.

Some cats may be able to chew through the cardboard. It is not easy to clean if the cat soils it during travel.

It is difficult to secure the opening, so the cat may be able to push or pull its way out of the carrier into a busy or dangerous area.

Cardboard carriers are usually given to new cat parents at the time of adoption. It should not be used as a regular carrier because it is not built for long term use.

You can use it as a fun hideout for your cat at home, though.

2. Soft-sided

These are usually made with firm but flexible material, such as polyester, nylon, or microfiber, and are not as bulky as hard plastic carriers. They are also not as sturdy or supportive as hard plastic carriers.

Soft-sided carriers are pliable which makes it easier to maneuver them into tight spaces, like under an airplane seat.

Most soft-sided carriers have multiple openings. They are harder to clean if your cat gets carsick. The cat’s scratching may tear up the carrier. Some cats may be able to get out of the carrier by pushing their way through the zipper.

3. Hard-sided

Hard-sided carriers are easy to use and more durable than all the other styles. The hard shell provides a sturdy space for your cat to chill while traveling. They are easy to clean when soiled.

Hard carriers do not come with their own padding, but you can place towels or blankets inside it to make it more comfortable.

The biggest downside for hard-sided carriers is that they are bulky and hard to stow away when not in use.

4. Rolling suitcase or stroller

These are roomier for your cat and allow them to see their surroundings. These are ideal for families that cannot lift their cat, because they can just roll the cat around. Unfortunately, they can be hard to clean if they have been soiled. It can also be frightening for the cat if it is being rolled across loud and bumpy pavement.

5. Backpack

These carriers can be fun because the cat is allowed to see the surroundings, but they can be cramped and uncomfortable for the cat. These are useful for short trips ranging from 15 to 45 minutes.

Can two cats travel in one carrier?

No, it is better to have separate carriers that fit each of your cats instead of having them travel together in one big carrier. Cramming two cats into one small carrier is uncomfortable and could be very stressful for both cats. Even cats who are bonded can show aggression towards one another during a trip if they are in the same carrier. The victim of the aggression may be much harder to get into the carrier next time.


Your cat’s carrier should be one and a half times the size of your cat. Make sure the carrier size is optimum for your cat by measuring its length (from the nose to the tip of its tail) and its height (from the ground to the top of its head). Add four inches to both measurements and use the final dimensions as a guide for the ideal carrier to buy.

You should also choose the type of carrier depending on the length and kind of trip you plan on taking with your cat. If you want a carrier for short trips, like to the vet, you can use a backpack or soft-sided carrier. If you need a carrier for long car trips, a hard-sided carrier is the best option because it is more sturdy.

Do not put two cats in one carrier to travel. Even bonded cats will become aggressive in a cramped and stressful situation.

Image: / Ekaterina Fedulyeva