Last Updated: 5 months ago

What are the best cat carriers for long-distance travel?

If you’re planning a cross-country trek with your cat, I’m betting you’re wondering the same thing.

Below, we’ll check out a few great carriers that I’d recommend for the long haul.

Plus, we’ll talk about some tips on how to travel with cats in a car.

Let’s get going, shall we?

Our Top Pick At A Glance

The Best cat carriers for long-distance travel

When it comes to the best cat carriers for long-distance travel, one size does not fit all. Literally.

Let’s look at some considerations to help you pick the right one.

  • Make sure it’s large enough for kitty to sprawl out, stand up, and turn around
  • Consider ventilation and view: make sure kitty gets plenty of air and can see around him
  • Choose something that’s easy for YOU to open and close.
  • Yet not easily opened by your kitty!

Here are our top five picks for the best cat carriers:

1. PetLuv Premium Cat Carrier

PetLuv Premium Cat Carrier
  • Best Fit For Pet: The dimension of our Red color Medium soft sided cat...
  • Versatile Entry: Our dog & cat carrier features both top loading and...
  • Luxurious Comfort: Our Pet crate comes with a removable, washable...

The PetLuv Happy Cat is my #1 pick for many reasons. It’s an all-around fantastic carrier for the long haul. Let’s see why.

Features & Pros

  • It’s super roomy for cats of all sizes.
  • The large holds up to 40 lbs, so it will accommodate even the largest Maine Coon.
  • All-around windows for optimum ventilation and visibility.
  • Tear-resistant heavy duty rubber mesh and closable flaps for added durability.
  • Adjustable seat belt loops, locking zippers and reinforced seams for added safety
  • Four access panels let you reach your kitty from all angles.
  • Includes an adjustable shoulder strap and a removable plush bed.
  • Folds flat for easy storage.


  • Not tear-proof, so if it snags on something, it’ll rip.
  • A few complaints about the zipper not being durable.
  • Determined (or freaked out) kitties CAN tear through the mesh.


This is definitely my pick for the best cat carrier for large cats, but it’s perfect for smaller and average kitties, too.

However, keep in mind that soft carriers with mesh windows are NOT going to hold up to a cat that desperately wants to escape. For those kitties, you may want the next one on our list.

2. Petmate Two-Door Cat Carrier

Petmate Two-Door Cat Carrier
  • MULTIPLE DOORS OFFER EASY ACCESS: Easy load options make it easy and...
  • AIR TRAVEL APPROVED CARRIER: This small dog crate or cat carrier meets...
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE, EASY TO CLEAN: No tools required for assembly. A...

Although I prefer softer carriers for long car rides, if you need a hard-sided one, you can’t go wrong with Petmate.

Out of their massive selection of carriers, I like their two-door top load model as the best cat carrier for difficult cats.

Features & Pros

  • 19″ holds up to 10 lbs, 24″ holds up to 20.
  • Both a front and top entry so you can easily reach your cat.
  • Air travel approved by most airlines, in case part of your trip includes a flight.
  • Ergonomic comfort-grip handle for easy carrying.
  • Ventilation on all sides.
  • Easy-squeeze door latches make opening it a breeze for you (not so much for your cat).


  • You cat can only really see out the front.
  • Squeeze latches aren’t the most secure in my experience.
  • While the 24″ holds up to 20 lbs, it’s really only roomy enough for up to about a 15 lb cat.
  • Uses air holes rather than mesh screen. You’ll need to check carefully for sharp ridges before using.


With 4.5 stars across thousands of reviews, it’s easy to see that this one is well-liked among users.

The small model is just right for munchkins and petite breeds, while the 24″ model is better for most average cats. I wouldn’t recommend it for larger breeds, though.

3. Mr. Peanut’s Expandable Sided Cat Carrier

Mr. Peanut's Expandable Sided Cat Carrier
  • PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that we show the exterior dimensions as well as...
  • AIRLINE REQUIREMENTS - Always keep in mind each airline sets their own...

Mr. Peanut’s cat carrier has nothing to do with Mr. Peanut from Planters. I’m actually surprised they’re allowed to use the name!

Copyright questions aside, though, this really is a top-notch carrier for small to average kitties.

Features & Pros

  • Just unzip one zipper and it instantly becomes roomier.
  • Holds up to 15 lbs.
  • Airline-approved (for the most part, different lines have different policies).
  • Strong and waterproof
  • Breathable mess on all sides.
  • Comes with a removable fleece bed with a plywood base.
  • Padded shoulder strap, name tag, and storage for important papers.
  • Lightweight at only 2.7lbs
  • Family-owned US-based business.
  • They donate a portion of the proceeds towards shelter programs.


  • Measurements are for exterior. Interior space is a bit smaller.
  • Shoulder strap isn’t the most durable.
  • Some say it has a strong plastic odor.
  • Not big enough for large cats.


While there are a few concerning negative reviews, you’ll get that with any product. Overall, most people love Mr. Peanut’s carrier!

That said, it’s only big enough for small to average kitties under 15 lbs. If you have a larger breed, you’ll want to go back up to #1.

4. One for Pets Cat Carrier

One for Pets Cat Carrier
  • Cat Travel Carrier: Spacious interior space; Build-in straps allow...
  • Hammocks and Pads Sold Separately: A flat top to hold photos and show...
  • Double Portable Hammock: Use the double kennel as two separate...

Need a great carrier for two cats?

I looked through a bunch and ultimately decided on this one by One for Pets.

Features & Pros

  • Double front doors, so you can reach just one kitty at a time.
  • Separate compartments for each cat, or turn it into one big carrier for kitties who love to cuddle.
  • Spacious interior gives kitties plenty of room t move around (provided they’re not large breeds).
  • The front mesh windows zip all the way up, making the carrier a cozy nap spot in hotels.
  • Designed for show cats, so it has plenty of nice “extras,” like a flat top to hold photos.
  • Zippered door at each end
  • Built-in straps to connect to a seat belt.
  • Cat Travel Carrier: Spacious interior space; Build-in straps allow safe connection to the seat belt


  • Mesh front isn’t tear-proof.
  • Hammocks and mats in the photos are sold separately on some models, so read closely.
  • No bottom support (unless you buy it separately, of course)
  • Not big or supportive enough for large cats (I’d stick to under 15 lbs).


This one was made for cats who spend a lot of time on the road! Still, I’d only use it for small breeds and calm cats who don’t mind traveling since mesh isn’t tear-proof.

I also don’t love the fact that half of the items shown in the pictures don’t even come with the carrier.

5. Pet Fit For Life Cat Carrier

Pet Fit For Life Cat Carrier
  • Extra large (32"x19"x19") soft sided cat cage with portable litter box...
  • Quality is job #1. Made from carefully selected, super durable nylon...
  • Spacious and comfortable, this car kennel for cats will quickly become...

If you want the best cat car carrier with litter box, go with the Pet Fit for Life model. Again, I looked at a ton of options and feel this is your best choice.

Features & Pros

  • Made with durable high-grade nylon fabric and a steel frame.
  • Extra large model is roomy enough for two average full-grown cats.
  • Fully collapsible for storage.
  • Comes with a washable, soft velvet-covered floor pad
  • Includes a collapsible lined litter box.
  • 2 windows and a zippered front door for plenty of ventilation.
  • Also includes a bonus toy and bowl.
  • Backed with a 100% customer satisfaction, money back guarantee.


  • Litter box is a bit flimsy BUT you’ll find this with all portable litter boxes
  • While big enough for two average cats, it’s NOT big enough for two Maine coons.


Personally, I prefer to keep the litter box separate from the carrier. However, if you want both in one, this one has the best reviews overall.

Some reviews do complain that the litter box isn’t the most durable. You’ll find that with all collapsible options, though. Overall, this is a fantastic long-distance cat carrier.

While there are plenty of other options out there, these the best cat carriers for long distance travel in my opinion. Which one you choose depends entirely on your needs.

How to travel with cats in a car long distances

cat in the cat carrier

Choosing the best cat carrier for long distance travel helps keep kitty comfortable during your journey, but it’s not the only thing to consider.

Let’s check out some tips on traveling with cats in a long car ride. We’ll break it down into before and during your trip.

Before you go

Follow these tips before you head out the door and you’re cat will be a lot safer & happier on the journey.

  • Visit your vet for a check-up and make sure vaccinations are up-to-date. Consider microchipping your cat as well.
  • Find out if there are any prevalent cat diseases at your destination and vaccinate accordingly.
  • Get a certificate of health from your vet (especially if you’re flying at any point).
  • Let your cat get used to the carrier by setting it up and leaving it open so he can explore it.
  • Consider leash-training your cat so you can walk her during pit stops.
  • Make a note of pet-friendly rest stops and hotels along your journey.

During your trip

  • Feed the kitty about three hours before you hit the road each day.
  • Make sure the carrier is secure yet easy for you to reach.
  • Plan to stop every couple of hours so kitty can stretch her legs and use the litter box.
  • Never leave your cat in a hot or cold car for more than a few minutes (basically, as long as it takes you to run in and use the bathroom & grab a coffee).
  • When you do leave kitty in the car for those few minutes, make sure you crack the window.

Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need to be super vigilant any time your cat is out of the carrier, be it during pit stops or in the hotel room.

Make sure everyone is aware of kitty’s location at all times.


cat in the carrier

When you do open the hotel room door, I’d either make sure someone is holding your cat or, if traveling alone, put her in the bathroom.

Maybe I’m over-cautious, but I have an escape artist! I’d be heartbroken beyond belief if I lost him in a strange town because of my own carelessness.

Do you have any other picks for the best cat carriers for long-distance travel? How about basic travel tips? Share below!


5 Best Cat Carriers for Stress-Free Travel: Safe and Secure
Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

Nicole is one of the writers here on CatVills. She’s been a cat lover most of her life and-at one point- counted five felines as part of her family. Today, she’s proud cat mom to two indoor kitties and caregiver for a slew of ferals.

Last update on 2024-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API