When shopping for a carrier for your cat, you may be tempted to think bigger is better. You might feel it would be far more comfortable for your cat to be able to stretch out during travel.
Larger Isn’t Necessarily Better When it Comes to Cat Carriers
Actually, it’s not a comforting feeling for your cat to be placed in a carrier too large for her. Cats prefer to feel their backs up against something and that creates a feeling of security. When you look at a frightened cat in a shelter or veterinary clinic cage, she’ll be in a corner with her back against the wall. There’s security in knowing at least no one can ambush her from behind. That same feeling helps her when in the carrier. The fact she can easily feel her back against one or two of the carrier sides provides some relief.
When the carrier is too big, it’s uncomfortable when you’re carrying her because she’ll end up sliding from one side to the other. It’s also extremely awkward for you to balance the carrier that’s too big. Have you ever tried to balance a large carrier when there’s about 12 pounds of cat sloshing around from one side to the other? It’s not good for the cat and it’s definitely not good for the health of your back!
Two Cats in One Carrier? Not a Good Idea
If you have a couple of cats and you’re planning to buy one big carrier so they can be together, it would be a better idea to buy two carriers that will ideally fit one cat in each one. First of all, there may be times when you’re only bringing one cat with you (for example, if only one cat needs to visit the veterinarian) and being in that big carrier is awkward. Additionally, cats who are put in the carrier together could possibly show aggression toward each other if the travel becomes stressful. A trip to the veterinarian may result in a case of one cat showing aggression to the other on the ride back home.
Cat Carriers That are too Small
On the other hand, a carrier that was a good fit when your cat was a kitten may be too small if she has grown into a large adult. Being stuffed into a carrier that causes her to feel cramped will only add to whatever anxiety she may be feeling about having to travel in the first place.
What Cat Carrier Size is Best?
Generally, a carrier should be one and a half times the size of your cat. It should give her enough room to stand up and turn around. If you’re buying a carrier for a kitten, she’ll be growing pretty fast, so get a regular sized carrier that you think will be appropriate for when she reaches her adult size. During those kitten months, you can line the carrier with a thick towel so she doesn’t go sliding all over the place while in transit.
Need More Information?
For more specifics on which carrier is best and how to help your cat get used to travel, refer to any of Pam’s books. Be sure and check out CatWise, the latest release from best-selling author Pam Johnson-Bennett. In CatWise, Pam answers 150 of the most-asked cat behavior questions.
Pam is unable to respond to comments. If you have questions about cat behavior you can find many answers in the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett as well as in the articles on our site. If your cat displays a change in behavior, contact your veterinarian because there may be an underlying medical cause. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.