What Size Cat Carrier Do I Need
Traveling Comfortably with Cats – Guide to Cat Carrier Sizes
Perhaps, the first and the most important thing you should have before owning a cat (or any pet) is a pet carrier. After all, it is the first accessory they will use from the time you take them from the cattery to your home.
There are a few things you need to consider when getting your cat a carrier, but more than anything else, you should make sure you get the right size. In this write-up, you will understand the importance of getting the right carrier size for your cat. One that will leave him comfortable during your travel.
Why Do You Need a Cat Carrier?
A cat carrier is an investment that is not just limited to cat owners who love to travel. At some points during your cat’s life, you will have to drive him to the vet, to the park or to a friend’s house. The carrier will provide your cat that level of security while traveling while making it less stressful for you, too.
Driving or traveling with a cat without a carrier can be dangerous for both you and your cat.
During travels, cats can get nervous and may climb anywhere they can put their claws. They may get under your pedals, in front of your dashboard, or your steering wheel. They may scratch, bite, or distract you from driving.
Or, if you aren’t driving and are in public transport, they may bolt out from your arms and can get lost or injured even before you react.
Look at the situation from your cat’s perspective. Moggies like it comfortable and cozy. That’s why they almost always chose to be in dark, enclosed spaces. Ever wondered why you find them hiding out in paper bags and cardboard boxes? Yes, that’s why.
It would be best if you had a cat carrier to provide your cat the comfort and security while traveling.
Why Size Matters?
Buying a cat carrier may get you the impression that bigger is better. It is not always the case. It is the same with a cat carrier that is too small.
A carrier too large for your cat gives off the feeling of isolation and anxiousness. Not to mention the chances of them getting thrown against the sides of the carrier during transport. A small carrier, on the other hand, may not give the comfort they need since they may not be able to stretch around freely.
Felines should be able to stand, sit, and turn around inside their carrier. As a rule, the cat carrier should be one and a half the size of your cat. A cat carrier too big will leave them trying to balance as they slide from one side to another uncomfortably. Even humans won’t like traveling like they are on a ride at a park.
In getting your cat a carrier, you must consider a regular-sized one that you think will be appropriate for until when they reach their adult size. You should also take into account the space that the food and water bowls will consume, especially if you will be traveling very long distances.
The Right Size Cat Carrier – How Do You Know?
Generally, you can check if the cat carrier is the perfect fit merely by looking at your cat while inside the cat carrier. Can she stand up without hunkering? Can she turn around with ease? If she can, and you are only planning to use it on trips to the vet, then it can be considered fitting.
However, if you are looking for a cat carrier that you can use for long drives with your cat, then there are a few more things you have to consider than just the cat being able to stand up and turn around.
For long travels with a cat, you have to take into consideration that there is enough place not just for the cat but for a litter tray, a food bowl, and a water bowl. There are cat carriers that come integrated with these, and if that is more convenient for you, then make sure that the space within is still large enough for the cat.
But, if the budget won’t allow you, then a cat carrier that can accommodate your cat and his things will suffice. Make sure the cat carrier you are getting is not too large. Cats aren’t big fans of traveling. They live by habit, so leaving their comfort zone will make them feel very afraid.
Oversized cat carriers will give you a far corner for your cat to hide. The cat veiling too far is because cats love to feel their back against the wall for that sense of security. Imagine how distant that corner would be from the entry point for a large cat carrier.
Measuring Your Cat for Choosing the Right Size
We can’t emphasize the importance of the cat carrier more substantial than the cat. But, to make sure you are getting the right size, you can measure your cat’s length and height. Here’s how you can:
Step 1. Length
Get the distance from the top of its nose to the tip of its tail using a measuring tape. Once you have that, add 4 inches to the measurement you took. For instance, your cat’s nose to tail length is 12 inches – add 4 inches. It will give you a size of 16 inches. This measurement should give you the right range for the carrier you need for your cat.
Step 2. Height
Height-wise, you have to get the measurement from the ground to the top of the head. Again, add 4 inches to the size you have, and it should give you the right height for the need carrier you need for your cat.
You may not be able to find a cat carrier that is according to the size you ended up with but, you can get the one that is closest to the dimensions you have. Be sure to examine the interior aspects while checking out the carrier.
If you are still confused with getting the right size for your cat carrier, there are travel crate size calculator that can help you figure out the right dimension. Jetpets have their online crate size calculator that will guide you with the minimum size carrier you need.
The size calculator will ask you for:
- The distance from the top of the nose to the root of the tail
- The ground to the highest point of the animal
- The ground to the elbow joint, and the width of the widest point of the animal
You also have to consider the facial structure of your cat, whether they are snub nose or not. Traveling local or internationally may require specific cat carriers too. You will get the least size of the cat carrier you need for your tabby after keying in these details.
Can You Carrier-Pool Cats?
It is not a good idea to have two cats in a single carrier. They may fight, tough play, and may end up injuring each other. Ideally, you should get separate carriers if you have multiple cats to travel with. But, if you need to carry both in a single carrier, then make sure to get the biggest crate possible.
You may transfer to the dogs’ side part of the market since cats’ side usually offers smaller size carriers.
What If You Have A Small Kitten?
While it has been said that the cat should be able to stand up and turn around freely inside the cat carrier and how it should be at least 1.5 times the length of your cat, it is different for kittens.
Baby cats have a significant amount of growth rate. Therefore, when you get a carrier that is 1.5 times larger than your kitten, do not be surprised when after a couple of months, she has outgrown the cat carrier. Eventually, you will have to buy another one.
If you need a cat carrier for your little one, the best way is to figure out how big she will turn out to be when she becomes an adult. Weigh up on her current size, the amount of time until she reaches the adult stage, and her breed. Talk to a cat expert if you need help estimating how big your cat will grow.
Once you figured out the probable size of your kitten when she becomes an adult, then you can apply the same rule of multiplying it by 1.5. That’s the size of the carrier you should get.
Traveling By Plane
If you and your cat travel by plane, be sure to adhere to IATA’s (International Air Transport Association) carrier requirements. Airports do not allow pets to fly unless they are in an approved carrier. They have a specific size for every pet, and your pet should be in the right size of the carrier.
Consider IATA-approved carrier based on the specific construction materials, like:
- Rigid plastic, wood, fiberglass or metal
- Ventilation on three sides for domestic travel, four sides for international travel
- No part of the pet – nose, toes, or tail should protrude out of the carrier
- Attachments should be secured with metal bolts and nuts
Cats get terrified the moment they leave their comfort zone – your house. Therefore, it would be nice to have the right carrier to use that can eliminate any stresses during travel. Cats will think of the cat carrier as their second home or their home away from home. One where they can snuggle up during the ride no matter how far you are going.
The size of the cat carrier plays a significant role in getting the right hauler for you. Make sure that your cat is familiar and comfortable, and you will both have an enjoyable trip.