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10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Tabby cat eating from inside inside a cat carrier box

10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Tabby cat eating from inside inside a cat carrier box Transporting a cat from place to place is a common stressful experience for cat owners. Some cats can be particularly nervous or timid when being placed in a carrier. Cat carriers come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and some perform better with nervous cats.

Our reviews of cat carriers will help you find carriers that will keep your cat safe while you’re driving or traveling. Explore these options to determine the best cat carrier that will keep your nervous cat contained and as comfortable as possible.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Sherpa Airline Approved Expandable Cat & Dog Travel Carrier Sherpa Airline Approved Expandable Cat & Dog Travel Carrier
  • Provides plenty of ventilation
  • Two entry points
  • Expandable back panel
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Sport Pet Cat Carrier Sport Pet Cat Carrier
  • Easy to clean
  • Can hold up to 35 pounds
  • Collapsible
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Mirapet USA Airline Travel Carrier Dog & Cat Crate Mirapet USA Airline Travel Carrier Dog & Cat Crate
  • Collapsible
  • Front and back entrances
  • No assembly required
  • Richell Double Door Cat & Dog Carrier Richell Double Door Cat & Dog Carrier
  • Has a seat belt latch
  • Has a removable side door
  • Collapsible
  • Jespet Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Jespet Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Travel Dog & Cat Carrier
  • Safety belt strap latches to cars and luggage
  • Includes a padded shoulder strap
  • Three entry points
  • The 10 Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats

    1. Sherpa Airline Approved Expandable Cat & Dog Travel Carrier – Best Overall

    Sherpa Airline Approved Expandable Cat & Dog Travel Carrier

    Dimensions: 11” W x 19.5” L x 10.5” H
    Weight: 2.85 pounds
    Material: Polyester, synthetic fabric

    The Sherpa Airline Approved Expandable Cat & Dog Travel Carrier is both sturdy and cozy, and it will ensure your cat stays safe and comfortable during transport. This soft carrier can provide plenty of privacy for your cat, as it has one solid side that hides them from view. The other panels are made with breathable mesh to ensure your cat remains in a well-ventilated space while they travel. The back panel is expandable for cats that need a little extra space.

    This cat carrier also makes traveling with your cat more convenient. It has two entry points that make it easier for you to reach your cat, and each one uses locking zippers to keep your cat safe inside and prevent escapes. The carrier has a storage pocket where you can keep treats, toys, and other items to help your cat stay calm. An additional bonus is that this carrier fits the standard airline travel requirements for most major airlines.

    The only thing to be mindful of is that cats may tear through the mesh panel if they have a habit of scratching. However, this carrier is designed to withstand traveling and can last a long time with proper care, which makes it the best overall cat carrier for nervous cats.

    Pros
    • Provides plenty of ventilation
    • Two entry points
    • Expandable back panel
    • Approved by most major airlines
    Cons
    • Cats may scratch through the mesh

    2. Sport Pet Cat Carrier – Best Value

    Sport Pet Cat Carrier

    Dimensions: 75” W x 23.13” L x 17.25” H
    Weight: 6.41 pounds
    Material: Polycarbonate and ABS plastic

    If you’re looking for a budget-friendly cat carrier, the Sport Pet Cat Carrier is a reliable choice. Considering its durability and multiple convenient features, we consider this carrier to be the best cat carrier for nervous cats for the money. It’s made with tough and durable polycarbonate and ABS plastic to ensure your cat stays inside a safe and secure environment. The material is also very easy to clean and just needs a quick wipe-down if it gets messy. However, it’s not leakproof, and fluids can seep through the sides. So, it’s important to line the base with something absorbent.

    The side panels are lined with holes to ensure your cat can observe their surroundings from a private and well-ventilated space. You can unlatch one of the side panels to make it easier to get your cat in and out. It’s also collapsible and can lie flat, which makes it easy to store away when not in use. This carrier is big enough to hold two small cats or one large cat, up to 35 pounds.

    Pros
    • Easy to clean
    • Can hold up to 35 pounds
    • Collapsible
    • Two entrance options
    Cons
    • Not leakproof

    3. Mirapet USA Airline Travel Carrier Dog & Cat Crate – Premium Choice

    Mirapet USA Airline Travel Carrier Dog & Cat Crate

    Dimensions: 12” W x 21.5” L x 14” H
    Weight: 8.25 pounds
    Material: Polypropylene, metal

    The Mirapet USA Airline Travel Carrier Dog & Cat Crate is a strong and sturdy cat carrier that also has many notably convenient features. It’s collapsible and lies flat so that you can store it away easily. It doesn’t require any tools for assembly, and you can quickly snap it into shape when you need to use it. It also has a front and back entrance for easy access.

    This heavy-duty carrier is made with durable plastic and metal wiring that makes it virtually escape-proof, but this does mean that it’s on the heavier side. It has a built-in handle to make carrying and transport easier. However, it’s not ergonomic and can be uncomfortable to grip, especially if you have a bigger cat.

    Pros
    • Collapsible
    • Front and back entrances
    • No assembly required
    Cons
    • Heavier than most other carriers

    4. Richell Double Door Cat & Dog Carrier

    Richell Double Door Cat & Dog Carrier

    Dimensions: 4” W x 22.4” L x 14.4” H
    Weight: 5.3 pounds
    Material: Plastic

    The Richell Double Door Cat & Dog Carrier is priced on the higher end, but it’s one of the best options for traveling by car. Its seat belt latch keeps it in place during drives, and its handle makes it easy to transport in and out of vehicles. The body of the carrier has 360° ventilation but still offers plenty of privacy for cats to feel safe and hidden.

    The carrier has a top door and a side door. The side door is completely removable, which makes it a great hideaway for your cat in your home. It’s also collapsible, and you can store it away easily when you’re not using it.

    Pros
    • Has a seat belt latch
    • Has a removable side door
    • Collapsible
    Cons
    • Relatively expensive

    5. Jespet Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Travel Dog & Cat Carrier

    Jespet Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Travel Dog & Cat Carrier

    Dimensions: 12” W x 19” L x 12” H
    Weight: 3 pounds
    Material: Polyester and synthetic fabric

    This Jespet carrier is another excellent soft-sided carrier that’s also airline-approved. It has a non-slip bottom and a safety belt strap that you can use to secure it to car seat belts or luggage handles. It comes with a padded shoulder strap that frees up both your hands while carrying your cat. It comes with a plush pad that’s removable and machine washable. The carrier has three entry points located on the front, top, and side. It’s made with waterproof fabric and has breathable mesh sidings that are also scratch proof.

    The one thing that’s lacking with this carrier is storage. It has a fairly large side pocket that you can use to store treats and other essential pet supplies. However, the pocket doesn’t have zippers, so the contents are prone to falling out.

    Pros
    • Safety belt strap latches to cars and luggage
    • Includes a padded shoulder strap
    • Three entry points
    • Made with scratch-proof material
    Cons
    • Side pocket doesn’t have zippers

    6. Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier

    Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier

    Dimensions: 5” W x 22” L x 10” H
    Weight: 4.5 pounds
    Material: Nylon

    Sleepypod is a reputable brand that manufactures a line of high-quality pet carriers. The Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier is one of the few carriers that has been crash test-certified by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS). It has straps on both sides that keep it securely in place while you’re driving. It also has a sleeve that you can use to rest it on top of your luggage case. The two large zipper pockets can hold all your cat’s essential travel supplies.

    Your cat will also feel safe and cozy while inside this carrier. It has a mesh lining that encourages airflow while keeping your cat hidden from view. The cozy interior provides comfortable transport for cats, and you can purchase a compatible warmer pad to help heat-seeking cats stay warm.

    Even though the Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier is expensive, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. It’s specifically designed with pet safety as the top priority, and it’s a reliable carrier if your cat needs to be transported frequently for vet visits and other reasons for travel.

    Pros
    • CPS-certified
    • Has safety straps for cars
    • Two large zippered pockets
    Cons
    • Relatively expensive

    7. ROVERLUND Airline-Compliant Pet Carrier

    ROVERLUND Airline-Compliant Pet Carrier

    Dimensions: 8” W x 19” L x 11.5” H
    Weight: 3.2 pounds
    Material: Polyester

    This lightweight and stylish cat carrier makes traveling with cats easy and convenient. You can carry it by using either the handle straps or the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap can also disconnect from the carrier and be used as a leash.

    The carrier is made with durable marine and mountaineering-grade materials and comes with a 1-year warranty. The bottom is leak-proof and also has a plush lining for added comfort. The sides are lined all around with breathable mesh to ensure your cat feels comfortable at all times. The transparent siding can help you easily keep an eye on how they’re doing. However, cats with shy or timid personalities may feel a little over-exposed.

    Pros
    • Shoulder strap can be used as a leash
    • Comes with a 1-year warranty
    • Leak-proof bottom
    Cons
    • Mesh sidings can make cats feel overexposed

    8. EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

    Dimensions: 10” W x 10” L x 13” H
    Weight: 2.2 pounds
    Material: Polyester and synthetic fabric

    The EliteField Soft-Sided Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag is another great choice for nervous cats that require frequent transports and trips. It has a soft and comfortable interior lining, and it’s lined with mesh only on the top half so that cats will feel hidden and safe from view. You can carry this carrier by the handle strap or with the accompanying shoulder strap. It also has a luggage sleeve that enables you to settle the carrier on top of your luggage.

    This carrier comes with a removable plush mat, and both the carrier and mat are machine washable. Overall, this carrier is a good budget-friendly option for many cats. However, it may not be the best fit for cats that have a tendency to scratch or bite. The mesh lining isn’t the most durable, and cats can scratch holes in it.

    Pros
    • Soft and comfortable interior lining
    • Shoulder strap included
    • Machine washable
    Cons
    • Cats may scratch through the mesh

    9. Pet Gear View 360 Booster Travel System Dog & Cat Carrier

    Pet Gear View 360 Booster Travel System Dog & Cat Carrier

    Dimensions: 12” W x 20” L x 18.5” H
    Weight: 8.5 pounds
    Material: Mesh and synthetic fabric

    If you’re looking for a cat carrier that’s compatible with cars, the Pet Gear View 360 Booster Travel System Dog & Cat Carrier is a considerable option. It comes with a booster seat frame that seats your cat comfortably and securely within the carrier. It’s made with breathable mesh sidings that’ll keep your cat cool and help prevent motion sickness. The see-through siding also enables your cat to observe their surroundings while you can always maintain a clear view of them.

    This carrier has a large handle that you can grip with your hands or hang on your arm, so it’s relatively comfortable to carry around. It can hold up to 25 pounds. However, many cat owners have noticed that the dimensions might be a little too small for large cat breeds.

    Pros
    • Comes with a car booster seat frame
    • Provides a clear view of your cat
    • Large and comfortable handle
    Cons
    • May be too small for large cat breeds

    10. Diggs Travel Pet Carrier

    Diggs Travel Pet Carrier

    Dimensions: 8” W x 20” L x 11.5”H
    Weight: 4.5 pounds
    Material: Polyester

    The Diggs Travel Pet Carrier is a luxurious pet carrier designed to keep your cat safe during transport. It’s CPS-certified and comes with seat belt clips and a buckle strap that will keep your cat safe and secure while traveling by car. It also has a luggage sleeve and meets travel requirements for most major airlines.

    This carrier also has many convenient features that both you and your cat will appreciate. It has a privacy design that will help your cat feel safe. The interior and bedding insert feels soft and cozy. You can also use Diggs’ pee pads, which fit perfectly onto the bedding. The carrier has ample storage space with zippered pockets that will hold all your essentials securely in place.

    Because this cat carrier is relatively expensive, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of some of its limitations in order to make an informed purchase. It has a lower weight limit of 18 pounds, so it may not be able to carry larger cats. It also doesn’t provide the best ventilation, so cats with thicker coats may not feel as comfortable in it. If these factors aren’t applicable to your cat, then this cat carrier can certainly be a worthwhile investment and help your nervous cat travel safely and more comfortably.

    Pros
    • CPS-certified
    • Comes with seat belt clips for cars
    • Ample amount of storage space
    • Becomes leakproof with pee pads
    Cons
    • Too small for large cat breeds
    • Can get too stuffy for some cats
    • Relatively expensive

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Carrier for Nervous Cats

    When shopping for a cat carrier for nervous cats, it’s important to prioritize safety and look for carriers that have adequate safety features. Here are some key things to keep in mind while shopping for a safe cat carrier.

    Material

    Observe what makes your cat feel most comfortable. Some cats prefer a soft interior and will remain calm in carriers made with durable fabric like nylon. Other cats may have a tendency to scratch or be escape artists. These types of cats require a more rigid carrier that’s made of plastic and metal wires.

    Knowing what types of materials make your cat feel more comfortable can help prevent escapes and help your cat feel calmer as you transport them from place to place.

    Secure Locks

    Nervous cats are more likely to try to escape their carrier. Therefore, always check each carrier for secure locks before purchasing one. If the carrier uses zippers, make sure the zippers have a locking design that prevents cats from pawing and creating a hole to escape through. If you’re looking at a plastic carrier, test out the doors to see if they remain securely locked even if you apply some pressure to them. Make sure that the locking mechanism is durable and that your cat won’t be able to chew through them.

    Tabby cat eating from inside inside a cat carrier box
    Image Credit: kmsh_Shutterstock

    Storage Space

    Traveling with nervous cats often requires bringing extra supplies with you. You may need to bring pee pads, calming treats or sprays, wipes, and other items to make traveling easier for both you and your cat. Choosing a cat carrier with pockets can provide additional convenience by enabling you to store all your cat’s supplies in one space. It’ll also help you access these items quickly and address your cat’s needs immediately.

    Crash Test-Certified

    If you have to drive with your cat frequently, consider investing in a cat carrier that’s crash test-certified by CPS. Beware of misleading marketing gimmicks that use words and phrases like “crash-tested” or “travel-safe.” A cat carrier that has a crash-tested label may mean that it was used in a crash test, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it passed the test.

    The list of CPS-certified pet carriers is small for a reason. CPS has tested thousands of carriers and put them through rigorous testing certification to ensure they’re designed to protect your cat in car accidents.

     

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    Conclusion

    Based on our reviews, the Sherpa Airline Approved Expandable Cat & Dog Travel Carrier is the best option because of its durable build and comfortable interior. The Sport Pet Cat Carrier is a good, affordable option that will keep your cat safe and secure. We recommend the Mirapet USA Airline Travel Carrier Dog & Cat Crate if you have to make frequent trips with your cat and are looking to invest in a high-quality carrier. When shopping for a new cat carrier, look for carriers with plenty of safety features and a sturdy build that make them both escape-proof and comfortable for cats.


    Featured Image Credit: Oleg Batrak, Shutterstock

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