Best Cat Carrier for Large Cats 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Taking your large cat to the vet or on a trip on an airplane can be a stressful enough experience as it is. Add into the mix that your larger-than-life cat may well be uncomfortable in some of the smaller carriers and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Instead – take the time to invest in a carrier designed to accommodate your chunky cat in comfort and you can look forward to helping them enjoy their trip in comfort. Cat carriers designed for large cats will be roomier than your average carrier, meaning your cat will be less stressed.

There’s a huge variety of cat carriers out there, so it can be difficult to search through them all to find the best one to suit your cat. Don’t panic though – that’s what we’re here for! Our reviews included testing a range of the best cat carriers for large cats and we’ve rounded up 8 of our favorites right here.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
AmazonBasics Travel AmazonBasics Travel
  • Top-loading
  • Steel-wire front door
  • Best Value
    Second place
    ScratchMe Pet ScratchMe Pet
  • Storage pockets on sides
  • Locking zippers
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    PETKIT PETKIT
  • Inbuilt light
  • Ergonomic design
  • Akinerri Airline Approved Akinerri Airline Approved
  • Expandable design
  • Suitable for cats up to 18 pounds
  • Sherpa Travel Airline Approved Sherpa Travel Airline Approved
  • Airline approved
  • Non-slip strap
  • The 8 Best Cat Carrier for Large Cats – Reviews 2020

    1. AmazonBasics Top-Load Travel Carrier – Best Overall

    AmazonBasics 6009-S Top-Load Travel Carrier

    The top-loading design of this AmazonBasics cat carrier is excellent for making easy work of getting your cat in the carrier – simply open the top and place her in the carrier. No more battling with large cats and small doors! This carrier measures 23” x 15” x 13” which gives your chunky cat plenty of room to lie down, turn around, and stand up comfortably.

    There’s also a door on one side, so you can easily open this to place food or drink inside the carrier. Both doors can be opened with one hand, thanks to the spring-loaded latches which can be pinched together to open and close the door. If you’re looking for a secure and functional carrier to keep your cat safe, you can’t do better than this.

    Pros
    • Top-loading
    • Well ventilated
    • Heavy-duty
    • Steel-wire front door
    Cons
    • The top door can open when carried
    • Not airline approved

    2. ScratchMe Pet Travel Carrier – Best Value

    ScratchMe Pet Travel Carrier

    After our extensive reviews, we recommend the ScratchMe Pet Travel Carrier as the best cat carrier for a large cat for the money. This is a soft-sided carrier, which means it costs significantly less than those made of rigid plastic. It measures 17” x 12” x 12”. This carrier has plenty of great features that make it excellent value for money. These include a firm base plate to provide stability and comfort for your cat and a washable liner.

    The mesh sides offer excellent ventilation for warmer climates, while the supportive flexible wire structure around the sides means this carrier will maintain its shape. This carrier is also airline approved, so if you need to take a trip with your car, this is an excellent choice.

    Pros
    • Easy to store
    • Storage pockets on sides
    • Locking zippers
    • Shoulder strap
    Cons
    • Some cats will damage the mesh
    • 17-pound weight limit

    3. PETKIT Cat Backpack Carrier – Premium Choice

    PETKIT Cat Backpack Carrier

    Our Premium Choice is the PETKIT Cat Backpack Carrier. Packed full of features you won’t see on many other carriers, this is both fun and functional. There’s a window giving your cat a wide field-of-vision to watch the world go by, but this has thoughtfully been tinted a dark brown to decrease environmental stimulus. The PETKIT carrier also offers amazing ventilation thanks to the mini fan which provides air circulation.

    If you’re traveling at night, simply flick on the inbuilt lamp so your cat can see the world in style! The ergonomic design makes this carrier very comfortable to wear on your back too. There’s a detachable pad in the base to keep your cat comfy. The backpack measures 13” x 12” x 18”. While we think this is an excellent and fun backpack-style carrier at the premium end of the market, it’s not quite as practical as our first 2 picks.

    Pros
    • Excellent ventilation
    • Inbuilt light
    • Lightweight
    • Ergonomic design
    Cons
    • Cat can’t lie down
    • Can be difficult to get your cat in and out

    4. Akinerri Airline Approved Pet Carrier

    Akinerri Airline Approved Pet Carrier

    This soft-sided carrier by Akinerri is airline approved making it great for taking your cat through airports. It can be secured to a seat in either a plane or car by sliding a seatbelt through the carry straps on the sides. You can also place it securely on the top of your wheeling suitcase using the broad strap on one side. This carrier measures 17.7” x 12” x 12”.

    The self-locking zippers mean your cat won’t be able to open this carrier from the inside, and the washable fleece liner will keep them cozy while traveling. With two entrances, you can choose to place your cat in via the top-loading panel, or the side door.

    Pros
    • Available in 7 colors
    • Expandable design
    • Suitable for cats up to 18 pounds
    • Two doors
    Cons
    • Mesh not strong enough for some cats
    • Zippers can break

    5. Sherpa Travel Airline Approved Pet Carrier

    Sherpa 55544 Travel Airline Approved Pet Carrier

    This airline-approved cat carrier from Sherpa is perfect for traveling with your cat in style. It measures 16” x 11” x 10” and is perfect for cats up to 16 pounds. The faux lambskin liner is machine washable and nicely padded to keep your cat comfortable. The wire spring frame means this carrier will give your cat lots of space but is also designed to be pushed down slightly so this can fit under plane seats.

    The top and side-entry doors make it easy to pop your cat in this carrier, as well as add anything they need while traveling like fresh food and water. There’s also a handy pocket so you can store treats and toys in one place.

    Pros
    • Airline approved
    • 7 colors
    • Non-slip strap
    • Machine washable
    Cons
    • Flimsy base
    • Some cats will rip the mesh

    6. Pawkin Pet Travel Carrier

    Pawkin Pet Travel Carrier

    This soft carrier from Pawkin is perfect for using as carry-on baggage with airlines. It measures 16” x 9.5” x 11” and includes a super soft fleece bed inside – which is much more substantial than many of the other carriers we reviewed. This carrier has multiple pockets for storing your cat’s belongings, as well as straps that allow you to securely buckle it in a car or plane.

    The base is extra-strong, and the mesh is designed to be tear-resistant. There’s a small mesh window to one side which is perfect for petting your cat or feeding them treats safely, as it’s too small for them to escape through.

    Pros
    • 2 colors available
    • 100% satisfaction guarantee
    • Interior leash
    • 2 doors
    Cons
    • May be too small for very large cats
    • No top opening

    7. petsifam Pet Carrier

    petsifam Pet Carrier

    This carrier by petisfam is perfect for keeping your larger cat securely enclosed on trips. The locking zippers are designed to be escape-proof, but there’s also a leash attachment inside for extra security. This carrier has a great field of vision for your cat, with mesh on all sides including the top. The sturdy base is covered by a cozy and washable fleece pad for extra comfort.

    This carrier measures 17” x 12” x 12” so your cat can lie down in comfort. You can secure this carrier to the seatbelt in your car using the shoulder strap as well as passing the belt through the carry straps.

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Sturdy frame
    • 2 doors
    Cons
    • Won’t fit very large breeds
    • Cats can rip the mesh

    8. Living Express Soft-Sided Pet Carrier

    Living Express Soft-Sided Pet Carrier

    This soft-sided carrier from Living Express has side straps and buckles to make attaching this to a seat or suitcase quick and easy. The top and side-doors mean it’s super easy to pop your large cat in this carrier using whichever entrance they prefer. The soft fleece liner on the base is machine washable for extra convenience.

    This airline approved carrier measures 19.5” x 12” x 13” and should allow your cat to lie down with ease. It has a maximum weight limit of 20 pounds. The no-tear mesh used for the ventilated panels is designed to be sturdy enough to resist tearing.

    Pros
    • Available in 2 colors
    • Weight limit 20 pounds
    • 2 doors
    • Fleece-lined base
    Cons
    • Not well ventilated
    • Side opening doesn’t have safety zips

    Buyer’s Guide

    Cat carriers are an essential item for any cat parent. From emergency vet trips to road trips with your feline buddy, you want to make sure they’re traveling in comfort. There’s plenty to consider when selecting the best carrier for your cat’s needs. So let’s go through a few of those considerations now.

    What’s the difference between hard and soft carriers?

    Hard cat carriers are made from rigid plastic and have wire mesh or plastic doors. They’ve very robust and generally accepted to be the safest way to transport your cat because it’s much less likely that they can escape. They’re heavy though and are sometimes too big to be accepted as an airline carry-on.

    Soft carriers look similar to a hold-all bag but have mesh sections for ventilation and so your cat can see out. Many soft carriers are approved for airline carry-on and can also be safely secured to the seats of airplanes and cars. The soft mesh sides are not always robust enough to stand up to a determined cat’s scratching and chewing though.

    Backpack carriers are another option – which allows you to carry your cat on your back. These often have a rigid front section with a softer fabric back. They’re great for short trips or even if you want to take your cat for a walk but they’re usually not big enough to allow your large cat to lie down.

    Should I buy a hard or soft carrier?

    This depends on your personal preference as well as that of your cat!

    While hard carriers are more secure, they’re difficult to store when not in use and can’t be taken onboard planes. Some cats prefer the security of being within a hard carrier when traveling.

    Soft carriers are excellent for airplane trips, as many of them are approved for use in the cabin of the plane. They’re easy to travel with and fold flat for storage when not in use.

    Ultimately, it’s best to try both if possible! You might be able to borrow one of each from a friend before investing in one yourself. We like to use each of these types of carriers for different purposes (and cats!) so have a couple of each both hard and soft.

    Important things to consider

    • Airline approved. If you’re planning on using your carrier for plane journeys make sure you choose one that’s airline approved. This means the dimensions should be suitable for use as carry-on luggage for most major airlines. With that said, it’s always recommended that you also check the guidelines for the particular airline you’re flying with as these can sometimes vary.
    • Ventilation. Whichever sort of carrier you choose, make sure there is plenty of ventilation so your cat doesn’t overheat. Soft carriers should have a greater percentage of mesh than fabric, and hard carriers need plenty of ventilation on every side except the base.
    • Self-locking zippers. Soft carriers must use self-locking zippers so your cat can’t accidentally open the carrier from inside.
    • Entry points. Many carriers now offer both top and side doors for your cats. Some cats much prefer to be placed into a carrier from the top rather than from the side. This is a great option especially for larger cats as the side doors are sometimes just not big enough to accommodate their chunkiness!
    • Carry straps and seatbelt options. While most hard carriers only offer the option to be carried using the handle on the top, there’s more flexibility with a soft carrier. These often have carry handles and shoulder straps plus the option of securing them to a seat or suitcase.
    • Internal leash. If your cat is an escape artist this is a useful feature. Pop them into the carrier wearing their harness and secure them to the internal leash. We only recommend this for very short trips when your cat is fully supervised at all times. It does mean you can safely open the carrier without worrying about them running out and for some cats that is essential!

    How to measure your cat for a cat carrier

    Checking a carrier is big enough for your cat is always important but even more so when you have a large breed. You want to be sure that any carrier you decide to buy is going to be big enough for them to lie down in as well as be able to turn around. While some carriers will be tall enough for your cat to stand up, most cats seem to prefer to travel lying down!

    You’ll need a tape measure to take the following measurements of your cat:

    • Length – from the front of your cat’s chest to the base of their tail
    • Height – from the floor to the top of your cat’s back

    It’s also useful to know their weight as many carriers have a weight limit. If you can’t weigh your cat at home most veterinarians will do this for you at your cat’s regular check-up.

    Compare your cat’s measurements to the dimensions provided for each carrier you’re interested in and check that they can comfortably accommodate your cat.


    Conclusion

    After looking at some of the most popular cat carriers for large cats available on the market today, we found the Best Overall to be the AmazonBasics Top-Load Travel Carrier. This hard carrier offers plenty of space for your large cat, as well as a top-loading door which is unusual to see on hard carriers.

    As the Best Value cat carrier for large cats, we recommend the ScratchMe Pet Travel Carrier. This soft carrier offers a great combination of value for money and a range of features which means your cat is going to feel comfortable and safe.

    We’re sure that out of the 7 different carriers included in our reviews, you’ll find something that’s going to suit your large cat perfectly.

    As cat parents, we always put the comfort of our cats first and foremost – and that’s only right! So by taking the time to choose the best carrier for your chunky cat you can make sure that future journeys are going to be as comfortable and stress-free as possible.


    Featured Image: AmazonBasics 6009-S Top-Load Travel Carrier, Amazon