Cats aren’t the easiest car share in the world.
Unlike dogs who are often enthusiastic travelers, a cat can be harder to please. Most of them hate car rides.
The best cat carrier for long car trips, therefore, is the one that will provide a safe, secure and comfortable space for your cat to relax in. It’s also the one that you feel comfortable and confident traveling with — don’t forget it’s going to holding some very precious cargo! We’ve found a selection on Amazon that we think are among the best carriers for long journeys.
One of the great things about Amazon is that you can read reviews of genuine customers often with accompanying photographs to help demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of each carrier. We’ve only selected those cat crates that are highly rated and recommended.
In a previous post, we wrote at length on the differences between hard and soft carriers but it’s worth repeating a few of them here.
Cats that are prone to scratching, biting and clawing when stressed are often better in hard plastic carriers.
If your cat isn’t particularly bothered by car journeys, then they may be more comfortable in a soft carrier.
Pick a carrier that’s about 1.5 times the size of your cat. Don’t go too much bigger as cats prefer smaller spaces to bigger BUT they should comfortably be able to sit and lie down and turn around.
Depending on how far you’re traveling, you might need to include a litter tray, water and food bowls.
Make sure there’s ample ventilation.
For cats whose fear of a carrier is greater than its fear of the vehicle, a cat car barrier could be worth considering.
Ensure that it can be safely and securely fixed to the seat of the car.
Best Cat Carriers for Long Distance Car Travel
The dimensions for the medium carrier are 24”, height 16” and depth 16”
The dimensions for the small are Length 20″, Height 13″, Depth 13″
You can also buy this as a wheeled cat stroller.
The PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Pet Carrier and Travel Crate (try saying that quickly…) has good ventilation on three sides as well as through the top.
Mesh windows give good visibility but also come with hanging flaps that can cover the carrier if you think it would suit your cat better.
Adjustable seat belt loops give a secure fit to the seat of your car and strong zips will keep your cat from making a great escape.
Empty, the medium/large carrier weights 8.8 pounds and has a padded loop handle on top and shoulder straps for easy carriage.
You can also buy a version of this carrier with wheels for added mobility.
The cat crate folds flat making it easy to store when not in use. It’s top loading, too, which will give you easy access to putting your cat into or taking it out of the carrier.
It comes with a washable cushion and the inside of the carrier can easily be wiped down.
The dimensions of the medium carrier are 18″x11″x11″
This carrier is suitable for cats weighing up to 6.8kg
The beauty of this carrier is that it looks like a holdall and is both easy to carry to and secure inside the car. It also has an additional ‘patio’ area that unfolds to give more space making it ideal for long car journeys.
There’s plenty of ventilation.
Self-locking zippers offer a superb and secure fit.
There’s a big pocket to put snacks or paperwork inside.
It comes with a comfortable washable mat.
The expandable area allows the cat to move more freely and it allows more air inside.
The hard-wearing but padded shoulder strap allows for comfortable transit and there is a hand strap, too.
The sturdy internal frame will keep the shape of the carrier but it folds down easily.
The Pet Mate Sky Kennel is a hard cat carrier and comes in a range of sizes.
This strong, robust hard carrier is designed to carry pets in the hold of an aircraft. It’s a good option, therefore, if you’re concerned about your cat clawing or biting through fabric.
There’s good ventilation through the wire vents and door.
There’s less visibility with this carrier making it a good choice for cats likely to be distressed by passing scenery.
Its 4-way vault door provides additional security. Useful if you’re worried that your cat might be planning a jailbreak.
Clip on bowls are included.
It makes good financial sense, too, if you think you may be traveling with your cat in an aeroplane in the future.
There’s no additional padding so you’d need to buy a cushion or pad the bottom out with a blanket or fleece.
As this is a hard crate it will be heavier than soft carriers even when empty.
Available in two sizes, this carrier gives the cat an ability to roam across the back seat of the car safely. It’s particularly suited to cats more terrified of their regular carrier than going on a car ride.
It’s essentially a tube that lies across the back seat.
The fabric is claw proof and on the larger size there’s room for a litter tray, too.
If you buy the larger size, then there’s space for a disposable litter tray, too.
The tube is completely ventilated and comes with three straps that help to secure it to the backseat.
At first glance, our concern was what could happen in the event of an accident as it doesn’t seem as secure as a traditional carrier. We weren’t the only ones to think that and reviewers on Amazon have said that the tube is secure and if fitted correctly won’t move around. In the unfortunate event of sudden breaking or an impact then the cat will be thrown against the soft netting which could actually be preferable than the hard plastic of other carriers.
There’s the option to buy cushions for the bottom but many reviewers suggest that it’s not necessary if you’d prefer not to. Adding a comforter or blanket to the bottom will suffice for most cats.
The tube itself isn’t machine washable but can be easily spot-cleaned. There’s recommendations from reviewers, too, that you can hose it down and then let it air dry.
The size is 195 x 20 x 20 Inch
These are great because they’re more than just a cat carrier. You can use them as a folding kennel both inside and outside the house. They’re useful, too, if you show cats at competitions and events, too.
The built-in straps connect the carrier to the seatbelts.
It’s easy to set up and it folds down flat for easy storage. It comes with a carry-case, too.
It’s a calmer environment for a cat to be in rather than an enclosed hard carrier.
The roll up front and side doors keep the carrier well ventilated and with good access.
It comes with a washable cushion pad and a hammack. Cats LOVE hammocks
If you have two cats, you can buy a double set that zips together.
There’s a water bottle holder.
There’s a zippered mesh door in the front and at one both ends. There’s a mesh window with roll-up shade, too.
It comes in some lovely subtle colours: cream/brown and grey/brown.
Reading the reviews, many customers have used this on long-distance car journeys of 10 hours or more. This seems particularly useful if you are using the double kennel as two cats can be near to each other for comfort. Buy the double kennel if you have a larger cat or if you’d like to include a litter tray and any bowls.
This is a more traditional hard carrier. It’s a good bet if you want one that you can continue to use once you’ve reached your destination.
Ventilation is good with openings on each side.
It has a top-loading door so it’s really easy to get a cat in and out. The door is reinforced, too. There’s also a front-loading door giving you the choice of which to use.
There’s a comfortable handle that’s securely fastened to the carrier itself.
There’s an easy-open latch (easy for you not easy for the cat) enabling you to open the carrier one-handed.
This conforms to most airline requirements for cabin-carriage. Therefore, it’s a good investment if you think you’ll be making plane trips in the future.
When assembling the carrier, a few reviewers felt it was important to point out that the door goes into the groove rather than in pre-drilled holes. Although, overall, reviews are that the carrier is easy to assemble.
Some people prefer hard carriers during car travel believing that their animals are better protected in the event of an accident.
The Medium carrier measures 17” L x 11” W x 10.5” H
This has a spring wire frame allowing it to be pushed down under seats. If you have a particularly nervous cat, then this could be useful on long car journeys to keep the cat from seeing outside.
Many Amazon customers have felt comfortable enough using this in the cabin of a plane so, again, it’s a good investment if you’re planning to travel by air in the future.
There’s plenty of ventilation on the top and side entry. And it enables the pet to be able to look out and around
The zippers lock.
Top and side entry make for easy access.
There’s a no-slip carrying shoulder strap.
The rear pocket allows for convenient storage of documentation or treats.
There’s a faux-lamb wool liner included and it’s machine washable and is helpful for added comfort.
There’s a strap to attach to the seat belt allows for a secure fit.
You might also like to check out our post on the best cat car seat to buy for those long car journeys.