Cat carriers can take up a lot of space in the home even though many of us only use them a couple of times a year.
Pop up cat carriers can be useful if you live somewhere where space is at a premium.
We’ll put the links in the post below so that you can take a look and see what suits you.
We suggest that you probably shouldn’t be using a pop-up cat carrier if your pet is anxious or distressed inside carriers.
Cats have incredibly sharp claws and teeth and the material used in a pop-up carrier probably won’t hold up to sustained attacks.
We always recommend a hard carrier to cats that hate carriers. We’ve written a previous post about traveling with difficult carriers that you might find useful.
We’ve also included a fold-down hard carrier at the end of the list for anyone looking for a plastic box.
In a hurry? We’ll link to our favourite now so you can go straight to the product and see it for yourself and check the price. Otherwise keep reading and we’ll give you the full list with a short guide on what to look for in a collapsible carrier along with product features.
- Pop up or not it’s important to have confidence in the manufacturing quality of the product. You want a product that’s durable and reliable and will last many years.
- How secure are the zips?
- How does it collapse down? Does it fold into a small shape or do you need to unzip sections?
- How easy is it to clean?
- How easy is it to store and does it come with a bag?
- You need to measure your cat and look at the product’s dimensions so that you buy the correct size.
- How well ventilated is the product?
- What’s the maximum weight the product can hold?
- How heavy is it to carry?
- Does it include a padded base of fleece cushion for comfort?
5 Best Cat Carriers that Pop Up
There isn’t a huge selection of pop up carriers but we’ve found a good selection as well as including a couple that aren’t strictly pop-ups but there are soft-sided carriers that fold down very nicely. We’ve added a collapsible hard-sided carrier, too, if you’d prefer something that’s a little more robust.
This carrier is fully collapsible and cat fit inside a drawer. It’s great for saving space and convenience.
- It’s made from sturdy fabric
- It’s easy to clean
- It’s lightweight but can hold up to 17 lbs
- The zipper lock-ring gives added security during transit as well as twin zippers that can’t open from the inside.
- These carriers have a cute design
- It uses large ventilated windows
- A handy side-flap allows easy access to the cat
- 15 x 19 x 13 inches and weighs 11.7 ounces
Cons: when you lift the carrier up the sides may move inwards which won’t be ideal if you have a bigger heavy cat so best for smaller cats.
It could also do with extra support on the bottom.
This is useful for anyone on a budget.
- Collapses down in seconds and is just as easy to assemble
- Pops up and stays open
- Good ventilation thanks to large mesh panels
- Lightweight design and folds down for storage
- Secure zippers
- Product dimensions are 20 x 15 x 14 inches with 6” handles
Cons: not great for cat’s that urinate when nervous as difficult to get the smell out of.
This is bigger than a carrier and may be more useful if you’re looking more for a collapsible play-pen.
- Pops up in seconds providing a play-pen type carrier
- Bigger than your average cat carrier
- Large roll-up mesh panels gives the cat’s a good view and ample ventilation.
- Secure zipper locks
- Comes with a fleece mat that’s easy to wash
- Includes a storage bag
- Big enough to fit 2 cats and a litter box
- It can be attached to a car by rear seat belt straps so ideal for road trips
- 31.5 x 20.1 x 20.1 inches weighs 2.91 pounds
Cons: material is a bit thin so not suitable for cats who are likely to claw at it.
- Expands on both sides to give additional room
- Includes removable fake fleece bedding
- A padded shoulder strap makes it easy to carry
- Double zippers on top and side entrances
- Internal leash ring to keep pet secure
- Includes a pet bowl
- storage pockets to keep paperwork intact
- Suitable for up to 15 Ibs
Cons: when the sides are up, the inside of the carrier can get quite warm.
Zips are located behind the fluffer liner which isn’t always convenient when you want to let the flaps down.
This says airline approved but you always need to double-check your airlines regulations as the rules do change.
- Plastic cat carrier so its more durable and robust.
- It’s easy to assemble
- Folds down flat for easy storage
- It has a wide side opening which should help get the cat in more quickly.
- It’s easy to clean
- The pet bed can be washed in a machine
- Holds weight of up to 25 lb
- Also available in XL
- It has a comfort grip handle and hard-wearing claps
- It’s got a single-motion lock
Cons: If your cat is likely to urinate inside the carrier, then it’s probably going to leak as the base is very shallow.
A few reviewers believe the hinges could be sturdier especially if you have a larger cat.
We’ve included this because it’s easy to store in small spaces and is almost entirely mesh.
- It comes in small, medium and large
- It has connected loop carrying handles to help with balanced carrying and a shoulder strap
- Its spring-wire frame makes it easy to store in small spaces
- It has front and top openings
- Good ventilation on all sides
- A removable base board means it has a solid place for the cat to stand on
- Should be suitable for traveling by plane (although, always double-check with the airline)
- It comes with a removable fleece pad
Cons: It comes up small so always double check the measurements before buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Soft Cat Carriers Safe?
A good quality soft cat carrier will be safe but you shouldn’t use one if you have an aggressive cat or one that is likely to bite or scratch at the fabric. Most soft carriers will be no match against a determined cat with sharp claws and teeth. Soft carriers also have zippers which a cat can make light work of. There are some fantastic fabric carriers on offer but if in doubt go for a plastic one.
How Long Can a Cat Stay in a Carrier?
It depends on the cat but a happy cat will be fine in a carrier for many hours. If you’re traveling long distance, schedule in stops, lock the doors and let the cat out to stretch its legs, take a small amount of food and water and use the litter box (if they can). Pay attention to your cat’s behavior and respond accordingly. Some cats will be perfectly fine spending 12-hours in a carrier and some will struggle to spend 2.
Can a Cat Ride in a Car Without a Carrier?
It’s illegal in some states to have an unsecured pet in the vehicle. in other places (and in many countries), your insurance may be invalidated if you’re involved in an accident where it’s deemed you were distracted. We’d always suggest a cat carrier. You can use a cat car barrier if you’d prefer or a car seat.