The Best Cat Travel Bags (Buying Guide)

August 25, 2019

I remember the first time I had to fly with my cat Max on an airplane. It was a 4 hour flight from Chicago to Phoenix and I was very worried about his ability to be inside of a pet carrier for over 6 hours. Needless to say, I found the best cat travel carrier and carrier bags on the market that helped Max and I get safely to our destination. I’ll help you find a solution that will work well for traveling with your cat and a great cat travel bag that will keep your furry family member safe and secure.

In a hurry? Here is our top pick

This is by far the best carrier that I found on the market. It has a lot of great things going for it. I love the fact that it has a leash hook inside of the carrier. If your pet doesn’t like being confined (I mean who really does) this will be a savior when you open the small door to put you hand in. I had a few times where Max tried to forcefully burst out of the carrier as I reached in to give him some snacks.

The expandable slips on the side are absolutely wonderful. You’ll probably have to get to the airport much earlier to ensure everything goes well with your pet, but being able to let the flaps open and give your kitty some room to stretch their legs makes all of the difference.

Things We Like

  • Leash inside of the carrier that prevents your cat from running out if you have to open it
  • Expandable side tabs that allow your pet to move around while waiting
  • Removable bed tray in case your pet has an accident.

Things That Are Important

Having a small door that you can put your hand through

This was by far the most important decision I wanted in a cat carrier. Cats can get very nervous in flights due to the loud noises, unfamiliar smells and general chaos at an airport. Having a small door that is just large enough for a human hand to reach into, but not large enough for your cat to get out makes a world of difference. If your cat is frustrated, it’s much easier to reach in and give them a familiar touch than risk pulling them out and having an escaped kitty in a crowded airport terminal.

Pouches to hold documents and treats

This should go without saying, but if you’re traveling with a pet, you don’t need to be fumbling for their vaccination records while juggling your passport and boarding pass. Having a pocket on the side of their carrier is the perfect place to store any documents or treats that you need for your kitty.

Replaceable floor cushion 

If your cat has to use the bathroom, they may have no choice and if that happens it’s helpful to have a removable cushion that can easily be cleaned or even tossed out and have a towel put in its place.

Best Cat Travel Carriers

This cat travel carrier is one of the better options on the market. Not only does it have 3 different places you can load your cat into, it also has a very tiny door on the side where you can reach your hand in to give your kitty a reassuring rub. The concave shape at the top makes it much easier to put under the seat of an airplane as well and the locking zippers give you 100% peace of mind that even the most crafty of cats won’t be able to escape

Things We Like

  • 3 different ways to load your cat inside
  • Side Pouches for easy storage of documents and pet food
  • Comfortable fleece matting for kitty to sleep on

Airline Approved Pet Carrier for Cats & Dogs, 2018 Design, Small, Low Profile Luxury Travel Bag Tote with Fleece Bedding & Safety Locks, Under Seat Compatibility, Perfect for Cats and Small Dogs
  • TSA APPROVED for under-seat requirements. PLEASE ensure your pet will fit BEFORE PURCHASE. Measures...
  • With 360-degree mesh panels, your pet has proper air circulation for comfort and you have full...

If you like traveling with something a little more “luxurious” than your standard carrier, thien this options is for you. It has all the necessary features like multiple doors, side pockets, and a tiny window to put you in hand in. While also looking like a relatively nice piece of luggage and not your typical black canvas bag.

Things We Like

  • 3 Different ways to load your cat
  • Lockable zippers
  • Premium look and feel
Tailova Premium Airline Approved Pet Carrier Designed for Cats, Small Dogs, Kittens, Puppies - Car Travel, Spacious & Comfortable Waterproof Interior, 2 Mesh Openings & 2 Pockets
  • ◆Effective: Intense ultrasonic signal to scare the Dogs, Cats, Wild Boars, Mouse, Birds and more...
  • ◆Safe & ECO-Friendly: No chemical components threatens human's health, the Passive Infrared sensor...

This is a great option for anyone who has a cat that can sometimes be skittish and doesn’t like to be around a lot of unfamiliar people. What you sacrifice in views for your pet, you gain in their comfort and security of not being exposed to strangers. My cat kept turning around in his carrier while we were at the airport and it wasn’t until I put my luggage behind him and draped my jacket over him that I realized that he might have been more comfortable without so much of him feeling exposed.

This carrier has two very large panels to load your cat into and lots of exterior pockets to store treats and travel documents for your pet.

Things We Like

  • Luxurious look and feel
  • Closed on all sides except one window opening to keep your cat feeling secure.
  • 2 large openings for easy loading of your cat
Sherpa® Original Deluxe™ Airline Approved Pet Carrier, Medium, Black
  • Perfect for traveling in style and comfort by plane or car, for an adventure or just a trip to the...
  • Patented spring wire frame allows the rear end of the carrier to be pushed down several inches to...

While this may not be the most exciting looking pet carrier, it is one that was designed an approved based solely on airplane requirements. It’s designed for pets up to 22lbs, so if you have a heavier cat, this may be the perfect option for you. It also has a springy wire frame that makes it much easier to store under airplane seats. This is one of the best cat carriers for travel that you can find on the market

Things We Like

  • Easy to fit under airline seats with wire frame
  • Fits animals up to 22lbs
  • Has luggage straps to rest on your rolling luggage
Aivituvin Pet Carrier Cat Carrier Airline Approved, Cat Carriers for Medium Cats Small Cats, Pet Carrier for Cat, Collapsible Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier, Breathable Small Dog Carrier, Green
  • Medium Carrier measures: 17.5"L x 11"W x 11"H fits comfortably under seat and meets most Airline...
  • Airline Approved Carrier: Fits for under-seat dimensions of most airlines. You can take your pet to...

This cat travel carrier has the most doors that you can load your cat into and if you have a fur ball that likes to resist getting in their carrier, then this may be a great option for you. Opening all 4 latches days before you travel and getting your cat used to this cat travel bag can work wonders if you don’t want to fight your cat hours before you have to deal with the stress of going through an airport. It is a very basic design but functions very well for what it needs to do.

Things We Like

  • 4 doors to open and load your cat into
  • Very simple design
  • Multiple size options
BENCMATE Protective Inflatable Collar for Dogs and Cats - Soft Pet Recovery Collar Does Not Block Vision E-Collar
  • ✅ 【COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR PET】 - While wearing the BENCMATE Collar, the inflatable function and...
  • ✅ 【DESIGNED TO LAST】 - The protective collar is not just soft and washable but also featured...

I like that this cat travel bag comes in 3 different sizes and has just enough open mesh netting to give your cat maximum breathability, but not so much netting that they feel exposed and unprotected. The simple black, water resistant, design is really all you can ask for in a durable cat travel carrier.

Things We Like

  • -Simple with lots of size options
  • Side pouches are very large for extra storage
  • Comfy shoulder strap and handle
Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier for Cat, Dog, Large, Black, 19.7 x 10.2 x 11.2 inches (LxWxH)
  • Large soft sided carrier for keeping a pet comfortably contained when traveling or heading to the...
  • Removable, machine washable fleece pad; mesh ventilation panels provide comfortable air flow and...

Amazon does a really great job of taking a simple product and really making it work in a very simple fashion. This is a black carrier that is mostly mesh so your cat can see everything around them while still being secure. The interior comes with a leash connector so that your cat can’t escape when you need to walk through security. There isn’t much to say about this carrier other than it gets the job done.

Things We Like

  • Good Value
  • 3 different size options for smaller or larger cats

Tips For Traveling With Your Cat

  • When you go through TSA you are going to have to remove your cat from their carrier. If you have a cat that is prone to becoming very scared in loud public places, then I would STRONGLY recommend that you put your cat in a full body harness and make sure that you connect them to the harness latch inside the pet carrier. I’ve seen a handful of cats bolt for it down a terminal and this is the last thing you want to have happen while you’re going through security.

  • Make sure that you give your cat lots of familiar smelling items inside of their carrier. Airports have 100’s of thousands of people going through them every hour and your cat is going to be exposed to a lot of smells. Keeping their environment as familiar as possible with smells can help.

  • Don’t be afraid to drape a jacket over your pet carrier. The hustle and bustle of the airport will keep your cat alert in their travel carrier. If you drape a coat over the top, that may signal to your cat that it’s time for sleep and they will tend to be a lot less timid when they are covered and dark. Remember, cat’s don’t mind being in dark places. In fact they enjoy it.

  • Remember to reassure your cat with your touch and light treats if they are becoming very anxious. Sometimes reaching into the carrier to give them a light petting or scratch under the chin is all they need to calm their nerves.

  • Don’t worry about controlling your cat from meowing in flight. It’s an animal that doesn’t have any control or understanding of what’s going on. Resist the urge to do anything more than give your cat some love an affection if needed, but cats are very in tune with their owners. If they sense that you are frustrated or anxious then it will only make them more anxious. Cat’s meow. It’s not that big a deal. It’s no different than a baby crying on an airplane. Relax, watch a movie, read a book or take a nap. Your cat will know that it’s also relaxing time and likely join by taking a nap themselves.

Things To Bring With In Your Cat Travel Bag

Travel Documents

Always make sure that you have your cats papers in their bag or on your persons. Most airlines don’t require it, but in the event that you are asked for paperwork you want to make sure you have recent vaccinations and a slip from your veterinarian stating that your animal meets all health codes.

Small water bowl

It is recommended that you don’t feed your cat for many hours prior to your departure, but most flights, including travel time, can be upwards of 4-7 hours and that is an awfully long time to go without water. Don’t overdo it, but a small ramekin (you know one of those things you get in the restaurant for dipping sauces) with a bit of water will keep your kitty hydrated enough for the journey but not so much that they have to pee.

Wrap Up

It can be easy to overthink all of the things that you’ll need in a cat travel carrier, but ultimately you just want to make sure that your cat has a safe and secure place to sit in for the duration of your flight and travel. I purchased the Pet Peppy Airline Carrier and I think it’s the best option for a cat travel bag. If that isn’t the cat travel carrier that interests you, then the Pawfect Pets travel carrier is also a great option.

Safe Travels

Last update on 2023-04-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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