I have three cats. And that means, at a minimum, three trips to the vet each year. My cats however really like their vet so they want to visit all the time. That means they also want to be transported in a comfy carrier that meets their requirements.
The cat requirements are:
- A window for viewing
- Soft floor
- My own carrier so I don’t have to sniff/snort the others
My requirements are a bit different.
- Easy to carry
- Easy to get cat in and out
- Need to easily get a hand in carrier to comfort the poor thing without worrying about an escape
Taking everyone’s requirements into consideration, I now have three different cat carriers. Yes, each cat has their own.
Here are the pros/cons of each (based on my experiences and what the kitties told me).
Sherpa Cat Tote – Ellie’s Princess Suite
This carrier was specifically purchased for Ellie when she flew (in an airplane) to come join the family. It is small enough to go on board the flight and slide under the seat in front of you. There are also zipped pockets on the side and back so you can carry a few treats. The other side has a huge pocket (not zipped). A shoulder strap is available.
The best thing about this carrier is that there are flaps on the front and back ends that can cover up the mesh windows. If there is a bit too much going on for the cat, just cover the ends and they have a bit more privacy. There are still mesh windows on the sides, but they are not as big as the other carriers. I feel this may reduce the exposure during the flight and airport hubbub. Ellie was an excellent air traveler and did not have any issues.
The worst thing about this carrier is the flexible frame that provides the support to the ends. When the carrier was laying around the house, the cats had jumped on it and it didn’t so much collapse as it was just bent out of shape. It took me a few minutes to get it back into its original shape. Discovered that if I just closed up the ends, it worked better. And maybe the flexibility is a good thing so it can adjust to fitting under a seat when necessary.
Sherpa – MeiMei’s palace
This is a nice solid carrier for a soft-sided carrier. It maintains its shape even when just sitting around the house. Nice mesh all around to allow unrestricted viewing. And the comfort pad on the floor of the carrier is super soft. A shoulder strap is available.
The best thing about this carrier is the solid look and feel. I am 100% sure that MeiMei is safe and comfortable when she is confined. I don’t even think about her escaping or the carrier ripping or anything. That alone is worth the cost.
The worst thing about the carrier is that the top entrance has two zippers to open. So when I have to unzip it, I unzip one side and then unzip the other side. Having used the PetMate carrier that has the cord linking the two zippers would be a smart addition to this great carrier. It is more a case of nothing is really wrong with the carrier, but this little added feature would make it so much better.
PetMate – Sunni’s home away from home
I like the size of this one. It gives Sunni room to root around and stretch out if she wanted to. She usually gathers herself at one end so carrying is a bit lop-sided. There is lots of screening so I can see in and Sunni can look out. I think this makes her feel a bit more secure because she usually keeps her eyes on me, even when we are in the car.
The best thing about this carrier is the top opening. This unzips along both sides, but there is a cord connecting the two zippers. Thus you can easily pull the cord and both sides unzip in case you want to slip your hand in for a little chin scritching. When zipped closed, there is a velcro closing that goes over the top end so no escape nor accidental unzipping.
The worst thing about this carrier is that is a bit too soft so it doesn’t hold its shape if you try to put the cat in through the front opening. The end collapses and then the cat freaks out because she thinks you are trying to stuff her in a hole that clearly is not open. The easy solution is to always use the top opening to insert the kitty. I leave my carriers always open at the top when they lay around the house. Sometimes the cats just jump in them to investigate and take a bit of a snooze. They rarely did that when I only left the front open.
Overall, the three carriers work for me and the kitties. They were purchased based on size and color. Yes, my cats have color preferences, so don’t judge me. The one super-duper feature I wish the Sherpa’s had the zipper-connecting cord for the top opening. That one feature alone is missing. I am not unhappy with any of the carriers and would easily purchase them again.
And the cats agree. Even MeiMei knows which one is hers.