At least one cat carrier is an absolute essential for trips to the vet, travel, or emergencies, and if you have more than one adult cat, you should have at least two cat carriers. There are pros and cons to both soft-sided cat carriers and hard-sided cat carriers, and valid reasons for having one of each. These are my top picks of both versions of cat carriers.
The Jazzy by Sherpa Park Avenue model is airline-ready and includes both top and side entries, mesh panels for ventilation, a seat belt strap, reinforced bottom and handles, a removable, washable faux lambskin liner, and folds flat for storage. This is an excellent choice if you can only afford one carrier. Comes in three sizes, with sassy red plaid or black faux alligator exterior.
Measuring 18"L X 11"W X 10.5"H, this stylish black carrier holds most size cats. Features include zippered front and top entries, mesh panels on sides and ends for good ventilation and view, and shades which roll up or down for privacy. A safety strap allows mounting on roll-aboard luggage, and a shoulder strap may be detached to use as a leash. The Pet Delta carrier fits under airliner passenger seat, and is an excellent choice for a soft-sided cat carrier.
The original Sherpa Bag Deluxe carrier set the standards for a sturdy, comfortable soft-sided carrier. It still is hard to beat, with heavy-duty quilted nylon, three side mesh panels, front and top entry. Approved as a carrier by most airlines.
The Petmate Pet Taxi is a hard-sided carrier of heavy-duty plastic, suitable for a cat of up to about 16 pounds. It is a basic carrier, which offers ventilation, style (in the form of color options) and the top may be removed by unlatching the sides - helpful for easier access with stubborn or fearful cats. It is unknown if this carrier meets airline standards. However, it is a reasonably-priced carrier for short trips, such as to the veterinary clinic.
This Italian-design Marchioro Pet Carrier for cats, will hold cats up to 20 pounds or more. It is hard-sided with a locking metal door and a carrying handle, and received decent reviews
on Amazon.com. If flying with your cat, check with your airline to confirm that this carrier may be used inside the passenger cabin.
The Petmate Double Door Deluxe carrier goes a step further. The added door on the top allows for easy loading of obstreperous cats, as well as added ventilation. This carrier is made of the same easy-to-clean plastic as the other Petmate carriers, and the dial-latch locking system makes assembly a breeze. Airline approved.