What Size Carrier For Cat? The Ultimate Guide!

what size carrier for cat

Whether you’re taking your cat to the vet, the groomer, or just out for a day of fun and exploration, having the right carrier size is essential. But how big should a cat carrier be? That’s a question that a lot of cat owners are asking.

The carrier should be at least 1.5 times the length of the cat from nose to tail, and wide and tall enough for the cat to stand up and turn around comfortably. While on the move, cats will be able to explore new places and experiences without feeling stressed or scared in that carrier.

Cat carriers are vital because they safeguard your cat while you’re traveling. Animal Hospital of North Asheville stated that if you don’t have a carrier, your cat is likely to escape and run away blindly at the first opportunity which could cause an injury to your pet.

In order to prevent your cat from becoming uncomfortable during transport, follow this guide to ensure you purchase the right-sized carrier.

How big should a cat carrier be?

When selecting a cat carrier, the size should depend on the size of your cat. Generally, the carrier should be large enough for the cat to stand, turn around, and lie down. Additionally, the carrier should be tall enough so the cat can sit up while inside.

According to the Animal Hospital of North Asheville, your carrier should be one and a half times the size of your cat. If it’s too big, carrying it can be difficult and uncomfortable, and your cat may slide around inside.

When selecting a carrier for your kitten, buy one that will fit them when they are fully grown. Place a thick towel at the bottom of the carrier to keep them from moving around too much and getting injured during travel.

You should also keep in mind that your cat may need additional space during long car rides. It is a good idea to select a carrier that has an adjustable height or is adjustable in some way to give your cat more room if needed.

Regardless of the size of your cat, it is important to choose a carrier that is sturdy and well-made. You should select a carrier that is made of durable materials that can withstand wear and tear. Plus, the carrier should have plenty of ventilation and secure latches to ensure the safety of your cat.

Given below is the table for selecting a cat carrier size that is suitable for your feline friend.

   Cat WeightCarrier Size
Up to 5  pounds Extra Small
Up to 10 pounds  Small
Up to 18 pounds Medium
Up to 27 pounds Large
Up to 40 poundsExtra Large

How to calculate the right size?

1. Measure your cat’s length from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.

2. Calculate your pet’s height from the floor to its shoulder.

3. Compute the width of the cat’s body from one side of its hip to the other.

4. Add these three measurements together and then add a few inches to give your cat some extra room to move around. This total is the minimum size of the carrier your cat needs.

5. Calculate the interior of the cat carrier you are considering. Compare the measurements with the minimum size needed for your cat. The carrier should be large enough to accommodate your cat’s length, height, and width comfortably with a few inches extra.

Different Kinds of Cat Carriers:

Cat carriers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and can be used for carrying cats for travel, vet visits, grooming, and other activities. 

Soft-Sided Carriers: They are lightweight and easy to carry, making them great for travel. They are typically made of nylon or polyester and have mesh panels for ventilation. Some soft-sided carriers come with adjustable straps, so you can carry your cat close to your body.

Soft-Sided Carriers

Plastic Carriers: These are great for vet visits and other short trips and come in a variety of sizes and colors, and some of them even have extra features such as wheels or handles. Plastic carriers offer more stability than soft-sided carriers and they are easy to clean. 

Plastic Carrier

Car Seat Carriers: Car seat carriers are designed to keep your cat safe while you’re driving. These carriers attach to your car seat with a seat belt and have a zip-up top to keep your cat secure. They are typically made of breathable mesh and provide your cat with extra comfort and security.

Car Seat Carrier

Backpack Carriers: They are great for taking your cat on long walks or hikes and are made to be lightweight and comfortable, so you can carry your cat close to your body. Most backpack carriers have adjustable straps and plenty of ventilation. 

Backpack Carrier

Wheeled Carriers: Wheeled cat carriers are perfect for long trips or vet visits. These products have wheels and a handle, so you can easily roll them along. Most of them have multiple compartments and pockets, so you can store all your cat’s supplies.

Wheeled Carrier

What Size Cat Carrier is airline approved?

The most essential fee in pet transport is the airfare, which depends on the travel crate size. Unfortunately, some companies try to take advantage of customers by overcharging for an inappropriate-sized crate that won’t keep your pet comfortable or safe.

The carrier you choose for air travel should meet the requirements of the airline. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set minimum size requirements for pet carriers. 

However, there is an easier way to calculate this size that you can find on Jetpets’ official website which has a travel crate size calculator on their website to make it easy for pet owners to find the perfect carrier dimensions for their animals. All you need is some input data in centimeters, and the calculator will tell you based on the information provided what minimum carrier size you should purchase.

You can do this procedure by following way:

  • In the first field, put the length of your pet from nose to tail.
  • In the second box, write your cat’s measurement from the ground-to cat’s head.
  • Enter the length from the ground to your pet’s elbow joint in the third box.
  • Now write the width between the cat’s left ear to its right ear in the last place.
  • Finally, you will need to answer two more questions from the choices given below on that page. The first question is regarding the anatomy of your pet’s nose. The second question asks if you are planning for domestic travel or an international trip.

After you input all the necessary information, hit calculate. In no time, you’ll see what size carrier your cat needs to be comfortable and safe during air travel.

What will happen if the cat carrier is too small?

Seeing people buy carriers that are too small for their cats breaks my heart. It’s inhumane to make your cat feel like they’re imprisoned by keeping them in a carrier that doesn’t fit them.

I can’t stand it when cat carriers are too small. Here’s why:

  • If the cat carrier is too small, it can cause discomfort and distress to the cat. This is because the cat will not be able to move freely, stretch, or even turn around.
  • If a cat is confined to a small space, it can become anxious or agitated. This can lead to behavioral problems, such as excessive vocalization, inappropriate elimination, and even aggression.
  • In addition, the cat may overheat in the small carrier, as the airflow is restricted. This can cause the cat to become dehydrated or suffer from heat stroke.
  • There is a risk of injury if the carrier is too small. Cats can get their limbs caught in the door or sides of the carrier, leading to cuts, bruises, and even broken bones.
  • Cats may also struggle to breathe in a cramped space. This can lead to respiratory distress, which can be life-threatening.
  • A too-small carrier can also lead to the cat becoming dehydrated, as it may not be able to reach the water dish. This can be especially dangerous when transporting cats over long distances, as the cat will not have access to fresh water.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the carrier you use is the appropriate size for your cat. This will help to keep them safe and comfortable when traveling.


In the end, we would say that the size of a cat carrier should be chosen based on the size of the cat, the type of carrier, and the level of comfort desired for the cat. Carriers come in a variety of sizes, so it is important to measure the cat and the carrier before making a purchase.

Some cats prefer to have more space in the carrier, while others may be content with a smaller space. Only you can decide what size is best for your cat. Ultimately, this product should provide a safe, secure, and comfortable environment for your cat while en route to its destination.

We hope this article has been helpful in guiding your search for the perfect cat carrier. Thank you for reading!


What size carrier for a 10-pound cat?

If your cat weighs 10 pounds then you should look for a size that is designed for cats 10-20 pounds. The width of the carrier should be at least 18 inches wide and the height should be at least 25 inches tall. This will provide plenty of room for the cat to move around and should also be large enough to fit a 10-pound cat comfortably.

What size cat carrier for a Maine coon?

The best dimensions for a cat carrier that will house an average Maine Coon comfortably are 22.8 inches in length and 15.7 inches in height. It is important that there should be a large opening at the front and top of the carrier so your Maine Coon can enter and exit with ease.

What Size carrier for 2 cats?

If you need to put two cats in one carrier, then get the biggest crate possible. As any carrier should be at least one and a half times the size of your regular carrier, and if you have two cats, double that number. Plus, the cat aisle at most markets contains smaller carriers so it is better to check the dog aisle instead.

What size carrier for a 12-pound cat

The best size carrier for a 12-pound cat is a hard plastic carrier that measures at least 19″ long by 20″ wide by 30″ high and is designed to hold around 15-25 pounds of weight, so your kitty will have enough space to move and won’t feel cramped. If your cat’s weight or size changes with age, a bigger carrier will provide the extra capacity you need.