It is highly recommended 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. They are bulky to store but well worth it when needed!
There are many types of cat carrier on the market, some are not worth buying and others are a must. There are advantages and disadvantages to both soft-sided cat carriers and hard-sided cat carriers, and legitimate reasons for having one of each. Here are the different types of cat carrier you can buy:
Cardboard Cat Carrier
Cardboard cat carriers are simply a waste of time.
First of all, they are not strong enough.
Then there is the obvious design fault when your cat decides to pee on the journey - resulting in one soggy, smelly carrier with the bottom falling out.
Basketwork Cat Carrier
Basketwork cat carriers are quite small and not very pleasant for cats to be cooped up in one of these for a long journey, but they are a better solution to the cardboard cat carrier.
At least they do not go soggy if the cat takes a pee or risk collapsing.
Shopping Bag Style Cat Carrier
Shopping bag style carriers like the basketwork cat carriers are small and do not have much of a window for your cat to look out.
I'm sure cats do not appreciate being in a dark small space for a few hours, being bumped around and not being able to see where they are going.
I would say these style of cat carrier are for people who are more concerned about how they look rather than the welfare of their cat.
Solid Plastic Cat Carrier
Solid plastic cat carriers tend to vary in quality. I once had one which slotted together with a slot-in perspex door at the front.
The trouble with this type is that they tend to be fragile; one little crack in the plastic and the whole thing falls apart. Not a very good investment.
They are quite bulky and therefore storage can sometime prove an issue but when it's needed you will be very thankful you have one.
Wire Mesh Cat Carrier
In my opinion, the best type of all is the wire mesh type. True, they are ugly, but then you don't buy it to sit on your sideboard, do you? The mesh type are top loading - can be a bit difficult if you have a playful cat who likes to jump straight out again = but once in there, your cat is fastened in securely, usually by a metal bar fitting right across the top, so there is no escape.
The advantages of a wire mesh cat carrier is your cat will be able to see where they are going, light and airy so they will not be as scared as they would be in the other type cat carriers.
Also, with the mesh cat carrier, the bottom of the carrier is usually a foamy type pad; put an old cloth or newspaper on this, in case the cat pees during the journey! Buy the biggest cat carrier you can as the bigger it is, the more comfortable for your cat and the more they will enjoy the journey, even if it is to the vet! The larger size carrier takes 2 cats and if they travel together they tend to comfort each other on the journey.
One slight disadvantage is the handle. The handle is usually in the middle of the lid which fastens at one end. It's a good idea to fix a stretch strap right across the top, so that the weight of the cats does not create a huge gap between lid and cage - slight possibility of escape here! These carriers are not the most expensive but are certainly the most practical. I've had mine now for 20 years and it is as good as new!