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Cat Carrier Alternatives

There are many choices that you can use as an alternative to cat carriers like a harness or other options that function similarly to carriers. Something that is commonly found in the average home such as carboard boxes can become a makeshift cat carrier in a pinch. 

cat in cardboard box

Check out the list below of good alternatives to using a cat carrier.

Key Takeaways

  • Harnesses, cardboard boxes, large bags, and cat backpacks are viable alternatives to traditional cat carriers for transporting felines.
  • While not legally required, using a cat carrier or alternative containment method is advised for safety when driving with a cat in the car.
  • Though alternatives exist, a proper cat carrier is the optimal choice for convenience, safety, and comfort when transporting a cat.

Alternatives To Cat Carriers

1. Harness and leash

Instead of putting your cat inside of something to transport them around, you can walk them around with a harness and leash. Yes, this is a strange concept to think of a cat on a leash, but it can be done. Walking a cat on a leash doesn’t have to be just for transporting purposes, it can also be done for recreation and helping your cat be active. When your cat is in the car, they should be put in a box or something so that they are free range in the car. Also, this method usually requires some form of training beforehand to get them used to being walked on a leash. Don’t think that your cat will tolerate a harness and leash right away, it requires a process of training. If you are interested in learning how to harness-train a cat check out this article. 

2. Cardboard Box

In an emergency situation where you have no access to a carrier, the next best alternative is something that is the same size and shape of a carrier. A cardboard box can work great as a carrier, and almost everybody has some kind of box in the their home they can use. Make sure to get a cardboard box that has ample space for your cat and it should be solidly built. Don’t use a cardboard box that has the potential of breaking or is damaged. To ease your cat while they are inside the box, you can place a blanket over the box to create a dark environment. Darkness settles and calms the nerves of cats.  Also, put a blanket within the box to make it comfier for your cat while they are being transported. To lure your cat inside the box, you can use treats.  

3. Large Bag

A bag is another option that many cat owners have readily available within the house that can act like a carrier in a time of need. A large bag will act similarly to a soft cat carrier. Make sure not to close your cat within as this can lead to anxiety and possible harm to your cat from suffocation.

4. Cat Backpack

If you want to go with an alternative that is similar to cat carriers but has its own unique spin. Not any backpack is going to work you must get one made to hold cats. This is because cat backpacks are made with air holes and have a large enough space for your cat to relax. Once you get the backpack, start using it right away so your cat can be familiar with it. Start by just keeping the backpack somewhere where your cat will see it and check it out. Then, try to get them to enter, but don’t carry it around. You can use many methods to entice them to get inside such as treats, catnip, and food. If this step goes well, go to the next step of carrying your cat around inside the house for small stretches of time. It is always a good idea to get a cat acclimated to what you will transport them in, so when the time comes to bring them somewhere like the vet, it isn’t a struggle. 

Is A Carrier Necessary For A Trip The Vet?

No, you do not need a cat carrier to go to the vet. But, you should have a way of transporting them. Any of the above options can work well for bringing your cat to the vet office. 

Can A Cat Ride In The Car Without A Carrier?

Yes, you do not need a carrier, but this is not the safest way to do it. Even if you don’t have a carrier, get them something that they can sit inside while in the car. You can use a box, basket, or something similar that will keep your cat inside. Here is a great article I found that gives tips on traveling in the car with a cat.

Is It Illegal To Drive With A Cat Not In A Carrier?

While it isn’t illegal to drive in a car without a carrier, its not a great idea. A cat that is walking all around the car can be a distraction which can lead to accidents and driving mistakes. It is also not safe for your cat.  It is best to get a carrier that secures them in place.

Get A Cat Carrier For Future Situations Requiring Transportation

Although a cat carrier can be expensive, it is the safest and easiest way of getting a cat from point a to b. Cat carriers are designed to work with cats and are much better than DIY options. Carriers will provide your cat enough ventilation, no way to escape, comfort, and many other things that are not always found in DIY options. If you want the least stressful and safest way of transporting your cat, use a carrier.

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