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We’ve often talked about the struggles that cat parents face when traveling with their feline companions.
And while some cats are easygoing and they enjoy looking outside of their carrier, unfortunately, the outside world can easily trigger your cat’s fear.
Most of us know how stressful these trips can be, and we try to figure out the ways we can help our cats.
Aside from putting on comforting music, and giving them treats, we can also help reduce these triggers by covering the carrier and turning it into a safe hiding place.
If you have a nervous kitty, and you’re looking for a way to keep them as calm as possible during your travels then perhaps a cat carrier cover can help you give them the sense of safety and privacy they need.
Of course, you can always go for a DIY option, but I think it’s important to first consider products that are designed for cats and with their safety in mind.
So, let’s take a look at our best picks, and discuss the reasons these carrier covers can be beneficial. But if you want to skip ahead and see what made the list, you can check out our favorites here:
- Best Overall: K-Cliffs Travel Kennel Cover
- Best Water Resistant Carrier Cover: ArcticShield Uninsulated Kennel Cover
- Best Insulated Carrier Cover: ArcticShield Insulated Kennel Cover
- Best Cat Carrier With Adjustable Covers: PetLuv Premium Cat & Dog Carrier
Our Top 4 Cat Carrier Covers
Cat carrier covers are definitely a great option for extremely nervous cats, and here are our best picks!
Best Overall: K-Cliffs Travel Kennel Cover
If you want your kitty to have a calm trip to the vet or an uneventful flight, then the K-Cliffs kennel cover could help relieve some of the anxiety that is often caused by outside stimuli.
Since most carriers are catered towards dogs and large kennels and crates, it’s nice to have a similar product made for cats and their usually smaller carriers.
I think the K-Cliffs cover is going to be a great addition for those of you who have hard plastic carriers with top doors. While top openings are great for putting your kitty in and out of the carrier without much trouble they usually make cats feel exposed, something a cover can, well cover-up.
Hard carriers are also quite cold, and with this cover, you can turn their little carrier into a warm and dark little space where they can feel protected and cozy.
Additionally, the cover has pockets on both sides and a mesh pocket on the back, where you can keep your cat’s documents and medication.
If you want to read more about the K-Cliffs cat carrier cover then don’t forget to click here and learn today’s price on Amazon.
What I Love About It: Even if your cat doesn’t get anxious during travels this kennel cover can protect your kitty from the rain and bad weather conditions.
What I Wish It Had: This cover would be even more perfect if it had some added insulation.
Best Water Resistant Carrier Cover: ArcticShield Uninsulated Kennel Cover
When it comes to cat carrier covers there aren’t many options, and our number one K-Cliffs cover on this list is suitable for small and medium cat carriers. But if you have a Maine Coon or simply a large cat then you’re probably using a larger carrier.
In this case, the ArcticShield cover could work for your big kitty.
This is a great option if you live in areas with lots of rain and wind, but it might be too much for areas that have good weather and lots of sunshine.
The cover can be secured over the carrier with adjustable straps and an elastic cord closure at the bottom to minimize possible drafts from the wind.
You can cover the door and side windows and secure them with toggle closures, and if you want to open the door or check on your kitty you don’t have to remove the whole cover.
This means that your kitty can be transported in their carrier without having to deal with the outside world, but once they’re in the safety of the car it’s best to unzip the door to make sure they have proper ventilation.
You can read more about this uninsulated ArcticShield cover on Amazon by clicking here!
What I Love About It: This is a sturdy and resilient cover that should last you a long time.
What I Wish It Had: This cover is definitely missing an opening for the carrier’s handle or at least carry handles of its own.
Best Insulated Carrier Cover: ArcticShield Insulated Kennel Cover
Some of you may need a carrier cover to keep your kitty warm during travels, especially if you live in a cold country or your car doesn’t have proper heating. You may also want to use an option like this to winter-proof carriers for feral cats although there are some feral-friendly outdoor enclosure options that are already ready to resist the weather.
In this case, the Insulated option from the ArcticShield is definitely a great option, but as I’ve already mentioned above the size can be an issue if you have a small or medium carrier.
This is also a pricier option since it’s insulated, so if you’re not going to carry your cat all the way to the vet through a snow storm then the uninsulated ArcticShield or our top pick should work just fine.
But if you do want something that will guarantee your cat’s safety in extreme weather conditions, for example, if you’re moving a cat with her kittens in a large kennel this could be a great option.
I also want to point out that you should air out the carrier periodically by unzipping the front of the cover, to make sure there’s plenty of air circulation.
Additionally, you can keep the windows open or the door up and the temperature will still be maintained, especially if you add cozy blankets in the carrier itself.
If you’re interested in a heavy-duty carrier cover the ArcticShield is a good investment. You can check some of the reviews and today’s prices on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: The thick cover material will keep your kitty warm and dry.
What I Wish It Had: Unfortunately the size selection is not cat friendly and it might not work for most cat parents.
Best Cat Carrier With Adjustable Covers: PetLuv Premium Cat & Dog Carrier
If you’re not sure whether you need or want a carrier cover then the PetLuv carrier is a great alternative.
Of course, the privacy flaps are the number one reason this carrier is on our list, but that’s not all this carrier can offer.
It’s the ideal carrier for car travel because it has adjustable seatbelt loops that can keep your kitty in place and reduce possible motion sickness and the anxiety that comes with it.
It’s also easy to carry with a padded top handle and additional adjustable straps that you can put over your shoulder.
This carrier can be used as a bed when you bring your kitty back home, or you can fold it flat and store it away until you need it again.
I truly love this carrier for the size selection PetLuv offers, as well as the stroller and wheeled option!
Obviously, the flaps are also very important, and I also appreciate the 1.000+ reviews that you can check on Amazon along with today’s price!
What I Love About It: It has locking zippers and reinforced seams to handle your cat’s claws or their chunky weight.
What I Wish It Had: The carrier itself can be somewhat heavy because of the bars that provide structure.
Why Do You Need Cat Carrier Covers?
Some of you might be thinking that a good carrier should be enough to keep your kitty calm and safe, and while that is fair and true, under certain circumstances a carrier cover can enhance and improve your cat’s traveling experience.
To Reduce Stress
Cats have a complicated relationship with their environment. Because they’re both predators and prey they need to be on the lookout for potential prey or attacks.
This state of being is to an extent responsible for their cautiousness and curious personalities. But the fact that they are small-sized animals in a potentially dangerous world means that they will feel immense stress if they don’t feel safe.
As you can imagine our cats don’t have to worry about outside dangers when they live in the safety of their home and in our company.
But when their constant routine and their familiar surroundings are compromised our cat’s first response is to hide in a dark and small place like under the bed where no one can find them or reach them.
Or like this ingenious kitty that chose the most unexpected spot to hide!
Traveling is definitely one of those stressful situations and carriers function as that hiding place during transportation.
For some cats being tucked safely into a carrier is enough, but for others, the visual stimuli of the outside world that cats can observe through the small air holes, mesh openings, or metal bars can cause extreme fear. That’s why carrier covers can add a level of safety as your kitty will be hidden away from all those triggers for the whole duration of your trip.
You might think that complete darkness might increase their stress, but in most cases, it will simply reduce motion sickness, which as Tammy Hunter, DVM, states is usually caused by stress.
Let’s not forget that aside from covering your cat from the possible bright daylight that can irritate your kitty and the ever-changing scenery that rushes by, your cat won’t have to face other cats, dogs, and curious people during vet visits.
I live in Greece, so putting a cover over a cat carrier would only be useful to calm my fur babies down, but I know that cat parents living in the Northern hemisphere, or that experience harsh weather conditions, could have another use for this cat product.
A cat carrier cover could increase your cat’s comfort during a short or long journey as it protects them from harsh winds, rain, and of course the cold.
While our cats have fur to keep them warm, and they are pretty good at controlling their body temperature, when they’re in a carrier, they can’t simply get up and look for the warmest place in the house or bury themselves under the covers, so they could benefit from a carrier cover.
Let’s also not forget that hairless cat breeds will definitely feel more comfortable if they have an extra layer to protect them from the cold.
Hard plastic carriers can also get especially cold, so putting on a cover can turn it into a warm hiding place.
I also think covers are great during rainy seasons, and since cats hate water, you can help them feel more secure while you walk all the way from your home to the car and from your car to the vet.
Should You Cover Your Cat’s Carrier When Traveling?
I understand that some of you have never considered or even heard of cat carrier covers before, and to be honest, while I was researching the various carrier cover options I realized it’s not something as common.
Partly because plenty of soft carriers have dark mesh doors that offer minimal visibility to cats, or like the PetLuv option on our list, have blinds that you can pull down for extra privacy.
But as I began to review and read more about cat carrier covers I realized how useful they can be because carrier covers could prevent your cat from panicking and they can provide an additional layer of protection.
So if your cat is sensitive to unfamiliar environments, they get restless or even aggressive when they’re traveling then you should cover your cat’s carrier to help them feel safe.
The cover will also reduce noise, and the complete darkness will help your kitty feel like they’re protected from outside dangers, but it can also protect them from the rain and cold during winter or if you live in an area with a cold climate.
But carrier covers can also protect cats from sunlight since that can make your kitty feel equally uncomfortable. In this case, you’ll have to make sure that your car has the right temperature to avoid overheating.
Is It Dangerous To Cover My Cat’s Carrier?
It’s clear that there are a lot of benefits to covering your cat’s carrier, but I also can side with the cat parents that are against it, because if it’s not done correctly it could jeopardize your cat’s well-being.
That’s why before using the cover you’ll need to make sure that it’s actually safe and before committing to a carrier cover full-time you should test it out.
You can check the cover’s safety by investigating the fabric itself and how breathable it is. Heavy synthetic fabrics or plasticky materials can cause respiratory issues and prevent proper airflow.
I’d also avoid carrier covers if your cat has feline asthma or another breathing condition. If that’s the case you could still use the carrier to protect your cat from the weather, but you should remove it once you’re in the car or inside the vet’s office.
If you want to use the carrier cover to keep your cat warm, but you’re hesitant, you could use a soft carrier instead with additional flaps for privacy or use lots of soft and warm padding inside of the hard carrier you already own.
When you use the cover pay attention to your cat’s reaction, if they are restless, meowing, and panting then remove the cover.
Makeshift carriers can also prove dangerous because random covers and blankets aren’t designed to cover a carrier and a stuffy material can also cause breathing difficulties.
Are There Any Cat Carrier Cover Alternatives?
There are a few reasons you may be hesitant to buy or use a carrier cover, perhaps you’re not sure if it’s actually going to help your cat, or whether it’ll make their traveling anxiety worse.
It’s also possible that you’re looking for a carrier cover alternative for the next trip because you can’t wait for the proper cover to be delivered.
Either way, you could try using a blanket or an old light shirt as a cover.
According to Tammy Hunter, DVM, you can bring “a blanket or large towel with you, and once the carrier is secured in the car, cover it with the towel to reduce visual stimulation.”
Whenever I travel with my cats, I use a lightweight scarf that’s basically translucent. It successfully reduces their visibility, while still letting some of the light inside and most importantly I know it’s breathable.
And the airflow is the most important thing you need to keep in mind when covering a carrier. That’s why you should use a clean and light blanket because if it’s dirty or dusty it can cause respiratory problems.
If you have or had a baby, you might have a baby carrier cover that could also serve the same purpose as a cat carrier. But you won’t be able to use it while you’re carrying your cat only when the carrier is secured in the car.
Similarly, you could use a dog crate cover, but once again, it’s not really useful while actually carrying the carrier.
If you don’t want to cover your cat’s carrier, then I’d suggest using other ways to calm your cat.
First of all, you need to train your cat to travel inside a carrier by turning it into a familiar item that your kitty feels safe in even when you’re not on the road.
If you feel that your cat can’t fight through the stress they feel when traveling then consider using calming clothes or cat pheromones that can help your cat relax.
According to Dr. Tynes these pheromones can calm your cat by sending them the message that they are safe.
I would also suggest that you have a conversation with the vet or a cat behaviorist that can help you carrier train your kitty.
As cat parents, we always want to be sure that our cats are living their best life, even if it means that they have to spend a couple of hours on the road for a vet visit.
We try to make their carriers comfortable and cozy by adding blankets, we give them a bit of catnip to calm their nerves and treats for some positive reinforcement.
But for some cats, that’s not enough. Some require more privacy and thankfully a carrier cover can give them that sense of safety, even if they’re miles away from home.
Let us know if you’ve ever used a cat carrier cover and did it help your kitty relax?