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Most of us know how stressful car travel can be, and as responsible cat parents, we’re always trying to improve our cat’s traveling experience.
For curious cats that don’t like to be enclosed in a dark carrier and instead enjoy the outside view, you can opt for a cat car seat to satisfy their inquisitive personality.
But to make sure that all your future trips are safe and fun, you need to look for the right kind of car seat that’s designed for cats and not just dogs.
That’s why we created two separate lists.
On the one hand, we have cat car seat carriers, perfect for nervous kitties that prefer to have a protective barrier between themselves and the outside world, which they can still look at.
On the other hand, we have open cat car seats for the more adventurous cats that are harness trained so they can safely stay in place in their soft car seat.
We also took an in-depth take on cat car seats, but if you want to just skip ahead and see what cat car seats made it to our list you can check it out here:
Best Car Seat Carriers:
- Best Overall Cat Car Seat: Pet Great View 360 Pet Safety Carrier & Car Seat
- Cat Car Seat With The Best View: K&H Pet Travel Safety Pet Carrier
- Best For Large Cats and Maine Coons: Pettom Pet Carrier Booster Seat
- Best Collapsible Cat Car Seat: Beelike Collapsible Travel Booster Seat
Best Open Car Seat Carriers:
- Best Booster Cat Car Seat: Swihelp Pet Car Booster Seat & Travel Carrier Cage
- Best Cat Car Seat For Comfort: Bochao Safety Car Seat – Pet Booster
- Best Elevated Cat Car Seat: K&H Bucket Booster pet Seat
What (Exactly) Is A Cat Car Seat?
Usually, cat car seats aren’t enclosed like a normal carrier would be. Instead, your cat is usually restrained with a harness that’s attached to the cat’s car seat.
This way your kitty can have more freedom of movement, while still being safely kept in place.
Cat seats are not meant to obscure the outside view, instead, your cat is free to look around. Some cat car seats are elevated so your feline companion can look outside the window, as the K&H bucket carrier on our list.
Not every cat car seats are open, some have the same shape and form as an open cat car seat, but by taking down the top flap you can restrict your cat’s movement just like a carrier would.
Open pet car seats are usually catered towards dogs because they are trained to walk on a leash, and they’re usually easier to control without a carrier.
But this doesn’t mean there are no cats out there that can enjoy an open cat car seat if they’re properly leash trained. Otherwise traveling without a carrier can be very dangerous.
Our Top Car Seats For Cats
If you think your cat will benefit from a proper cat car seat, then you need to get the best one on the market.
So, let’s take a look at our two different categories that will keep your kitty cozy and happy during your travels.
Cat Car Seat Carriers
Best Overall Cat Car Seat: Pet Great View 360 Pet Safety Carrier & Car Seat
- The mesh exterior offers a 360° view even when the carrier is closed.
- The carrier is tall so your cat can sit up and enjoy the outside view.
- You can attach your cat's harness to the carrier's interior tether for extra security.
- The carrier is 20 inches long and 18.5 inches tall, it can also handle 10-12 pound cats so it's suitable for the average kitty.
If you’re looking for a cat car seat that combines safety with a great view then the Pet Gear manufacturers have made this cat product specifically for you!
With this carrier, your cat can look at the outside world and you don’t have to be afraid that they’ll escape.
If you trust your kitty to stay in place and remain calm then you can pull up the top opening and let them sit inside the carrier and enjoy an even clearer view as you travel. But in order to make sure your kitty stays in place you’ll need to attach their harness to the carrier.
Since the closure is zipperless I think this carrier is more suitable for calm cats, but it does give you quick and easy access if your cat needs you.
I also love the fact that this cat seat is a top-loader that can be extremely useful to your kitty’s veterinarian.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about this carrier sliding off the seat because you can attach it to the seatbelt of the car.
Like most proper carriers, the handle on this cat car seat makes the transportation of your cat easy. It’s also suitable for short and long car travels thanks to its large and spacy interior.
You can read more about this carrier and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here!
What I Love About It: While the carrier offers plenty of visibility, it’s also quite sturdy and secure.
What I Wish It Had: The bottom is a bit hard, so you should add a soft blanket to make the carrier more comfortable.
Cat Car Seat With The Best View: K&H Pet Travel Safety Pet Carrier
- The mesh is durable and allows your cat to have a complete view of the outside.
- You can secure the carrier both to the headrest and the belt of the car seat.
- There are multiple sizes available that can suit smaller and larger cats.
The K&H is another great choice for curious cats that can’t be trusted to ride in an open cat seat.
The sturdy mesh panels provide your kitty with protection, while simultaneously offering them a full view of the road ahead.
There are multiple exits as well as a front opening that gives you immediate access to your cat during long travels.
However, this carrier isn’t as suitable for vet visits because it’s not easy to carry around, especially the larger size.
While the carrier is collapsible the construction itself is not flimsy, and you can be confident that it won’t budge or warp after your cat’s long-term use.
You can read the 1.000+ positive reviews this carrier has and today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: The carrier comes with a removable comfy pad that can be machine washed.
What I Wish It Had: This carrier is a high-quality product, however the price is not budget-friendly.
Best Cat Car Seat For Large Cats and Maine Coons: Pettom Pet Carrier Booster Seat
- The carrier has an inside safety lead to keep your cat from jumping out and escaping.
- You can keep the top flap open to let your cat sit up and look around.
- The side mesh panels can offer adequate visibility when the carrier is closed.
- This car seat also comes in a large size to accommodate larger breeds.
The Pettom car seat can be secured both at the back and the front seat, so you can keep an eye on your feline companion during long travel.
This carrier doesn’t offer a clear view of the outside as much as our two previous car seats on our list, but it’s perfect for those of you who are looking for a high-quality product with as few mesh panels as possible in case your kitty gets scratchy.
In the car seat series, this carrier is more suitable for shy cats that have the potential to grow more confident and sit upright in their carrier while the top opening is pulled back.
It’s also a great car seat for long-distance travel because it’s quite large and comfy. There are extra pockets to put your cat’s traveling essentials like documents and treats.
Additionally, this cat seat is collapsible so you can store this carrier away instead of keeping it as a cat bed.
If you want to learn more about this car seat and check today’s price on Amazon click here!
What I Love About It: Unlike some cat car seats, the shoulder straps on the Pettom seat make it easy to move your kitty.
What I Wish It Had: The carrier is bulky and carrying it regularly with a heavy cat inside is not advisable, so it’s best to reserve it for long travels.
Best Collapsible Cat Car Seat: Beelike Collapsible Travel Booster Seat
- This car seat has mesh openings and side panels that offer plenty of visibility and breathability.
- The top opening is large for your cat to sit up, stretch, and look around.
- The steel frame is sturdy and it's also foldable and the carrier can easily be stored away.
- The car seat is suitable for small to medium cats that weigh up to 15 pounds.
The Beelike cat car seat is a cozy option for cats that may be intimidated by carriers overall.
The front opening lets your kitty explore the carrier on their own terms and they can walk right in without you having to force them inside.
But there’s also a top opening in case you’re in a hurry and you need to place your kitty inside.
If you live in a small apartment, having a collapsible cat car seat like this one is a great advantage.
When you’re done using the Beelike cat car seat you can simply slide it under the bed or place it at the bottom of your closet and save plenty of storage room.
As always this carrier is made with confident cats in mind. You can secure their leash to the adjustable strap inside the carrier and you can keep the top flap open, so your kitty doesn’t feel confined, but they’re still securely attached to their cat car seat.
You can read more about the Beelike collapsible cat car seat and check the budget-friendly price on Amazon by clicking here!
What I Love About It: The carrier is reinforced with stainless steel bars, that will keep the soft sides in place, even if there’s a bumpy road ahead.
What I Wish It Had: According to some customers the manufacturer could offer a better method of securing this cat car seat to the seat.
Open Cat Car Seats
Best Booster Cat Car Seat: Swihelp Pet Car Booster Seat & Travel Carrier Cage
- The open top and the mesh sides offer a great view of the outside.
- This average-sized cat car seat is mostly suitable for small to medium cats that weigh up to 13 pounds.
- The sturdy PVC frame will prevent the car seat from falling apart.
It’s clear that open cat car seats are not for every kitty and we can’t always be sure that they will work for our cats even if they don’t get scared easily.
So, if you’re not confident that your cat can handle traveling in an open cat car seat, this is a budget-friendly option that you can experiment with, and if it doesn’t work it can always be used as a cozy kitty bed.
Of course, for those of you who have trained your cats to walk on a leash, then you can hook their harness to the cat car seat’s ring so they won’t roam freely in the car.
Since you can’t use this cat car seat as a carrier you can leave it in the car as it is, or you can fold it and store it away in the car’s trunk.
Because this is an open cat car seat and not a carrier, I’d suggest using a few warm blankets to keep your kitty warm during the colder months.
What I Love About It: This cat car seat is waterproof so it can handle any kitty accidents and can be washed clean without absorbing bad smells.
What I Wish It Had: You can only secure this cat car seat by putting the straps around the seat’s headrest, which might not be enough for some of you.
Best Cat Car Seat For Comfort: Bochao Safety Car Seat – Pet Booster
- This car seat booster is quite large and can comfortably fit large breeds.
- The material is warm and soft and will resist your cat's kneading.
- This cat car seat is suitable for all types of cars.
When it comes to open cat car seats, Bochao is definitely one of my top favorites. Just one look at it is enough to see how comfy it will feel.
Your kitty will enjoy a cloud-like feel while staying safely in place. All you have to do is connect their harness to the seat’s belt with a metal clasp that won’t break under your cat’s pressure.
You can also adjust the length depending on your cat’s size and the freedom of movement you want to give them.
Of course, you need to remember that this is not a carrier and if you have an anxious kitty that doesn’t like traveling and unfamiliar open spaces then this won’t work for you.
This fluffy cat seat is also easy to maintain and keep fresh and clean. You can simply remove the cover and machine-wash it.
Plus, you get a large storage bag to store this cat car seat away and protect it from dust and dirt until you’ll need to use it again.
Check out today’s price on Amazon and remember to read the incredible reviews by clicking here.
What I Love About It: We all know cats enjoy cozy spots to snuggle and sleep on, and this is truly the most luxurious cat car seat for looking outside the window or sleeping during the whole drive!
What I Wish It Had: Unfortunately, you can’t adjust the height of the Bochao cat car seat.
Best Elevated Cat Car Seat: K&H Bucket Booster pet Seat
- The elevated seat will let your cat look out the window.
- The cat seat is compatible with the car seat's belt to keep your cat in place.
- There are two clip tethers that you can attach to your cat's harness so they won't escape.
- The cat car seat comes in two different sizes for small and large cats alike.
Last but not least we have the K&H booster seat, that’s designed specifically for pets that enjoy looking outside the window.
So, if your kitty is not triggered by outside noise, and you’re confident that they won’t get scared by the outside scenery then they’ll definitely have fun in this special elevated seat.
As I’ve mentioned a few times already, carriers are the safest way to transport a cat, but this cat car seat still offers some form of protection despite being open.
The high walls around it create a barrier that should give your kitty a sense of protection. Similarly, the security leashes will keep your cat in place and you’ll have a distraction-free trip.
The K&H cat seat is filled with dense semi-stiff foam, and the high back and sides can shelter your kitty and keep them from falling off during a rocky drive.
You can read the 11.000+ enthusiastic reviews and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: The curved back is designed to securely fit on the car seat.
What I Wish It Had: While it’s clear that this cat car seat is high quality it’s still quite pricey.
Are Car Seats For Cats Safe?
While cat carriers are designed to keep cats enclosed and they are escape-proof, the same can’t be said for open cat car seats.
It’s clear that car seats for cats aren’t suitable for all cats, especially those that can get easily scared.
If you want to use a cat seat, you’ll need to train your kitty to wear a harness so you can then use the leash to secure them to the seat.
Of course, if your kitty doesn’t like wearing a collar or harness, or if they sense they’re in danger then they’re flexible enough to slip out of it.
This ginger tabby makes it look quite easy!
This can be especially unsafe when you’re driving. Your cat might distract you if they manage to escape their leash and cause an accident.
Let’s not forget that most cats don’t enjoy traveling, and most travels happen when we have to take our cats to the vet. In this case, it’s best to use a cat carrier as the American Veterinary Medical Association clearly states.
Cat car seat carriers on the other hand are much safer since they offer some visibility, and they’re escape-proof.
Should I Get A Car Seat For Cats?
This will depend mainly on your cat’s personality and the kind of trips you’re planning on taking them on.
If your kitty doesn’t like to be enclosed and they behave more relaxed when they can see what’s going on outside, then a cat car seat can make the whole traveling experience much more enjoyable.
Plenty of cat breeds, like the Maine Coon can be trained to use a leash, and that can make a car seat for cats a great choice since you won’t have to carry a heavy cat like that in your hands.
But if your cat is not trained to wear a harness, or they get easily spooked by loud noises then you can still go for a cat car seat only one that is closed, like our top cat seat choice from pet gear.
While it might not give your kitty the same type of visual stimuli, it’s a much safer option.
After all, most cats also prefer closed carriers, and some even require a carrier cover to feel safe during travels.
I also want to point out that most cat car seat carriers are more suitable for long car travel and they can be safely secured to the seat, so they won’t end up falling, and the stability can also reduce your cat’s motion sickness.
Unfortunately, these car seat carriers are much larger than airline-approved carriers. But if you’re not planning on flying with your kitty and you want to make your cat’s traveling experience more exciting then a cat car seat is a great choice, especially the enclosed option.
Can I Put The Cat Car Seat At The Front Seat?
The back seat is most likely the safest place to keep your cat’s car seat or carrier. In the event of an accident, the front seat will be the first to receive the impact.
If your car has a passenger-side airbag, then this can cause even more damage to your cat during an impact.
But if you keep your kitty’s cat seat for cars at the back then they’ll have more protection overall, and your feline companion will be less likely to distract you from driving.
Of course, if you want to keep your cat in a cat car carrier in the front then you’ll need to pull the car seat back to maximize the distance between the cat carrier and the airbag.
You should also make sure to secure the cat car seat to the seat itself, so it doesn’t move and I’d also advise you to avoid an open cat car seat to avoid possible distraction in the front.
I think it’s amazing how big the market for cat products has grown, and manufacturers are trying to improve the traveling conditions for cats, and they consider the different personalities our furry overlords have.
Some carrier choices are definitely safer than others, and when it comes to car seats for cats then you’ll have to be extra careful when picking between an open or enclosed option.
After all, traveling should be safe and fun both for cat parents and their fluffy familiars!
Do you think your kitty is confident enough to travel in an open cat car seat?