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If you think about it most housecats are introverts at heart. They rarely accept the company of strangers; they value their alone time, and they hate leaving the house.
So, getting a cat inside their carrier can be a struggle and most cat parents dread the moment they have to take their fur babies to the vet.
Thankfully the market has plenty of carriers that can make this journey much easier and safer.
But what about a baby carrier? Can you put a cat in a baby carrier?
Baby carriers aren’t meant for cats, and they won’t stop your cat from escaping if they get scared. Instead, a fully enclosed carrier is much safer, and it will help your cat feel secure during vet visits and traveling. Even though it might seem cute, you shouldn’t put your cat in a baby carrier.
If you want to know the safest options for transporting your cat, and why baby carriers don’t work then keep on reading!
Can You Put A Cat In A Baby Carrier?
A baby carrier is a soft padded carrier that you can use to carry a human baby on your chest or back.
Similarly, a baby sling is a pouch or a strip of fabric that you can secure over your shoulder and carry an infant across your front.
These types of equipment are actually very useful because you can keep your hands free while the baby is snuggling close to you.
However, putting your cat in a baby carrier isn’t a good idea because the anatomy of a human child is very different from a cat. These carriers are designed to support a child in place, but they won’t be able to secure a cat that’s trying to escape.
There are also cat carrier pouches and cat sling carriers designed specifically for cats. These are usually fabric bags that you can put your cat in and leave their head sticking out.
Cat sling carriers aren’t suitable for all cats. Most cats can easily slip out of the opening and escape, which can be dangerous if you’re outside. However, sling carriers might be useful for older cats that have mobility issues and are anxious about traditional carriers.
Overall, it’s best to avoid using a baby carrier or a cat sling when traveling with your cat or taking them to the vet. Even if your cat is calm, an unexpected sound or a busy waiting room at the vet’s office can scare your cat and cause an accident.
Why Should You Keep Your Cat In A Cat Carrier?
Let’s see why traditional cat carriers are the most suitable and safest way of transporting your cat.
To Avoid Accidents
Cats can be quite unpredictable when they’re outside of their comfort zone, and traveling can be a really stressful experience even for the calmest of kitties.
Whether your cat’s vet clinic is across the street, or you’re driving there, you need to remember that the outside world is filled with unfamiliar scents, strange sounds, cars, people, and dogs.
A baby carrier isn’t secure enough to keep your cat in place, as a traditional carrier would and it can take one sudden car horn for your cat to decide to push the rest of their body out of the baby carrier and distract you from your driving.
If your cat escapes the cat sling, they will most likely try to find a dark place in your car to hide. They might move under the seats, to your feet where the pedals are, or they might jump on you for comfort.
This can be enough for a worried cat parent to take their eyes off the road. That’s why having a cat outside their carrier while you’re driving is never a good idea, instead, you need a proper carrier that you can secure to the backseat.
To Keep Your Cat Safe
Cat carriers are specifically designed to keep cats safe, and they also offer privacy from the outside world that can overstimulate their senses and cause even more stress.
But with a cat sling or a baby carrier, you can’t have that guaranteed safety because they’re not escape-proof.
Cats are flexible and they can squeeze through narrow spaces. According to Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, “once they can get their head and shoulders through, their sleek bodies present no further obstacle.”
So the moment you step outside and start walking or driving to the vet your cat could squeeze through the sling’s opening and escape.
This can be really dangerous for your kitty because if they run out on the street you might lose them, or they might get hit by a car or chased by a dog.
But even if your cat won’t get injured in their “prison break” moment this stressful experience can have a huge toll on their mental health.
Your next travel might be even more stressful since your kitty will have a negative association both with the baby carrier and the car.
To Make Your Vet Visits Easier
Vet visits are stressful enough for a cat, and that’s why we need to make sure that the experience overall is as uneventful and positive as possible.
The right carrier can make a difference and according to Tammy Hunter, DVM, “the ideal carrier is strong, lightweight, and waterproof, with a large opening to allow easy access to the cat, and an easy to remove top with ‘quick release’ fasteners.”
It’s clear that a baby carrier or a cat sling carrier doesn’t tick any of these boxes because it doesn’t actually offer easy access. Instead, you’ll have to take your cat out of it completely and worst of all you might struggle to put your kitty back in.
With traditional carriers, your vet can keep the cat inside the carrier if they’re too nervous. My cat also tends to run back into the carrier when the examination is done because he knows it’s a safe space, something he wouldn’t be able to do if I was using a baby carrier.
VCA Canada also suggests that “if your cat dreads going into the small confines of a carrier, consider getting an over-sized, top-loading cat carrier so your cat doesn’t need to squeeze through a narrow door.”
Once again, the baby carrier doesn’t offer your kitty enough space to move around, instead, they are swaddled in a sling. And while being wrapped in a Thundershirt can have a calming effect on some cats, a carrier should be big enough for a cat to stand up in and lay as they please.
What Carriers Are Suitable For Cats?
It’s clear that baby carriers and cat slings are not suitable for most cats, but the market is full of carriers that can accommodate every kitty, as well as the owner.
So, let’s take a look at some of your options!
Hard Plastic Cat Carriers
There’s an abundance of cat carriers out there that can make the selection process intimidating.
That’s why it’s always best to start from the top, and the hard plastic carriers are definitely at the top since so many cat parents love them.
More so, according to Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, most veterinarians prefer hard-sided carriers with a top opening that can be latched securely into place.
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If you’re looking for a durable carrier this Amazon Basics product is a great choice, that can withstand heavy cats, like a Maine Coon.
It’s also super easy to clean, it won’t absorb bad smells which makes this carrier a long-lasting product.
Unlike the baby carrier, this is an escape-proof carrier, with a steel-wire front that can handle a cat with the sharpest claws.
You can learn more details about this carrier and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here!
I must admit, hard carriers are not as easy to carry as a baby carrier. They’re bulky and the handle can be uncomfortable if you have a heavy kitty.
So, if you are considering a baby carrier because they seem more flexible and offer different ways to carry your kitty around, then consider getting a soft carrier instead.
These are usually lightweight and come with additional straps that help transport your cat with ease.
They are also easy to store away or they can be used as a comfy cat bed.
Unlike hard carriers, the soft material can be harder to clean and it can get damaged over time, especially if you have a nervous cat.
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This carrier comes in two different sizes to accommodate larger breeds, but it also comes as a backpack which is a much safer alternative to a baby carrier.
It’s also great for short or long car travel and flying because there are 4 different sides that can expand individually, so you can adjust them according to your car space.
Unlike with the baby carrier, your vet will love this soft carrier because it’s a top-loader!
If you want to read more reviews and see today’s price on Amazon click here!
Rolling Cat Carriers
I do understand why baby carriers seem appealing, they offer mobility and it’s much easier to carry your cat with your torso than with your hands.
If that’s the case then consider getting a rolling cat carrier. If you have a heavy cat that you couldn’t possibly carry then rolling your cat to the vet is a great and most importantly escape-proof alternative.
However, a rolling carrier needs to be handled with extra care if the road is bumpy. Otherwise, you might end up stressing your kitty.
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This is a great option if you have a curious cat that enjoys looking at their surroundings from the safety of their carrier.
I love the Lollimeow cat carrier, because it has plenty of space for your cat but also pockets that can be filled with treats, toys, and their documentation.
This rolling carrier can also be converted into a backpack, a car seat, and of course a cat bed. This flexibility is the reason why it made it on this list!
If you want to read how this amazing carrier works click here and see today’s price on Amazon.
Perhaps you were considering getting a cat sling or a baby carrier because you liked the idea of having your hands free.
In this case, I think a backpack is exactly what you need.
The biggest perk here is that you can wear a backpack carrier both on your back it the front and it can give your kitty visual access to the outside world without the danger of escaping.
Just like the baby carrier, backpacks aren’t suitable for long trips, but they can be great for vet visits.
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This can be a great carrier for cats that actually enjoy walking outside on a leash.
Instead of putting them back into a baby carrier that they can still escape from, you can put them in this safe and secure backpack when there are dogs or nosy people outside.
More so, the PetAmi backpack has four different openings that should make your cat’s experience at the vet office less stressful.
If you want to learn more about this backpack and read some of the fantastic reviews then click here!
What Carriers Should You Avoid?
It’s always best to use carriers that are specifically designed for cats and to avoid any alternatives. But if you’re curious to hear what options you should avoid when transporting a cat just keep on reading!
Disposable Cat Carriers
Disposable carriers that are usually made of cardboard can be an option for new cat parents that haven’t had the chance to buy an actual carrier and they need to take their kitten to the vet.
Some animal shelters might also provide you with a disposable carrier so you can take your newly adopted kitten home.
But a cardboard carrier isn’t long-lasting, nor is it durable. If your cat can chew through a cardboard box, they can do the same with a disposable carrier.
Let’s not forget that some cats can soil themselves when they get scared, so the cardboard can simply tear open and your kitty might run away and get into an accident.
You should only use a cardboard carrier if it’s an emergency. Before putting your cat inside make sure they have enough breathing holes on the top and the sides. Remember to also line the box with a plastic bag and then cover it with a thick blanket so it doesn’t get wet.
Pet Sling Carriers
Just like baby carriers aren’t safe for cats, cat sling carriers are also not suitable for most cats.
If you are 100% sure that your kitty will remain calm in a cat sling carrier throughout the whole ride then you could use it, and have an additional harness in case they try to escape.
But I want to point out that while a standard cat carrier is suitable for most car travels, you can’t keep your cat in a sling for long hours.
Seat Belt Harness
We mostly see dogs wearing collars and harnesses, but some cats can also be trained to walk on a leash.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the safest way to travel with your kitty since they can easily escape a harness, just like they can easily escape a baby carrier or a cat sling.
And because cats can react in unpredictable ways to an equally unpredictable environment I think a carrier would be a much safer option than the cat harness, whether you’re taking a long car trip or taking them to the vet.
A Sports Bag
You might think that a sports bag is basically the same thing as a cat carrier, but sports bags aren’t really designed to carry living things.
A cat carrier is meant to withstand your cat’s weight, and they have proper ventilation, while a sports bag won’t offer sufficient airflow and your cat’s claws can easily tear through the fabric.
You can always look for a soft carrier that looks like a sports bag, with a similar strap and comfortable grip or go for a backpack cat carrier, like the ones above.
Cats are masters at escaping, they can squeeze themselves out of the narrowest places like the opening of a baby carrier and even a harness designed for cats.
Just look at this calico beauty, she’s not even skinny but she did manage to wiggle her way out of that harness!
So, you can imagine how fast they can claw their way out of makeshift carriers like a pillowcase or a laundry basket.
Let’s not forget that even if your cat doesn’t manage to escape the whole experience will simply stress them out and that’s not something you want to do to your faithful cat friend.
Traveling with your cat can be an exciting experience, but it can easily turn into a nightmare if you’re not properly prepared.
The carrier that you’ll choose should align with your cat’s personality, but you should also keep in mind that your feline friend is a cat, and if they feel scared, they’ll run for cover.
This won’t happen if they are safely tucked away in a comfy carrier, and a baby carrier is definitely not a safe option.
Instead of looking for unconventional alternatives, choose a carrier that has been designed and tested to cover all your cat’s traveling needs!
Would you ever try a cat sling carrier, or do you think your carrier would make a run for it?