Hard or soft cat carrier: Which is best for your cat in the UK?

Cat resting in a soft carrier

‍The journey of owning a cat isn't all about cuddles and purrs. There are practical considerations to make, one of which is choosing the right carrier for your feline friend.

The choice between a hard or soft cat carrier, which is best for your cat in the UK, is a crucial decision that impacts the comfort and safety of your pet during travels.

This comprehensive guide will shed light on the key differences, pros and cons of each type, helping you make an informed choice suitable for your cat's unique needs.

Key differences between hard and soft cat carriers

When choosing between a hard or soft cat carrier, it's essential to understand the primary differences between the two.

Hard cat carriers

Hard cat carriers, often referred to as kennels, are typically constructed from durable plastic with a metal or plastic mesh door. They are known for their sturdiness, ease of cleaning, and enhanced protection.

Soft cat carriers

Soft carriers, on the other hand, are made from flexible materials like nylon and mesh fabric. They are lightweight, comfortable, and more portable, offering a cosy environment for your cat.

Pros and cons of hard cat carriers

Hard carriers come with a host of benefits, but they also have their drawbacks.

Pros of hard cat carriers

Ease of cleaning

Hard carriers are incredibly easy to clean. If your cat has an accident or leaves a mess, wiping down the interior with a wet cloth will do the trick.


These carriers are robust, providing excellent protection for your cat. They're less likely to get damaged, and if something falls on them, your cat is unlikely to get hurt.


Hard carriers offer superior security with a door that's nearly impossible for your cat to open.

Cons of hard cat carriers


Hard carriers can be bulky, making them less convenient to carry around or store.


They may be less comfortable as they lack the padding that soft carriers offer.

Pros and cons of soft cat carriers

Soft carriers bring their own set of advantages, but also have certain limitations.

Pros of soft cat carriers


Soft carriers are significantly lighter than their hard counterparts, making them convenient for carrying your cat around.


They offer a more comfortable environment for your cat, with plenty of padding and breathable materials.


The flexible material makes them easier to store compared to hard carriers.

Cons of soft cat carriers

Damage risk

Soft carriers are susceptible to damage. Your cat can easily damage the fabric material with its claws or teeth.

Cleaning difficulty

They can be more challenging to clean, especially if your cat has an accident inside.

Choosing the right cat carrier

When deciding between a hard or soft cat carrier, which is best for your cat in the UK, it's crucial to consider your cat's personality and your travel needs.

Questions to consider

●       How often will you be travelling with your cat?

●       Do you plan on flying with your cat?

●       What is your cat's personality like?

By asking these questions, you can determine which type of carrier will suit your situation the best.


Hard carriers are best for …

●       Cats who often attempt to escape

●       Cats who are messier or more destructive

●       Cats who are anxious about travelling or leaving the house

●       Owners who want something safer and sturdier

●       Owners who have plenty of storage space

Soft carriers are best for …

●       Cats who do not tend to have accidents or make messes

●       Cats who are calm about travelling or leaving the house

●       Air travel

●       Owners (and cats) who prefer something more comfortable

●       Owners who have limited storage space

How to choose the best cat carrier 

Choosing the best cat carrier is an essential task for any cat. Whether it's for a vet visit, a long cross-country trip, or just a short ride to a friend's house, your cat needs a comfortable and safe place to travel. So, how to choose the best cat carrier? Well, it's not as hard as it may seem!

Firstly, size matters. Pick a carrier that is spacious enough for your cat to turn around easily but not so big that it will slide around. Next, consider the material. Hard-sided carriers are typically more durable and easy to clean, while soft-sided carriers can be more comfortable and lightweight. The door of the carrier should be secure but easy to open and close.

Ventilation is another important factor. A good carrier should have plenty of mesh panels or holes for air circulation. Comfort is also key. Some carriers come with removable, washable pads at the bottom for extra coziness.

Lastly, consider your own convenience. If you'll be carrying the carrier for long periods, look for one with an adjustable shoulder strap or wheels. Also, check if it's collapsible for easy storage.

What is the easiest cat carrier to get a cat into?

Getting a cat into a carrier can sometimes feel like a mission impossible. Cats are notoriously finicky and most of them dislike being confined. But there's good news for all the cat parents out there!

The easiest cat carrier to get a cat into is the top-loading carrier. This type of carrier allows you to gently lower your cat into it, which is a less stressful situation for them than trying to coax or wrestle them through a small front door.

Some top-loaders even have additional side doors for extra convenience. These carriers are designed with both the comfort of the pet and the ease of the owner in mind. Made of durable materials, they also ensure the safety of your furry friend during transit.

Carrier safety considerations

Regardless of whether you choose a hard carrier or soft cat carrier, safety is paramount. Some characteristics to look for include a strong handle, adequate ventilation, and seatbelt compatibility. Always ensure your cat's carrier is secured with a seatbelt during car travel for added safety.

Other factors to consider

If your cat is feisty or anxious, a hard carrier might be more suitable, as they can withstand scratching and biting. Conversely, a soft carrier can provide a cozier and safer environment for a calm or relaxed cat.

Can I let my cat sleep in a carrier?

Absolutely, you can let your cat sleep in a carrier! Your cats might even prefer it. Cats are creatures of comfort and habit, and they tend to gravitate towards small, cozy spaces that offer a sense of security. A carrier can provide just that.

However, it's essential to ensure the carrier is comfortable and safe for your kitty:

●       Line the bottom with a soft familiar blanket or a bed specifically designed to fit in carriers

●       Cleanliness is also vital; keep the carrier spotless to prevent any unwanted smells or bacteria from building up

●       Most importantly, always keep the carrier's door open when it's in use at home so your cat can exit as they please

Many cats find carriers comforting, especially if they have been properly introduced to them at a young age.

Should I put a blanket in my cat carrier?

Absolutely yes, you should put a blanket in your cat carrier. Not only does their favourite blanket provide comfort to your cat during travel but it also helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

Imagine being placed in a confined space with no familiar scents or comfort. That's what it's like for your cat when it's placed in the carrier. A blanket, especially one that smells like home or you, can provide a great deal of solace. It also serves a practical function, cushioning the ride and helping to absorb any accidents that may happen during transit.

Final thoughts

Choosing the right cat carrier can significantly impact your cat's comfort and safety. Whether you opt for a hard carrier or soft cat carrier, which is best for your cat in the UK, will depend on your specific needs and your cat's behaviour. Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide a safe, comfortable space for your cat during travels.

For more guidance on cat care, from choosing the right cat carrier to securing a cat insurance quote, you can visit our website. Feel free to get in touch with our cat insurance team at 0330 102 5748 for further assistance.

Remember, the happiness and well-being of your cat are of utmost importance. Choosing the right cat carrier is a small, but significant step in ensuring their comfort and safety. Happy travels!

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