protects your pet … when you’re on the move

Whether you are taking your pet cat for a short trip across town or planning a major move, owning a suitable cat carrier is a must do, because:]
A pet on the loose in a car can become a projectile should you be in an accident. If you are rear ended your pet will go flying – even if he is being held. Your pet can distract the driver, or jump out a window. Pets are quite capable of accidentally activating power windows. Being trapped in a rising window could cause serious injury or worse
Emergencies can occur at any time – an injury, a sudden illness, and hopefully not, an evacuation. Don’t assume disaster reception centers will have large supplies of carriers and other types of pet containment readily available for your pet
Cats often take right off, in a flash, if startled or frightened. Cats feel safer in an enclosed area. For their security and your peace of mind, they need to be safely confined. Lost cats are not always easily found.
If your cat is very nervous or scared, cover the carrier with a small blanket, he should calm down. Just make sure there is still some ventilation. Extremely frightened cats (and ferals) can actually hurt themselves if they are thrashing around in a carrier.
Which type of carrier should you choose?
Will you be making a short trip or travelling for many hours or days? Will you be transporting your pet on an airline or other type of public transportation?
What is the personality of your pet? Cats who tend to be skittish or easily frightened can and have ripped holes in soft sided carriers. On the other hand, some cats with calmer dispositions just love them.
Whichever type you choose the two important safety considerations are sturdy construction and ventilation. Travelling can be very stressful for your cat … stressed out felines tend to breathe more quickly. Your cat carrier should provide good ventilation on at least three sides of the carrier.
Some carriers are airline approved, for cargo or cabin use. If traveling internationally, look for carriers that are compliant with IATA (International Air Transport Association) Live Animals Regulations, which is a good measure of overall quality.
The three most common types of carriers for travelling with your pet are:
Hard sided carriersthree cute kittens looking out from the inside of a hard cat carrier
Hard carriers are a popular choice for travelling with your cat and
considered to be the safest type of carrier overall. Hard carriers are
fully enclosed and many, but not all, are constructed with durable,
sturdy plastics.
Hard sided carriers are widely accepted on airlines for travelling in the
cargo hold. Your pet’s carrier will be his fortress …
make sure it’s tough. Test it yourself for strength. Fill it with something
heavy, like a large bag of food and make sure it doesn’t droop or warp.
One carrier I owned (and it wasn’t cheap) was made of somewhat thinner plastic than most. It was so pliable, I could open the door without undoing the latches, just by lifting on the plastic. How safe would your pet be in a cargo hold? Check it out – you shouldn’t be able to bend the plastic at all.
Steel mesh doors are, of course, stronger and safer than plastic. The door should be properly hinged, attached to the bottom and top of the carrier with four metal rods. Some rods penetrate more deeply into the shell of the carrier and are considerably more secure.
Look for a strong handle that will support your pet’s weight. Larger carriers, intended for a larger or more than one pet, have no handles. In that case, removable wheels and a pulling strap can be purchased as accessories.
Locking mechanisms and plastic clips should be in working order. Nuts, bolts and screws can become loose over time. Make sure they’re tight.
A protruding rim on the outside of a hard carrier will help ensure ventilation is not accidentally blocked.
Soft cat carriers
Some soft carriers are designed for traveling. If traveling by air be sure to check with your airline carrier and get specific instructions well in advance of your trip. Only some airlines will allow you to bring a soft sided cat carrier in the cabin with you. These carriers are designed to fit under your seat. There are no hard and fast rules – every airline has their own regulations and requirements. Ensure the measurements they give you are for soft cat carriers, not hard, as there is often some confusion.
All latches and zippers should be working properly – the more locking devices, the sturdier the pinch latches – the safer your pet will be. Soft sided carriers should not collapse in the middle under the weight of your pet. Some are framed and have supportive rods running from top to bottom and corner to corner.
For short every day trips soft carrier totes and bags are quite popular and fashionable. However, small dogs are generally much better suited for this type of carrier than cats. A dog’s everyday lifestyle usually already includes exposure to public places such as parks and sidewalks and most dogs are used to car travel. Do consider your cat’s safety, disposition and comfort level. Cats and dogs are really two different creatures (but both lovable).
Cardboard cat carriers
Cardboard cat carriers are not recommended. A vet or animal shelter might provide you with one, as a temporary means of transporting your pet, if you have no cat carrier with you.
Frightened felines can panic and claw their way out. My neighbor’s no-nonsense Siamese cat had his cardboard carrier shredded to bits within minutes. Your pet might urinate. If you are travelling in wet weather, soggy cardboard will not protect your pet.
If you’re on a budget, look for hard carriers at thrift stores and garage sales. Give them a good clean, disinfect them and check them for sturdiness.

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